Service: Design and Site Planning
Location: The MacDuffie School
City: Granby, MA
The Big Idea for the 3-hole course design at The MacDuffie School in Granby, MA was to draw attention to several specimen plantings that run throughout an underutilized portion of campus that features multiple rustic out buildings that get no use throughout the year. An old barn with two towering silos, a greenhouse and two out buildings help define the tees and outer edges of the space while the holes are located in areas that are provide increased visibility from the dorms and gymnasium.
The MacDuffie School is a private day and boarding school for students in grades 6-12. This college preparatory school has an enrollment just over 250 students, with over 50% of that coming internationally. With on-site lodging, classroom instruction and extra curricular activities, students rarely have to leave the campus, although the school offers trips to malls, museums and recreational events during the weekends.
Trying to continue with offering a wide variety of athletic programs, the administration contacted our firm to help bring disc golf to their rolling campus. While a9 or 18-hole course is still possible, all involved thought that starting small scale would yield the best results. With that in mind, we provided 30 DX discs to the school, a 200+ page curriculum for the physical education department and 3 Innova DISCatcher Sports. We also flagged out multiple 3-hole loops, with proper signage, so students can see the context disc golf is supposed to be played in, in addition to lessons and instruction from the gym teacher.
The 1st hole is a 207′ downhill hole the provides the opportunity for a gentle hyzer to an unprotected basket. All the hard work is off the tee; picking the correct lane and keeping it under the low ceiling created by a massive Maple branch, yet making sure the disc is high enough to get all the way back to the basket. Seating by the tee is provided by cement steps and a slope up to an old barn. The right side of the space is defined by a rustic out building, while the left side is defined by a greenhouse — both structures are well out of play.
The next two holes get a bit more technical. The 2nd hole plays the shortest at only 165′, but is up a tight alley between mature yews and junipers that stretch well above the fairway airspace. The basket is defined by three towering pines, a specimen maple and two out buildings that visually connect to the space without being close enough for any damage or safety concerns.
The 3rd hole is a 337′ downhill anyhyzer that demands a penetrating disc flight that moves right through a gap to the basket in the open field that can be seen from the on-site dorms. The tee is backed up next to a large barn with two towering silos on each side, while a row of maple trees is broken up by a small opening that defines the fairway gap. This hole is the most open of the three, but still requires a long turnover shot to get all the way back to the basket. The basket is located in such a manner that it is visible to several dorms, and gives players the ability to putt and practice on the basket without having to “commit” to a full round.
All in all, this 3-hole course is the beginning of many great disc golf-related opportunities at The MacDuffie School. The beautiful, rolling campus holds infinite potential in terms of a course as well as starting a team and eventual prep school league which will only help solidify disc golf as a fun, affordable form of passive recreation.