COTTAGE HILLS — Kutter Park is bringing new life to the term “teeing off” as it has become the home of a new disc golf course for all to enjoy.
The course has been three years in the making, after a friend mentioned to Wood River Township Supervisor Mike Babcock that disc golf was rapidly growing in the Metro East.
“I looked into how many 18-hole disc golf courses there were around here,” Babcock said. “I decided that Kutter Park certainly was a place that could use a course for our citizens to enjoy.”
Funding for the course at 620 California Ave. was made possible by a grant from Madison County’s Park Enhancement Program. The PEP grant was designed to extend community funding for park operations such as upkeep and new projects. The amount provided by the grant is determined by the size of the city or the city’s park district. Babcock says roughly $10,000 of the grant is invested in the disc golf course.
After the funding was in place, Babcock said the township’s board approved the course’s construction. The next step was to build a course that was fun but challenging with a difficulty level of eight out of 10. Babcock decided to bring in two local avid players, Tim and Chuck Short, to help design and construct the course.
Tim, 53, and Chuck, 40, have been playing with standard beach Frisbees since they were children. Though they had heard of disc golf growing up, they did not start playing until four years ago. Nonetheless, the brothers were up for the challenge and did what it took to bring their vision of the fairway to life.
“You want to keep the holes challenging,” Chuck said. “You want to try to keep the holes somewhat beginner-friendly, but I mean there are enough beginner-friendly courses in this area, so we wanted to make this more of a challenge than your normal course.”
The course only holds one par 4 hole with the rest being at par 3, so one bad throw could immediately change the outcome of the game.
“Beginners can get in trouble real quick,” Tim said.
The course’s difficulty is brought up even higher by its terrain. The course dips into the wooded areas of the park and over creeks. There are 25-foot elevation changes as well as varying distances between each tee-off and hole.
“I think we have a good mix on the course,” Tim said. “The wooded area is more technical, and on the open holes you don’t have to be as accurate, but it’s still fun.”
While most of the course is finished and open to play, there is still work to be done. Bridges need to be built over creeks, a map of the course still need to be drawn up and scorecards for the course must be designed and printed.
Even though the course is still getting its finishing touches, that isn’t keeping the players away. Babcock said with the course’s completion, the park has been experiencing more use and with the sport rapidly growing, he expects that trend to continue.