Frolf course improvements promote healthy lifestyle

By the end of this semester, the Johnson State College community can look forward to some major changes to the disc golf course on campus. Graduate students Thomas Brace and Ross King, and non-student Travis Connolly have banded together to bring a new look and layout for disc golf players.
“We began renovating by moving baskets to different locations and adding new tee boxes,” said Brace. “The overall project will consist of new tee boxes on every hole, new tee signs for every hole and just general signage throughout the course––because there’s not a lot of signage––where to go, some new bridges over the streams in some of the water areas and a new welcome sign. Also kind of a little check-in station, like if you were hiking, a sign-in book and some rules and some general safety improvements because of fallen and leaning trees.”

Around this time last year, Brace, King and Connolly first started putting together ideas for things that they could do for the course. After a couple of years of playing together on it, they were very familiar with the maintenance and updates that the course could use.

“We like the sport so much that we wanted to improve the course for everybody,” said Brace.
So far, the group has successfully relocated all of the baskets that they plan to move, which makes the new layout complete. “Moving a basket can almost make it a whole new course,” said Brace. “It kind of gives it a new look, it gives it a competitive feel, it gives it more thought and just overall a newer feel. It was getting kind of repetitive and there were also concerns from the school about throwing across paths where people were walking.”

They have also completed some new trails, moved bridges, cleaned up trash and worked on some trenching for water collection.

Throughout the maintenance, the course has been able to stay open. Brace said that they try to do work when there are fewer people on the course. They also moved baskets into their new places one by one and repositioned them immediately so that there would be a very short time that each of the 18 holes would be unavailable.

Funding for this project was provided by Healthy Lamoille Valley, an organization that focuses on limiting alcohol and drug use, and on being healthy in general. The tee signs will help to deliver this messaging that Healthy Lamoille Valley is trying to promote.

“It is messaging focused around trying to promote a positive healthy lifestyle,” said Brace, “like making sure you’ve drank some water, respected the course, cleaned up your trash, stuff like that. Just friendly messages to help people to not litter, to try to have a healthy and safe day and enjoy the course and respect others while they’re out there. Just general positive messaging.” Each tee sign will have a description of the hole, with a map and the phrase on the bottom.

Right now, Brace, King, and Connolly are waiting for the snow to start melting before they do work like clearing out the broken trees.

“We want to open it up to the community to help us,” said Brace. He says that they will soon be looking into advertising some clean-up days.

They are also interested in having a tournament in May to promote the new course and the additions.

“It’s been a really exciting project and I’m really happy to be a part of it,” said Brace. “There’s a lot of work that’s going into it, has gone into it, and will continue to go into it and so we’re always looking for help and feedback.”

Anyone looking to find out how to help with this project can email [email protected]