Service: Design and Site Planning
Location: Camp Laughing Waters
City: Gilbertsville, PA
The Big Idea for the design at Camp Laughing Water’s 500-acre camp was to provide varying degrees of disc golf challenge while moving users through the property to highlight the old growth trees and rolling topography, in addition to complimenting new infrastructure like a brand new ropes course. The Girls Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania contracted our firm to design two different 9-hole disc golf courses — a beginner-friendly layout near the center of the camp, and an advanced layout in the further reaches of the property. These courses are PRIVATE, and not open to the general public.
The beginner-friendly 9-hole course starts and ends at the Dining Hall in the center of the campus. Each hole has its own technical challenge, while highlighting an on-site feature like specimen trees, historic buildings, bridges, ponds, cabins and more. The middle of the course moves users from each camping “pod” to the ropes course, and back. Hole 3 and 4 will measure 207′ and 337′ respectively, and will help strengthen the connection to this new addition to Camp Laughing Waters. There will be no safety concerns in this portion of the woods, and the course only runs close enough to feature cross-promotion between the two activities.
After connecting to the new ropes course, the course makes its way back towards the dining hall, but not before moving users to the on-site pond, outdoor learning area and the historic Murphy House. Each of the holes demand their own skill set from the players, while providing beautiful views of the surrounding Pennsylvania landscape. The 9-hole beginner friendly course will be open by May 2015.
Switching to the advanced 9-hole course design, we move to a very underutilized portion of the camp where large changes in elevation and specimen trees can be found everywhere you look. While the 9-hole advanced course will be a 10 minute walk from the Dining Hall, officials of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania wanted to spread the activity over the 500-acre camp, and help give a new “identity” to the parcel of land that ran along Swamp Creek.
While the advanced 9-hole course is only 250′ longer than the beginner-friendly 9-hole course, the holes themselves are much more demanding. The advanced course puts an emphasis on accuracy over length as the majority of holes features “turtleback greens” or “postage stamp” landing areas where placement is key. Wayward shots will catch steep slopes and roll away, while precision is rewarded with high percentage putts, or level footing for approach shots.
Both courses were finished in early summer 2015 and have been getting heavy use by Girl Scout troops on a weekly basis.