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The course is strong with this one: New 18-hole, nationally certified disc golf course now open in DL

Jesse Schattschneider drives from a tee box on the new course at the Detroit Lakes City Park. Submitted photo1 / 4
A map of the new, larger disc golf course shows players the layout. Marie Johnson / Tribune2 / 4
Jesse Schattschneider, who was instrumental in making the new disc golf course a reality, installs the first basket, or Pole Hole, at the 18-hole course. Submitted photo3 / 4
The new nationally-certified 18-hole disc golf course at the City Park is nearly complete. Marie Johnson / Tribune4 / 4

Detroit Lakes has thrown an ace with its new disc golf course.

(That means they got a hole-in-one, in disc golf terms.)

The new course, which is now complete, is a replacement and expansion of the city's decades-old, 9-hole Frisbee golf course at the City Park. It's double the size of the old course, with 18 holes, and can be used for tournaments sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association.

The components of the old course were saved, and will be relocated to Long Lake Park, on the west side of town, for a 9-hole course there. Detroit Lakes Public Works Director Brad Green said that course should be ready for play sometime this summer, too.

"It made sense to update it," said Green of the old course. "(As a place to hold tournaments) hopefully it means more visitors to town, and hopefully they'll want to eat and drink in our town; hopefully they'll stay overnight. Plus it'll still be a free course, so people can use it at their discretion... We were looking to add more amenities for the public to use in public areas."

The new course is nationally certified and has a skill level rating of "Blue," the second-highest skill rating possible. It was designed by PDGA-certified course designer Tim Mackey, with substantial input from the Detroit Lakes Disc Golf League—particularly Jesse Schattschneider, who started the league three years ago.

Schattschneider played a key role not only in the design of the course, but also its development. He said he approached the Park Board about two and a half years ago with the hope of upgrading the old course, and the board was receptive.

"We had before a 9-hole course that was designed for Frisbees back in 1983," he said. "As time changed, the disc evolved from the Frisbee, and now we can throw them a lot further and the course became too small for what we were doing."

The design process for the new course took a little while and went through a few test stages before the final layout was decided on. Schattschneider said the intent was to make the course more challenging, and Mackie was able to deliver on that goal by designing it to a "Blue" rating.

"It's got some shorter holes and it's got some longer holes, so it's got some technicality," said Schattschneider of the new course. "A lot of the players that are playing it like the new change. It makes you think a bit when you're throwing. You have a lot of old growth trees on the course, too, so there's a lot of canopy and such."

Disc golf is played a lot like traditional golf, but players use a flying disc instead of a ball and clubs, aiming for standing baskets called pole holes. The sport was formalized in the mid-1970s and has become very popular. Today, it's one of the fastest-growing sports. There are more than 4,000 registered courses with the PDGA, in the U.S. and around the world.

Green said the removal of the old course components at City Park began last fall, and then the concrete for tee boxes was poured. The course was unusable through the winter, but the new pole holes and signage were installed this spring, and disc golf players have already been using the new course.

The local Jaycees covered the cost of signage, Schattschneider said, while other funds for the course were budgeted by the Park Board. He said there are a couple of local league members currently working on getting their tournament director's licenses so Detroit Lakes can start hosting sanctioned tournaments.

The new course is located in roughly the same area as the old one, but has a larger footprint that covers much of the park's east side. Green said the project was nearly complete as of the beginning of this week, with only "a little bit of dirt work" left to do.

There will be an official ribbon cutting for the course on Monday, June 18 at 1:15 p.m. by the first pole hole.

The Detroit Lakes Disc Golf League plays Monday nights at the City Park course. There are 24 people on the league, including members from Detroit Lakes, Fargo, Fergus Falls, Perham and more. For more information, visit the league's Facebook page.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune as a reporter and magazine editor in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in Detroit Lakes with her husband, Dan, their 3-year-old son and baby daughter, and their yellow Lab.

(218) 844-1452
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