Upcoming volunteer days will be posted on John Bird’s website, the Mile High Disc Golf Club, at mhdgc.org.
T he chill on the afternoon air aside, competitive disc golfer Jimmie Solis was glad to be out playing 18 holes in Boulder last week, now that the Valmont Disc Golf Course is open.
Solis has played at South Boulder’s Harlow Platts Park, the city’s sole disc golf option until recently, and in Longmont, where he lives. But when the 18-hole Valmont course opened in mid-December, Solis suddenly had a new, bigger and more technical option for disc golf in the community.
But Solis, like other disc golfers, isn’t going to get too comfortable with the layout. Plans for the south side of Valmont City Park are still up in the air, so the city hasn’t developed the entire course — which is across the road from the bike park — yet, said Mike Lamb, parks project manager for City of Boulder’s Parks and Recreation department. But the demand for a disc golf course was overwhelming, he said, and community members were urging the city to expedite the development of an interim course to meet the growing demand for disc golf — so they did.
Once the south section of the park is developed, the course will look more like a finished product, Lamb said, but for now the 18-hole course is a work in progress.
Residents have been petitioning to include a disc golf course since the city bought the 132 acres for Valmont City Park in 1996, said disc-golf pioneer John Bird. Bird, who began playing in 1976 and has consulted in the development of nearly a dozen disc golf courses in Colorado, got involved in the design process for the Valmont course in 1996.
Many helped develop the course throughout the years, said Lamb, but “without John this wouldn’t have happened — he spearheaded this thing.”
“I had a long-term investment in this and I wanted to see it done,” Bird said. “This isn’t the final product that will be out there. It’ll be good to see what we can make it, and if we can make it a nice recreational course, but also a course worthy of doing tournaments.”
So far the city has spent about $20,000 on the course, according to Lamb, and about $70,000 has been put toward the park’s south side for building a 12-foot wide multi-use path and a fence to keep out prairie dogs and relocate them.
Bird and Lamb both said volunteers have been essential for bringing the cost of the course down — and getting the course opened.
“These guys show up first thing in the morning and don’t leave till dark…and it was hard, hard work,” Lamb said.
Bird agreed. “Boulder has a pretty good nucleus of players who are willing to give up a Saturday morning or their day shift to go out and get things done. They worked hard.”
According to Lamb, the course currently plays like an executive course — a smaller course with a faster pace of play. “They’re shorter holes than you’d want (for the final product), but that’s the area we could use right now.”
Solis agreed and added that the course is beginner-friendly as a result.
“It’s a good place for beginners and for anyone to learn…or work on your upshot game for people who are a little more seasoned,” he said, adding that this is good for the growth of the game, and that he’s seen both college students and families out playing since the park opened.
Bird has also noticed this change. “Now what we’re seeing is the demographic is going pretty much across the board…you‘ll see somebody coming through pushing strollers…mom and dad and maybe a couple of friends.”