With common goals like "Nature For All" and the protection, preservation, and promotion of our naturual resources, Conservation Areas and Provincial Parks can be ideal homes for Disc Golf courses. While there are many similarities to traditional Golf, it's the differences that really shine a spotlight on why this is true of Disc Golf.
Golf is played on the ground, Disc Golf is played above it. This may not sound like a big concept, but in practice it makes a world of difference. Because we're playing with flying discs and aren't concerned with the need for a smooth ground surface. Disc Golf doesn't require manicured fairways, it doesn't need perfectly maintained greens, it doesn't need cart paths, it doesn't need any of the things that play the biggest role in Golfs environmental footprint. Rather, Disc Golf prefers everything in a landscape that conservation areas and provincial parks are trying to promote. Healthy natural surroundings!
At Fluent, safety is our first concern, but after that comes balance with it's surroundings. That means balance with both the flora and the fauna. Through selective harvesting, we can identify diseased species and improve the overall health and diversity of your green spaces. Because of the nature of what a Disc Golf fairway is, courses can provide an expanded network of wildlife corridors and an expanded food supply. When scouting our courses, we're very concerned with disruption to wildlife, nesting areas above us in the canopy, in front of us in what would otherwise be considered deadfall, and below us with ground nesting species. Understanding what to look for helps us provide more sustainable courses with minimized impact on their surroundings. This is one of the most important aspects of what a Professional Disc Golf Course Designer does, in the end, it's not just about creating a great course.
Because of the continually growing number of players, attributable to the sports ability to get people outside and into beautiful natural surroundings, Disc Golf can help meet the goals of Conservation Areas and Provincial Parks. We discussed above the benefits that a course can have on promoting a healthy and sustainable environment, finding balance with our use of an area with the local inhabitants, and ensuring that the space has a net positive effect on the greenspace.
There are other ways that Disc Golf can help meet the other goals though. Disc Golf doesn't take that long to play. 18 hole recreational courses are often playable in under 90 minutes meaning visitors to parks can participate in more than on activity. The incentive for a player to visit a park which offers not only Disc Golf, but also offers hiking trails, swimming, interpretive and educational programs, and other outdoor based recreation, can have a strong impact at decision time. Disc Golf can have a huge impact on the number of seasons passes and repeat visitors to your parks.
Disc Golf can also provide a level of income for the facitilies such as through rental discs for players without their own equipment. It's common to create "Custom Stamped" discs with your branding and course theme which make great items for gift shop sales. And lastly, through course discovery services, community groups, social media, and through eventual events and tournaments, Disc Golf can be an entirely new way to reach a much larger audience, and promote all of the benefits the park has.
Working with Fluent Disc Sport to design our disc golf course was great. Kevin was very flexible with the design and able to accommodate our needs regarding habitat protection and sensitive features on the property. Kevin was a great advocate for the course and was professional in dealing with our neighbours and other park visitors. It was very important for us to show where recreation and conservation can co-exist and Kevin was fantastic at being able to bring that to the design of the disc golf course!Conservation Lands Staff
Kawartha Lakes Conservation Authority | Ken Reid Conservation Area, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario | Feb 24, 2023
Disc Golf need not be limited to the recreational aspect of the sport, in can be an educational experience as well! Every time a player reaches a tee pad, there is a tee sign... an opportunity for expanded programming. Like an interpretive hiking trail with signage along the way that promotes a species or landform, or part of the lifecycle of the of the land, Disc Golf can join in with it's surroundings and provide similar tie-ins.
Fluent Disc Sport has taken interpretive signage a step further and developed a new concept in disc golf course design called "Experiential Courses". An experiential course doesn't just integrate interpretive information into the tee signs, it integrates the subjects characteristics right into the course design itself!
From illustrating a woodpeckers "zygodactyl" feet in the fairway design, adding some humour tied to the melancholy songs of the meadowlark, or creating a "tomial tooth" hole rather than a "dog leg". Players won't just read about wildlife, they'll experience it as a physical or audible part of the game!
The experience of playing on a hole designed with a particular natural aspect of the surroundings in mind opens great possibilities for creating "edutainment" rather than just an amenity. Our team can work with you to identify the types of natural characteristics we can use in our design, and create a wonderful symbiosis of education and sport through the course signage.
Read more about what goes into an Experiential Disc Golf Course...
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