Golf courses

Nine must-see disc golf courses — Yes, disc golf

There are approximately 12,000 disc golf courses around the world, ranging from standalone courses to facilities that exist on traditional golf courses.

Ben Crenshaw and Jack Nicklaus found lucrative design careers beyond their respective playing days. Former disc golf world champion Eric McCabe followed the same path.

Since hitting the discs on the professional circuit over the past decade, he’s designed nearly 60 disc golf courses in 25 US states and Canada. McCabe’s goal is to one day have a design in all 50 states.

As for where to play, McCabe, highly respected within the disc golf community, estimates that there are over 12,000 models worldwide. Of course, nowadays there are apps which can identify localized courses.

Eric McCabe

Eric McCabe

“In disc golf, we measure everything in feet,” says McCabe, who is also a team manager at Dynamic Discs.

Championship-level tracks range from 10,000 to 13,000 feet — or 3,333 to 4,333 yards. The best pros average 500 to 600 feet on a drive.

AT Country Club Emporia in Emporia, Kansas, course officials added a disc layout that spans approximately 10,000 feet. The 1st hole, an opening par 5, measures 1,100 feet.

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With the pandemic, many golf courses have suffered a loss of revenue, leading some to add disc golf as another source of income. One of the main attractions of this sport is the fact that it is inexpensive to play. There are very few $100 spins, let alone $50. Green fees range from free to around $15.

“If there was anything positive about the pandemic, and I’m not minimizing it, it’s connected people more to the outdoors, where people can play disc golf,” Rusco said. “We’ve seen more interest and the sport has grown.”

In terms of equipment, on the Disc Golf Professional Tour players are not limited to discs “in the bag”, like the traditional 14-club rule in golf. They can carry up to 20 to 25, and each does something different. Some draw, fade, or can be used for distance or approach casts. Other discs fly better using handgun movement, for example.

McCabe considers all of these nuances when working on designs.

McCabe offers his recommendations on the best disc courses to play around the world:

1. Maple Hill Disc Golf | Leicester, Mass.
2. Crossing of the eagles | Hawk Point, Mo.
3. Fox Run Meadows | Cambridge, Vermont
4. Milo McIver Disc Golf Course | Estacada, Oregon.
5. Jarva Disc Golf Park | Stockholm, Sweden
6. Harmony Bends Championship Disc Golf Course at Strawn Park | Colombia, Mo.
7. Disc Golf Terminal | Skelleftea, Sweden
8. idlewild | Burlington, Ky.
9. Delaveaga Golf | Santa Cruz, California.