While Explore Disc Golf is a full-service disc golf design-build firm, we operate on many different scales when it comes to disc golf course design and site planning. The Mobile Disc Golf Experience — which goes to events up and down the East Coast in the summer time — is our way of making disc golf as accessible as possible to the general public by bringing a 3 to 6 hole course to THEM and offering free disc rentals for all to play. We also have multiple 18-hole disc golf courses in the works at universities, ski resorts and park systems in the Northeast. While all these projects are well within the scope of our company mission, we however, have several other projects on a private sector scale that will benefit company’s employees through the restorative benefits of nature. These projects vary in scale significantly, as the focus isn’t on championship caliber disc golf as much as it is using disc golf as a conduit to get employees out into nature, promote the sport while having friendly company competitions, and grow on both a personal and professional level with one another.
This past summer, we were contacted by a Team and Leadership Solutions company in California to provide our site planning services for a rustic 18-hole disc golf course that would be built as a team building project by Athena Healthcare employees over the course of a weekend in Central Maine. We were incredibly excited to be a part of this project as our approach to using disc golf as not only a “team building” component for companies, but for rest and relaxation in mother nature was something we were striving to accomplish. While many people may think that bringing disc golf to a company campus may not be the best idea, we beg to differ. There is no denying the fact that being immersed in nature has countless health and well being benefits — including heightened productivity and overall happiness. Why do you think suburbs we created in the first place? People left the overcrowded, industrial conditions of the cities and found peace in the open green space of the nearby countryside.
The focus of this project was to put an emphasis on team building, ultimately ending in the completion of a rustic 18-hole disc golf course installation that would be donated to the resort as a community service project for residents of the surrounding towns to use and enjoy. Explore Disc Golf’s role was to come up to the resort prior to installation and flag out 18 potential tee and target locations that were safe for installation, yet varied and challenging enough for users to enjoy. The resort wasn’t necessarily looking for EXACT locations of any particular tee and targets, as they wanted to leave the decision process up to the teams themselves.
On the day of construction, Athena Healthcare had more than 165 of their employees break into 18 teams, where each group was given a list of tasks that must be completed for the installation of the disc golf course to become a reality. Teams were given a radius of 50′ within the approved, flagged locations for where they could choose the specific locations for the tee pad and target of each hole. The 9 person teams than had to decide amongst themselves who would be responsible for each task. Tasks included: 1.) locating and constructing the tee pad, 2.) locating and constructing the target, 3.) determining hole par, length, elevation change and intended flight path, 4.) locating and constructing hole signage at the tee pad, 5.) locating and constructing wayfinding signage at the target and along the path to the next hole, 6.) locating and constructing a message board with course map at the first tee, and 7.) coordinating with surrounding holes to provide a uniform, consistent presentation of information.
The holes of the course were laid out in such a fashion that each team had easy access to one of three building stations, in addition to a power station that was located in the center of the course. The power station was used for cutting the parts for the wooden signage and targets, while the building stations were used for the construction of the parts into a presentable disc golf component. Teams were allotted 3 hours to complete the construction and installation of their given hole, so as you can see, the 9 person teams had to quickly figure out a task for each team member that would satisfy the requirement of a completed disc golf hole.
The response to the disc golf portion of the team building weekend from Athena Healthcare employees was extremely positive, and Explore Disc Golf was honored to be part of such a unique project. The course has now been donated to Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center as a community service project, and saw over 100 people use the course in less than a week! The rustic course is a unique interpretation of “object golf” and will hopefully justify the implementation of an 18-hole championship course at the site in the future, but that wasn’t the goal behind this project. The team building aspect of the course — while rustic in terms of construction and professional representation of the sport — was a progressive take on using disc golf as a conduit to interact with nature, while sharpening team building skills like leadership, communication and teamwork. Eventually this project will be brought to light through signage, including how disc golf and 165 Athena Healthcare employees were brought together through an exciting, progressive take on the team building concept that so many companies are making mandatory.