The 18-hole Somerset Disc Golf Course in La Grandeur Natural Area was officially completed at the end of June, according to one of the driving forces behind the course, Kris Holle.
The course began as a 10-hole dream four years ago and has eventually grown into a sought-after destination for the region’s disc golfers, thanks to the hard work of many volunteers and donations.
The Somerset Village Board donated $3,000 to the Somerset Disc Golf Association in July 2010 toward the initial groundwork and purchase of baskets for the course, Holle said.
The course, located amid 26 acres of village-owned land comprising the La Grandeur Natural Area surrounding the water tower in the industrial park, is moderately wooded with rolling hills, constantly changing elevations and a pond.
“There is about a distance of 300 feet per hole,” Holle said. “The elevations change quite a bit. It’s a good hike. On league nights it takes us about two hours.”
Holle said the course, which was cleared and built with hours of volunteer work, was designed with the engineering help of disc golf enthusiasts David Bogenhagen and Joe Feidt of Hudson, who also helped Somerset procure baskets and materials in July 2012 from the now defunct Willow Woods course, which was located at Willow River State Park.
A post from the group’s Facebook page in 2012 reads “The ‘fairways’ are overgrown, but there are paths. If anyone goes out there, feel free to bring a weed whacker or shrub cutters and clear the ‘fairways’ 10-20' wide and around the tees and pins 20-30'. I will be out there on Wednesdays about 6 p.m. to huck a round or clean up brush.”
This post is one of several showing how many hours of backbreaking work it took to get this course in tip-top shape.
“With alternate tee pads and pin placements, there are 54 different ‘courses’ to run out there,” Holle said.
What is disc golf?
Disc golf, also known as “Frisbee golf” or “frolf,” is similar to golf in that a player attempts to complete each hole with the fewest number of throws (or in traditional golf, strokes). Instead of the ball and clubs of traditional golf, disc golf uses flying discs (or Frisbees) aimed at standing baskets.
A disc is thrown from a tee area to a target, called a hole. The most common disc golf target, according to pdga.com, is a “Pole Hole,” or an elevated metal basket. As a player moves down the fairway, each throw is made from where the previous throw landed.
Trees, shrubs, hills and other terrain comprising the fairways and surrounding areas make courses more challenging. The hole is completed when the disc lands in the target, much like sinking a putt in traditional golf. A “hole-in-one” is called an “ace.”
There are three classifications of discs used in disc golf: a driver, a midrange and a putter. Holle said each disc costs about $15.
“A one-time purchase of $50 and you’re set to play,” Holle said. “That’s one of the draws, is it’s relatively inexpensive. That and courses are usually free.”
The Somerset Disc Golf League meets Monday nights at 6:30 p.m. (390 Tower Rd., Somerset) rain or shine from April through early October. Holle said people are welcome to play year-round if they don’t mind braving the snow and cold.
On a normal league night, Holle expects roughly 20 players. Cost is $5 to play, with $1 going to the “ace pool,” $1 going to the course fund, and $3 going to the nightly winner.
One reason for the push to get the course completed was attracting professional disc golfers and tournaments to the course. On July 6, the Somerset course hosted the Professional Disc Golf Association’s Western Wisconsin Point Series #2 challenge.
The next competition will be the Ace Race Oct. 5. The fee to enter is $20-$25.
For more information on the course, to enter tournaments, or join the league, email Holle at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=4109 or facebook.com/somersetdiscgolf. The course is free and open to the public.