Golf Courses & Disc Golf Venues

First, Disc Golf CAN be played on a golf course, the question is should it, and the answer really comes down to what your goals are as the land owner. Golf and Disc Golf have a lot in common, similar rules and game play, they both benefit from a strong head game as much as a good swing or throw, many shared concepts in design like risk vs. reward, and so it's natural to think they are a good match.  In some ways they are an excellent match in others, it's a little more complicated.  There are two ways to look at integrating Disc Golf and Golf, either having them share the same space, or creating dedicated spaces for each. Deciding which approach is best in your situation is a good question, so lets dive into that a bit...

 

Disc Golf ON a Golf Course

The best benefit of a shared course is the reduced development cost of a Disc Golf Course.  Besides the cost of the conceptual design, and the infrastructure itself which is already very economical there's very little involved in adding Disc Golf to an existing Golf Course.  Disc Golf doesn't require steps like mass earthwork, ground shaping, or drainage and irrigation.  In most cases, adding tee pads, targets, and signage can be enough.

Another benefit that Disc Golf can offer a Golf course is the ability to fill up tee times, particularly those in the evening.  Disc Golf is a much shorter game, with a recreational length 18 holes often taking only one to two hours, so extending the evening with cards of Disc Golfers can be an easy way to add revenue to the daily take.

During the busy part of the day though, it can be more challenging to combine the two.  Pace of play becomes a concern as Disc Golf and Golf are different in this respect.  First, Disc Golf is measured in feet, where Golf is measured in yards, though the numbers are comparable in a sense; a 300ft drive in disc golf is somewhat equialent to a 300yd drive in Golf.  But when you take that and look at a Par 5 golf hole at 600yds, that's enough room to play three or more large disc golf holes.  The pace of play becomes an issue when disc golfers slow their game to putt 3 times on a hole where golfers would only be putting once.  While it can be done, and there are lots of examples where it has, it's still a difficult proposition. 

When available, Disc Golf can be integrated with "Executive" Golf Courses much easier when sharing the same space as the pace of play is much closer, and the hole lengths are much shorter.  More condensed spaces like executive courses also can offer more opportunity for traditional Disc Golf experiences since there is more folliage and potential for obstacle integration.  Wide open fairways will only benefit disc golf players with big arms, so ideally we want to find innovative ways to create a level playing field between players.

Through our design process, we will pay maticulous attention to potential conflict zones, keeping discs away from golf greens to avoid damage, and ensuring visibility of both groups to maintain a safe playing environment. 

 

Disc Golf AT a Golf Course

For all of their similarities, Disc Golf and Golf are more different than they are the same.  The biggest difference actually comes down to the flight. In Golf you can either put a fade or a draw on your ball, whereas in Disc Golf since many discs already want to turn a specific way, we can actually force them one way before they finish their natural way, essentially allowing us to change flight directions twice.  This is called a "flex" shot and it's a staple of the sport for intermediate and up players.  This has a huge implication in how courses are designed.  Foliage and obstacles are our friends in the design world and allow us to carve much more intracate lines that utilize different ways of throwing. This is very different than what's found on a Golf Course.

Given enough space (check out our land requirements for Recreational, Tournament, and Championship courses), providing dedicated spaces for both Golf and Disc Golf means that both can operate completely independent of each other eliminating concerns like pace-of-play.  While constructing a full disc golf course will come with it's own costs, there is a much stronger case for the economic ROI (return on investment) in this configuration. 

Disc Golf courses are simply a fraction of the cost of their golf counterparts, require far less maintenance, and require very little infrastructure. While they also demand lower greens fees, that's not the only consideration when calculating its potential impact. A smaller golf course selling perhaps 5000 rounds a season that installs a high enough quality Disc Golf course can in our experience expect at least 1000 rounds of Disc Golf even if it's off the beaten path. That amounts to a 20% increase in players at the facility, which would translate to a similar growth in food and beverage, and pro-shop sales. Larger or higher level facilities with more amenities can expect higher numbers still.

Another important benefit that a dedicated space for Disc Golf offers is at Tournament Time.  A single 18 hole course utilizing a shotgun start, like golf, will handle 72 players, however in the shoulder season when Golf has tapered off and it's easier to reserve the facility for Disc Golf alone, a temporary course can be designed on top of the golf course increasing the number of players to 144.  Taken one step further, when the courses in question are of "Championship" length (par 67+) and rather than two rounds a day, two shotgun starts are utilized for single round days (this was the format used in the 2022 Ontario Provincial Disc Golf Championships at "Wolf Tracks @ Bondi", a Fluent course), you can increase up to 288 players.  When tallying greens fees over a two day weekend plus practice rounds, merch and equipment sales, food and beverage, etc. Disc Golf events can be VERY lucrative.

 

 

We would love to talk specifics, contact us today to discuss your project!

 
 
Want to give disc golf a try before you decide if it's right for your property?  We'd be more than happy to meet you for a round at a local course, or find you someone from a club in your area to play with!
 
Fluent Disc Sport is headquartered in beautiful Huntsville (Muskoka), Ontario, Canada which is quickly becomming one of the premiere Disc Golf Travel Destinations in the world!  We provide professional disc golf course design, assessment, renovation and related services, as well as disc golf course equipment and supplies throughout North America!  Our project team is ready and able to work with you to help your Disc Golf Course reach its highest potential, Contact Us today and let us walk you through it!
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