Town of Chatham, NY Disc Golf Course Proposal
The Schenectady Disc Golf Club D/B/A DisCap submits the following proposal to the Chatham Town Board, for a disc golf course around the Town Hall of Chatham to the Chatham Town Board. DisCap will raise funds, design, survey, and provide labor to build the course. DisCap will also help in similar ways with the ongoing maintenance. The key to building the course will be the amount of funds and excitement we generate during the fund raising phase of the project. Without any effort so far we already have found that people in Chatham are attracted to the recreational leisure time challenge of Disc Golf.
1. THE PROJECT
DisCap is proposing the installation of an 18-hole disc golf course on the property surrounding the Chatham Town Hall, Gravel Mine, and Transfer Station. This would be the first step in developing this land into a park. If things go well, another 18 holes would be added to the land when the gravel mine is ready to be closed. This will save on the usual costs of returning the gravel mine to its natural state, and instead make some awesome disc golf holes. We have discussed making some all season walking trails with the Columbia Land Conservancy. At this time they are not impressed by the potential of this land to provide scenic trails. Nevertheless, Disc Golf is compatible with other recreational activities and would welcome and help with the construction of multiuse facilities.
There are now more than 2000 Disc Golf courses in the United States and Canada, nearly all installed by city and county parks departments. DisCap is proposing to install and help maintain this one. The Parks Departments have found that there are few recreational activities that offer the high benefit-to-cost ratio of disc golf. Disc golf has relatively low capital and maintenance costs compared with other recreational installations, is environmentally sound, is played year-round in all climates and is enjoyed immediately even by beginners of all ages.
The installation of a disc golf course would be consistent with the Towns’ goals. Disc golf allows the emphasis of the natural attributes of the Town and that meet diversified recreational needs and offer opportunities not available elsewhere in the Town.
DisCap will hold introductory clinics, weekly leagues, and tournaments at the course. This will bring people into this area of town, who will spend money at the local businesses. In addition, there will be advertising opportunities at the course to stimulate spending locally.
Sales of discs and other accessories will grow with the sport. DisCap will try to encourage a local business or two to sell discs and accessories. Until we do, we will bring in local travelling vendors.
What Is Disc Golf?
Disc Golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of hitting a ball into a hole, you throw a more streamlined looking Frisbee® disc into a supported metal basket. The goal is the same: to complete the course in the fewest number of shots. A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to each basket, which is the "hole". As players progress down the fairway, they must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. Finally, the "putt" lands in the basket and the hole is completed. Disc golf is much easier than ball golf so instead of being so hard it is frustrating, most people quickly show improvement, which creates positive feedback and a desire to do it again.
Who Can Play?
The simple answer is that everyone can. In studies measuring participation in recreational activities, "throwing a Frisbee" has consistently been a top-ten activity. A disc golf course serves a broader portion of the community than many narrower interest activities with higher cost, skill or fitness levels required to even begin to play. Men and women, young and old, families with small children -- all can play disc golf. Because disc golf is so easy to understand and enjoy, no one is excluded. Players merely match their pace to their capabilities and proceed from there.
How Much Does It Cost To Play?
Many courses are located in city or regional parks where citizens play free. Most private and several public facilities will charge up to $5 per day to play, or earn passive income from annual passes and/or fees to enter the park. The equipment itself is quite inexpensive – discs designed for golf sell for $8-$15 each and only one is needed to get started.
Who could play?
The course would be free and open to the public.
Who will raise funds?
DisCap will approach local businesses to sponsor each hole. The fundraising will also raise awareness about Disc Golf thereby increasing the local membership in the club.
What Kind of Construction Would Be Needed?
The installation of an 18-hole disc golf course around Town Hall would include the construction of tees and the installation of signs and baskets. A limited number of trees would need to be felled. Some fairways will need grass to be planted. A few branches usually need to be trimmed or removed near a few tees and baskets. See section 3 for an example of the details.
Tees: Each hole would have two tees, a short one for novice players, and a longer one for advanced players. The tees would be made of concrete 4" thick measuring approximately 5' x12' would be built flush with the ground. The goal is to be flexible and build the course slowly, so temporary tees will be used at first to ensure the best course lay out.
Baskets: Each playable hole would have a basket mounted on a pipe that slides inside an anchor pipe that gets cemented into a hole. The basket pipe and anchor pipe each have collar tabs that line up and are securely locked with a padlock. Each hole would have 1-2 additional anchors installed so that the basket could be moved to different anchor locations periodically to reduce soil compacting and erosion, plus add some variety for players similar to moving holes around on a golf green.
