Recently, avid “frolfers” [Frisbee-golfers] and students alike have noticed a slight change in Oklahoma Christian University’s course. Four out of the nine original baskets were removed due to the installation of the new Eagle Trail.
“Discs flying too close to the trail, the administration sees that as a risk,” Career Services director and long-time disc golfer Mark Chan said. “It is more of a risk management move than anything. They decided that it needed to be moved to keep everyone safe. They don’t want those baskets too close to the trail.”
This whole project started out as the Student Government Association (SGA) investigating where to put extra baskets.
“A couple years ago we got some additional funding from SGA, and we now have 13 baskets, and we’d like to actually lay out 18,” Chan said.
A member of SGA was given the task of adding to the nine-hole course.
“I’m on the campus improvement committee on SGA, and I am also the house rep for Wilson East,” sophomore Ethan Hershey said. “Holly Dennis, the committee chairman, said that we had three or four extra baskets in storage and she wanted me to find out how to get them in use.”
After the research for the placement of new holes had begun, it was decided that the disc golf course and trail coinciding could cause a safety issue.
The first four baskets of the current course were taken out approximately halfway into this spring semester. Now, a new course is being created with the help of Chan, Hershey and freshman Kaleb Greenwood.
“SGA member Ethan Hershey … was given the task of researching how much it would cost and if we had the space to add nine holes to the course, and he knew that I love the sport and asked for my help,” Greenwood said. “I was ecstatic when he asked me because I’ve always thought it would be cool to help lay out a disc golf course.”
Greenwood often played on the school’s previous course.
“The last course was good, but a few of the holes don’t connect as well with the rest of the course,” Greenwood said. “Because we have the opportunity to redesign the course, we’d like to lay it out more in a circle where the last hole ends next to the first hole, or at least closer to it. This allows more holes to be played in a shorter amount of time for those who throw multiple rounds.”
Hershey and Greenwood went to Chan, who assisted in creating the previous layout, to get their project off the ground.
“Kaleb and I spoke with Mark Chan for at least an hour and fifteen minutes,” Hershey said. “He was enthusiastic that there were students that wanted to change it up a bit. We ended up buying flags and marking a new course for the front nine.”
A large number of variables go into creating a fun, playable course.
“The most difficult thing is to make it interesting for people going out and playing disc golf,” Chan said.
Another issue the disc golf crew has stumbled upon has been where exactly the new baskets should be placed.
“It is challenging because there is only so much real estate that we can work with,” Chan said. “Obviously there is the softball and the baseball, those fields, and then the roads and the dorms. It is a big challenge right now, but there is still quite a bit of space out there.”
Although the trail has created an issue for the current disc golf course, it seems to have a silver lining, as it has also made more land available and accessible for a longer course.
“Because of the trail, that northwest corner of the campus is being cleaned up,” Chan said. “It was just kind of overgrown and kind of junky. But with the new trail going in and the lights, people are actually going down there. We’re actually going to be able to use that space to lay out some additional holes.”
Greenwood has specific goals he is striving toward in the creation of this course.
“We’re trying to design a new course using the same area that flows smoothly and makes better use of the natural terrain and obstacles that we have on campus,” Greenwood said. “We’re going to make the OC disc golf course as long and fun as possible by using the terrain we have in the most efficient way possible.”
The new course will be in the same area as the previous course, but the layout will change dramatically, with only a few baskets remaining in the same place.
“I know that a lot of Frisbee golf enthusiasts will enjoy the new set up, and it is actually pretty good practice for beginners,” Hershey said.
The course is still in the planning stages, and kinks have yet to be worked out, but the process is well on its way.
The university’s administration is working closely with the group to ensure the course is completed, and maintenance will be involved in the actual creation of the new course.
“I appreciate how supportive the administration has been of our endeavor to maintain the nine holes we have and possibly add to them,” Greenwood said “We can all make it easy for them to stay supportive by playing smart, safe and following standard course etiquette.”
Pros and novices alike will be able to throw discs on this new course as soon as it is in place.
“It is a great sport,” Chan said. “Guys can play, girls can play, beginners, advanced, everybody. You just grab a disc and go. It’s just that easy. You can be fast, you can be slow, you can be big, you can be small. Everybody can play, everybody can have fun. I think that is the big draw.”