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West St. Paul’s disc golf course at Garlough Park has a new “short course” option. New tee pads have been added to the popular 9-hole course creating an option to shorten the holes to make it more inviting for new or younger players. The new option also allows players to combine the original course and the new “short course” to create an 18-hole round of disc golf.
There are also more organized groups, including a league and a women’s group that plays weekly.
The Short Course
The new short course was designed by Chuck Kennedy, a famous course designer from Inver Grove Heights. It’s meant to accommodate the growing number of players who can’t throw as far, whether it’s kids playing with their parents or older players. Shorter holes give players more opportunities to birdie and can make for a more exciting and engaging game.
The changes simply add a new starting point for each hole and players aim for the existing baskets. It’s a minor change, implemented with volunteer labor and materials for a no-cost improvement to the disc golf course.
Look for purple tee pads with the number of each hole. Why purple? The skill level is known as “recreational purple,” which is more fun and casual for beginner players.
More Players: Women & Leagues
In addition to the new short course, there’s been an increased interest in disc golf at Garlough Park.
A new league for women and juniors is starting this week. The league will run for seven weeks on Fridays from June 11 to July 23. Times are flexible and no previous league experience is necessary. The effort is organized by Patrick Kelly who runs a number of disc golf leagues across the Twin Cities.
There’s also a group of women who currently play every Tuesday during the day. They come from all over the Twin Cities, but enjoy Garlough because it’s a fun course and good for those who don’t have a super long throw.
Kate Jensen, who organizes the group, wants to see more women playing. She’s been playing for four years, but several in the group started last summer during the pandemic.
“It’s good exercise,” Jensen says. “It gets you outside, you’re bending down and moving around. It’s free and flexible.”
Women interested in joining the group can email Jensen. She sends out weekly texts with the weather outlook and people respond if they plan to make it.
History of the Course
Originally designed by Mike Snelson, Garlough Park’s disc golf course was installed in August 2006 with a budget of $5,000. Local business sponsors provided the majority of the cost and the city only contributed $800.
“The course is unique because it is short and has a wide range of elevation changes, mix of open and wooded shots, and is has beautiful scenery,” said Dave Lynch, a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and the resident who spearheaded the disc golf course. “The course has been a huge success and continues to attract new players young and old.”
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