Signs: Tee signs are very important to help first time users find their way through the course. Each hole would have a sign indicating the number, length, recommended flight path, and par. In addition, a rules sign and information board should be installed before the first hole. The signs can be constructed with a variety of materials although we believe it would be preferable to construct signs with a natural appearance to fit in with the surrounding area. Commercial signs designed for disc golf are also available from several sources.
What Maintenance Is Required For a Disc Golf Course?
After installation, the maintenance needs for a disc golf course are primarily grass mowing. Unlike weekly mowing usually required for ball-fields, mowing for disc golf can be stretched to every three weeks (depending on rainfall). And even then, only the fairways need attention. The targets are made of welded steel anchored in concrete and need no regular maintenance. In the unlikely event that one of the targets is damaged beyond repair or stolen, they can be replaced for around $350.
How Much Land Is Needed?
An 18-hole course would cover approximately 18-35 acres, depending on design. The rough rule of thumb for total space needed is about one acre per hole. A significant advantage of disc golf is its ability to utilize areas that are not very desirable or usable for other activities such as woods choked with non-native foliage like buckthorn, rocky areas, and slopes. In addition, a disc golf course need not be an exclusive use area -- it can co-exist amicably with other active and passive recreation uses such as hiking, dog-walking, etc. Finally, the relative portability of baskets and signs allows the course to relocate to another site as the needs dictate.
2. HOW DOES THE PROJECT BENEFIT THE COMMUNITY?
The installation of a disc golf course around the Town Hall would benefit the surrounding community by increasing and enhancing recreational opportunities, conservation goals, and provide a modest economic stimulus.
Recreational Needs: A disc golf course would provide an inexpensive form of recreation for people of all age and skill levels and be a much needed addition to the recreational facilities around the Town Hall. The installation of a disc golf course would provide an important recreational resource for the schools surrounding the park, as well as for the wider community. A disc golf course would give youth in the neighborhood a healthy and challenging outlet for their energies and would allow members of DisCap to organize clinics and youth leagues on their behalf. For the growing number of disc golfers in Chatham, the presence of a disc golf course in the Town would obviate the need to travel to play and would give them a base from which to further promote the sport.
Conservation: Disc golf can be an environment-friendly sport. Unlike traditional golf, a disc golf course may not require trees to be removed; grass mowed and watered daily, plants uprooted or non-native species planted. Many courses can be designed to fit into the existing flora of the land. The impact of a disc golf course on the surrounding area is minimal. Each hole has multiple pin placements, ensuring that no one area gets constant foot traffic (this has the added benefit of providing new challenges to players). In addition, disc golfers overall tend to take great pride in where they play, helping reduce potential litter on the course. In the long-term, a disc golf course would also help in the preservation of the land by giving young people in the neighborhood a stake in its preservation and protection.
Economics: A deluxe 18-hole disc golf course with two sets of tees, professional signs, and baskets can be purchased and installed for under $20,000, less than the cost of a single tennis or basketball court. An 18-hole course can serve more than 72 people at any time, compared with a tennis court (4 maximum) or basketball court (10 maximum). The cumulative square footage of 27 x 60 sq. ft hard surface tee pads is also less than either a basketball or tennis court.
A first class 18 hole disc golf course can be installed for as little as $22,000. This includes the purchase/construction and installation of 18 galvanized steel baskets, 36 cement tee pads, 18 tee signs, trash cans, seating and a message board. This figure is very flexible, as costs can be easily cut using inexpensive seating & trash cans and, most importantly, utilizing player volunteer efforts.
These estimates are based on the latest disc golf basket -- the lockable Mach V Pole Hole -- and two placement sleeves. Other types of baskets are available at similar prices. Each sleeve would be set in a cement hole measuring approximately 8 inches in diameter and 18-36 inches deep. Once in place, they are relatively maintenance free.
Note: prices subject to change; check with manufacturer for current prices.
DGA Mach V Basket: $353.00 x 18 = $6354.00
Locking Collar 4”x2” tubing: $9.00 x 18 = $162.00
Anchor Assembly 18"x2" tubing: $17.00 x 36 = $612.00
Concrete: 1 cubic yard = $65.00
Total Basket costs: $7193.00
3.2 Tee Pads
Each hole would have two cement tee pads, one closer to the basket for amateur players, and the other farther away for advanced players. Each would be flush to the ground or elevated depending on design & terrain factors, approximately 6x12 feet in length and 4 inches thick, requiring approximately 1 cubic yard of concrete. Once in place, they are relatively maintenance free.
