After a three-month trial period, Willamalane has made the new disc golf course in Clearwater Park a permanent amenity. The 12-acre, nine hole layout is the first disc golf course in Springfield.
While there are nearby disc golf courses in Eugene and surrounding communities, Willamalane felt this was a popular activity missing in the district’s park system, according to natural resources planner Fraser MacDonald.
“Disc golf is a very popular and growing sport, and the public identified the need for a new course in the community. We’ve since responded to that feedback and we’re now excited to offer this new recreational opportunity, while still retaining the natural beauty and integrity of the park,” he said.
The course has been in the planning stages since 2013, when public input was gathered for Clearwater Park’s Master Plan. A disc golf course was included as a priority. Staff started designing the course last year, working closely with Jesse Everett, one of the board officers of the Eugene Disc Golf Club.
The course, according to MacDonald, is designed around the existing natural area, topography and habitats, while also keeping the safety of other park users in mind.
Hole No. 1 starts just north of the Middle Fork Path trailhead, with the course opening up to a large grassy area lined with mature trees, adding challenge, variety and scenery. The layout was also designed to accommodate a variety of skill levels, including beginner to intermediate levels.
Eugene Disc Golf Club member Matt Benotsch said he is pleased with the course design and looking forward to working with Willamalane to promote the course and the sport.
“It was definitely time for Springfield to have a course and we’re happy to have played a role in getting it established. Clearwater is a great course for beginners and families and we’d love to help Willamalane develop more disc golf courses,” he said.
Last summer, Willamalane opened up the course on an interim basis to solicit public input and monitor potential conflicts, usage and design modifications.
MacDonald said there was steady play throughout the summer and that public input was positive.
“Feedback was very good,” said MacDonald. “I was also impressed with the large number of families and groups of adults playing with kids. It’s great to see an activity that crosses multiple generations.”
Based on the positive feedback, Willamalane moved forward to make the course a permanent feature. The course design was finalized and concrete pads were installed at each tee box to secure the metal baskets.
The course is now open to the public throughout the year, with play based on a first come, first served basis.
Willamalane will continue to work closely with the Eugene Disc Golf Club, with MacDonald envisioning future volunteer work parties to help prune vegetation and remove invasive plant species.
“We want to thank both the public and Eugene Disc Golf Club for all their assistance, feedback and encouragement during this process,” said MacDonald. “This disc golf course became a reality through a true community effort and shared vision.”