Disc golf course being built near NMU

Ellen Holmes

The Upper Peninsula Disc Golf Association and Disc da U.P. are currently working on completing a new disc golf course within walking distance of NMU’s campus.

The course, which is to be completed in June, is located on Powder Mill Road across from Tourist Park on Sugarloaf Avenue, a 10-minute walk from NMU’s residence halls.

According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, disc golf is similar to traditional golf except clubs and balls are replaced with flying discs or frisbees.  The object of the game, which is also similar to golf, is to complete each hole with the fewest number of throws.

The new 18-hole course has been built with elevated professional and amateur tees, to bring both beginning and advanced players together. Mixed terrain, including holes along the Dead River, have been designed to adapt the course to the property, according to Buck Buchanan, chairman of Disc da U.P.

“It’s a picturesque site; it’s right along the Dead River,” Buchanan said.  “We’re really excited.”

The course was designed by Jim Kopcze, owner of Watch It Bend Disc Golf Course Design of Marquette.

Owned by the Marquette Board of Light and Power, the property that the course will cover was once an explosives plant in the 1850s, a past that Disc da U.P. hopes to tie in throughout the course.

“The new course looks awesome,” said Lucas Murray, a senior liberal studies major. “It’s super technical because it’s basically all in the woods, whereas most new courses these days are in wide open fields.”

Murray said he enjoys disc golfing because other than the initial cost of discs, it is free.

“You know, you compare it to normal golf where you spend a fortune and end up just getting angry,” he said. “I also like that disc golf is usually really casual, slow paced and loads of fun.”

The course is currently 75 percent finished, with volunteers and sponsors needed to complete the course as soon as possible.

“[Disc da U.P.] would really love to get all the Northern students involved since it’s so close,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan said in the future, Disc da U.P. hopes to have disc golf introduced as an HP class and as an intramural sport through Northern.

Currently, other disc golf courses can be found at Silver Creek in Harvey, along Teal Lake in Ishpeming, and in Negaunee and Gwinn. Plans are also in the works to expand the number of courses in the area by creating two 18-hole courses at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming and by expanding the Silver Creek course from a nine-hole to a 18-hole.

“We want to make this a place of disc destination,” Buchanan said. “We want to bring attention to how disc golf is such a great sport, it’s cheap and it’s great exercise. It’s a silent sport, it offers an alternative to other ball sports and it’s based on sportsmanship.”

Marquette became known as a disc golf community after hosting a Guts frisbee tournament, the first organized frisbee sport which happened to be created in the U.P. In 1975, Wham-O Manufacturing Co. designated Marquette as the Frisbee Sanctuary of the world in honor of its efforts to help frisbee sports grow.  Marquette continues to hold this title by hosting events such as the U.S. Guts nationals, which will take place this August, and the  Disc da U.P. tournament, which is planned for the fall of 2014.

To assist in the completion of the new course, call Buchanan at (906) 360-2607.