Concrete, forms, fill and seed: $80.00 x 36 = $2880.00
3.3 Signs, Message Board, Seating and Trash Cans
Tee signs are important in directing new players through the next hole and providing information about hole length, terrain and out-of-bounds areas. The message board serves as a player gathering place and communications outlet. Trash cans are also a critical component of the course, as their presence on each hole will considerably reduce the amount of course litter. If constructed of solid material, all these items are also relatively maintenance free.
Tee Signs (estimated): $60.00 x 18 = $1080.00
Message Board (estimated): $250.00
Picnic Tables or Benches (alternate holes 1:3): $250 x 18 = $4500.00
Total = $5830.00
3.4 Course Design and Development
The Schenectady Disc Golf Club Inc. is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization that organizes all of the Disc Golf Courses in the Greater Capital District under the DBA of DisCap. http://discap.net/
. They have a group of seasoned veteran players who will design the course for no cost. Other members of the DisCap will help create the course, from building tees and tee signs to trimming the fairways and placing the baskets.
3.5 Installation and Maintenance
Once a course is in place, maintenance costs are relatively low. Mowing, tree trimming, and seeding will be required as needed. Erosion concerns should be monitored regularly depending on terrain, and occasional maintenance can be required on heavy footpaths. Tee pads should be regularly checked for safe grade, signs checked for maintenance needs, and hazardous trees or limbs removed. A regular routine to empty trash cans will ensure a tidy course.
Installation and maintenance costs will be drastically offset by player volunteer efforts.
Maintenance labor and materials estimates:
Mowing: 8 hours/week
Trash removal: 5 hours/week
Tree Trimming/Miscellaneous: 5 hours/month
Installation labor requirements for disc golf holes will vary by terrain. Field grass areas will need only mowing, while heavily wooded areas will require selective tree removal, including falling, chipping, stump removal, and hole filling. While hole preparation time for a field grass area may need only four hours of labor, a heavily wooded area may require 40 hours.
Installation labor estimates:
Baskets: 4 hours each
Tee Pads: 8 hours each
Holes: 16 hours each/average
Signage: 1 hour each
Total installation labor hours (estimated): 667
3.6 Insurance Costs
We have learned from the Town’s Insurance Agent that Disc Golf is classified as a low risk sport and would not add any costs to the Town Insurance. During construction DisCap will provide waivers for the volunteers.
3.7 Economic Summary for 18-Hole Course Installation
Total Basket costs: $7193.00
Concrete Tee Pads (estimated): $2880.00
Tee Signs etc (estimated): $5830.00
Installation labor (estimated): $0 per hour x 667 hours = $0.00
TOTAL ESTIMATED COSTS: $15,903.00
We have estimated high, and have built in options to allow more or less costs as fund raising allows. With this configuration it averages to under $900 per hole.
Adding the following amenities will further increase the quality and enjoyment of your disc golf course:
• Drinking fountains
• Bridges over water hazards
• Practice putting area (one to three targets)
• Mobil Concession/disc sales area
• Driving range/warm up area
4. Competition: List of the closest 10 Disc Golf Courses:
We have set our goals for Chatham’s Disc Golf Course to be a destination course. It will be a premium course. At this time Chatham is far from any disc golf courses. By creating a premium disc golf course we will ensure fans will prefer our course. As you can see from this list, Chatham is in the center of a large area that does not have any disc golf courses. The closest ones to the South are in Westchester County.
Course Name Location Holes Miles
Joralemon Park DGC, DisCap
Ravena, NY 28 17.02
Saugerties/Woodstock KOA, DisCap
Saugerties, NY 9 26.66
Central Park, DisCap
Schenectady, NY 18 35.44
Willow Park, DisCap *
Bennington, VT 9 41.67
Northampton State Hospital
Northampton, MA 18 44.04
The Highlands of Conway
Conway, MA 18 45.00
HCC Disc Golf Course
Holyoke, MA 18 49.58
Bristol, CT 18 56.66
Hyzer Creek, DisCap, 12 miles west of Saratoga
Middle Grove, NY 18 56.76
Crane Hill DGC
Wilbraham, MA 18 60.15
• Willow Park is Being improves from 9 holes by DisCap & a Boy Scout for his Eagle Project