Pickleball, move over. There’s a new contender for fastest growing sport that may soon dominate local park and recreation programs in Johnson County.
Disc golf baskets have been popping up everywhere: Johnson County Park and Recreation District has three, Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park in Lenexa has one and more can be found in Olathe and Prairie Village.
The upshot: Now Lenexa is building another disc golf course at the city’s Black Hoof Park that backers say could become a premier venue for tournaments and super fans.
Driving the news: Concrete has yet to be poured for tee pads at the park, and the parking lot will need to be expanded. But as the city council was getting ready to approve a donation agreement from private disc golf enthusiasts Tuesday, they were told that the first tournament there is planned for April 1, 2023, shortly after the ribbon cutting at a date-to-be-determined in March.
- Since last year, the city has been considering disc golf for 55 acres of land it bought in 2007 near Lake Lenexa, at Kansas Highways 7 and 10.
- The plans got a boost at Tuesday night’s meeting with the approval of $75,000 in donations over 10 years from Henderson Engineers, the Kansas Flying Disc Association and some individual donors.
Details: The gift to the Lenexa Foundation would come in a $40,000 lump the first year, $10,000 each of the next two years and $2,500 each year after the remaining years of the term.
- In return, the company will be named sponsor of the 18-hole course, the association would be named for the 9-hole course and the individual donors would get hole sponsorships.
What they’re saying: Rich Smith, former CEO of Henderson Engineering and founder of Kansas Flying Disc Association, has been playing flying disc sports since 1979.
- He said he looks at the gift as a way to grow the sport and promote a new park in the city where the engineering company has been located for thirty years.
Key quote: “This course is going to be one of the top courses in the region,” he said Tuesday. “It’s going to draw people to come to Lenexa, hopefully to spend money but also to enjoy Black Hoof Park.”
What else: Besides the engineering company and the association, donations also will come from individuals Kevin Lewis and Jason Wollum, also of Henderson Engineering.
- The 18-hole course will be about 10,000 feet long, with multiple tee and basket options on each hole.
- The nine-hole course is designed to be more “family friendly,” a possible warm-up for the larger course.
What’s next for new Lenexa disc golf course
The city has already cleared trees and done grading work but is still working on the pads, baskets, signs and parking lot expansion, said Logan Wagler, city parks and recreation director.
- A final estimate of the total cost of the project is still being worked out, but he said Tuesday it is estimated to cost $85,000 not including labor.
- The city will also continue to seek other sponsors for baskets, benches and holes around the course.
Final thought: Disc golf has seen explosive growth in the past year, after it became popular in 2020 as people sought outdoor sports during the height of the pandemic.
- The sport also has a Professional Disc Golf Association tour.
Roxie Hammill is a freelance journalist who reports frequently for the Post and other Kansas City area publications. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.