Updates are in the works at the Spring Creek Disc Golf Course at LaPrele Park, aimed at making the course easier to navigate and play.
The changes include redesigned basket placements as well as new pads, signs and maps. The tee pads were completed earlier this month, with the rest of the infrastructure in the works.
“I would say this fall is when we’re hoping to get the signage and the rest of the placements,” Laramie Parks and Recreation Director Todd Feezer said.
The changes have been spearheaded by the local High Plains Disc Golf Club, with funding provided by a grant from the Albany County Recreation Board.
Club member Jeff Stoller said the original course, built in 2004, is confusing and hard to navigate for anyone not familiar with the layout.
“The biggest disgruntlement was that when you went on the course, you didn’t know where you were,” he said.
The original course has 18 holes played on nine baskets, requiring players to circle the park twice in a figure-eight pattern to play a single round. Players walk almost a quarter mile between some holes.
“On our redesign, we’ve made it into one loop, so you just go around once,” Stoller said. “That will shorten the time to play.”
They worked with adjacent landowners Paul and Jane Greaser to gain room on the east side of the park. The redesigned course includes shorter holes, making it easier for newcomers.
“The original course was tough,” Stoller said.
Club member Kayne Priest said many disc golf players play for fun or as a way to spend time in the park, and they don’t want to spend all their energy navigating a confusing course or playing something that’s beyond their ability.
“It can be a little bit frustrating to beginners, which is a lot of the player base — people who don’t play very often, or people who want to get out and spend some time at a park,” he said.
The new tee pads, installed by Sweckard Excavation, are 14 feet long. They’re 4 feet wide in the back, 6 feet wide in the front and level.
“When you’re on those, it’s like you have a runway. I think we’re going to play better,” Stoller said.
Now that the tee pads have been installed, Priest is finalizing a map that shows basket placements and distances. Each hole will have at least three spots for a basket. There will be a large map at the first hole, along with markers at each tee pad. Once the infrastructure is in place, the course will need almost no maintenance in coming years.
Disc golf is a sport played much like ball golf, except with a flying disc instead of clubs and a ball. Players aim to throw their disc from the tee pad to a basket using as few throws as possible.
Unlike its counterpart, disc golf courses are usually located at public parks and are free to play, with a small investment required for equipment.
Holes are designed to incorporate the natural features of the course, such as trees, shrubs and bodies of water. A good course will require players to make throws of a range of distances and using a variety of techniques to curve around obstacles.
“It’s a really fun community,” Priest said. “It’s still so much more fun and casual than a lot of sports because it’s so accessible.”
Members of the High Plains Disc Golf Club meet regularly at LaPrele for league matches. Many club members also travel around the region to compete in tournaments. The club has organized a disc golf camp for young players during the summer for the past few years.
Club members are hoping to host tournaments of their own on the redesigned course. The original course isn’t eligible for tournament play because it doesn’t have separate baskets for each hole, which can be a safety hazard.
“I have really high hopes for this new course,” Priest said.
Feezer praised the work of the disc golf club in leading the redesign effort.
“It’s great to have a group of guys that are knowledgeable in the sport to help us make the improvements, to help make sure the course is top notch for the community and the region,” he said. “Once we’re done, our tee pads and our course is going to be laid out in such a fashion that it’s going to be a regional draw, not just a local draw.”