Photo Courtesy of Mid Michigan College
It may not feel like it yet, but warmer days are just ahead and soon Michiganders will be enjoying the many outdoor activities the state offers.
One of those activities that has grown in popularity is disc golf. According to UDisc 2021 Disc Golf Growth Report, the sport has gained significant traction throughout the pandemic as people have looked for safe, socially-distanced outdoor activities. The report states that in 2020 between 35-37 million rounds of disc golf were played in the United States.
Locals who enjoy the sport will now have an additional course closer to home as Mid Michigan College is revealing its new 18-hole disc golf course
that is part of the Harrison campus trail system this weekend with a tournament on April 9.
While the course is being debuted this weekend, primary construction was finished in the fall of 2021; and, the course is already highly-rated on UDisc.
Scott Mertes, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Community Outreach at Mid Michigan College, says adding a disc golf course to the trail system seemed like a wonderful opportunity to respond to a need in the community.
“Disc golf is a very popular sport and there are few facilities in the area for people to play. So, we looked at this as an opportunity to respond to a community interest and provide a free venue for those interested in the sport to come out and play in a beautiful yet challenging environment,” he says.
In a demonstration of how disc golf brings the community together, the course at Mid Michigan College’s Harrison campus was created through collaborative efforts with Central Michigan University (CMU).
“One of our course designers (Jordan Bruursema) is a current faculty member at CMU,” Mertes says. “He along with his co-designer, Craig Clingan, designed the course and helped in the actual construction. Additionally, we have partnered with a graduate-level sports studies class taught by Dr. Marcia Mackey, to assist in the planning, implementation, marketing, fundraising, etc. of our inaugural tournament/group breaking on Saturday, April 9. We are extremely appreciative of the work Dr. Mackey and her students have done.”
Mertes says the course, along with all of the trails on the campus, are free and open to the public. He believes this new course will provide students and community members with a fun, affordable opportunity to get outdoors and entertain themselves.
“Eventually, perhaps we will get enough students to form a club that can compete with other colleges around the state, giving students an opportunity to enjoy the benefits intercollegiate athletics has to offer,” Mertes says.
Bruursema says the course will provide an additional option for Central Michigan University’s Disc Golf Club to play at as well.
While both he and Mertes are looking forward to the possibility of future tournaments at the course, Bruursema adds that he hopes this course could be the start of something even bigger in the region.
“One of the things we’re trying to do in mid-Michigan is get enough high-level courses in the area to get professional level tournaments here, so we can make this a hotspot for disc golf,” Bruursema says. “I think the biggest economic impact that would have is people traveling from all over the state to this area. Disc golf is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country and it’s exciting to be part of it. I think it’s exciting that Mt. Pleasant has embraced the disc golf community and I think we are destined to become that hotspot.”