REEDSBURG — After three years of careful planning, fundraising, and hard work, the opening of Half-Moon Lagoon Disc Golf Course finally became a reality for the Disconsin Disc Golf Club on Saturday morning.
Community members and disc golfers alike gathered at the entrance of the course behind the Reedsburg Municipal Pool, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place. It’s the second course built by Disconsin, a Reedsburg-based group of passionate disc golfers whose goal is to promote the sport and build courses all around Wisconsin.
Located at Roger Popple Nature Area near Webb Park, Half-Moon Lagoon Disc Golf Course features beautiful scenery as disc golfers make their way through the woods and work their way around the Baraboo River, Half-Moon Lagoon and Hay Creek. Disconsin co-founder and program director Eric Huffman said while the area wasn’t the group’s first choice for building a course, Disconsin members were excited for the opportunity to revitalize Roger Popple Nature Area.
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“Our first pick was over by Nishan Park, the field behind there by the church, but it’s owned privately,” Huffman said. “So we came to where the city told us to go.
“I’m partial, I went to the middle school here, and spent a lot of time back in these trails. They were a lot better, but then the flood of 2008 happened, and just went downhill from there. So we thought it would be a good plan to try and bring it back up.”
Building the course required a lot of physical labor, as the area was overgrown with an invasive species.
“The biggest obstacle was buckthorn. If you go back there you’ll still see it everywhere. You see where we have cut but it just keeps growing back,” Huffman said. “Every time you cut a buckthorn tree down, you come around with herbicide, and you have to dab each and every tree you cut. And there are millions of trees back there.”
Financially, Disconsin received a couple of grants and used fundraising efforts to raise money toward the cost of materials including the disc golf baskets, tees, signs and other equipment.
“The city first gave us $3,000 through Room Tax Commision, so that was a great help,” Huffman said. “And then we applied for the Webb fund grant, asked for $10,000 and they gave that to us last year. Everything else was fundraising by ourselves, doing Pizza Ranch tip night, doing special events with United Fund or Freedom Fest.”
Huffman also mentioned several local businesses support the group through sign sponsorships.
Promoting the course
Most recently, Disconsin held an event at Reedsburg’s annual Freedom Fest at Nishan Park. The group ran mini games, had driving competitions and raffled off some prizes. Huffman said it was a great turnout.
“It showed us how much the city was interested,” he said. “We had a lot of people come by, throw Frisbees and learn.”
Disconsin’s main source of promoting the course was through social media. Huffman said getting the community’s attention was a slow process at first, but eventually the word spread.
“We didn’t get much support right away. We were posting updates (on Facebook) and there would be maybe 12 likes and one share. When we announced the course opening, we had over 500 likes and 60 shares,” he said. “I hear about it all the time. People at work are coming up to me — they had never heard of disc golf and saying they (want to) go check it out. It’s something new for the town that wasn’t here before.”
Half-Moon Lagoon Disc Golf Course features 18 holes, a rarity for the area. Fifteen of the 18 holes are played through the woods, where disc golfers are required to throw a lot of short, technical throws.
The final three holes are much longer, as they open out into the fields of Webb Park.
The 18th hole is the longest, with a distance of 420 feet. While there are a variety of shots, all holes are par threes.
Each hole features a sign mapping out the fairway and the location of each hole, along with the location of the next tee. Currently, the course has rubber tee pads to throw from, but Huffman mentioned Disconsin plans on replacing them with concrete tees as early as next summer. Water hazards are common on the course, as four holes feature a body of water to throw over.
Passion for the sport
Having worked countless of hours building the course, Huffman said Disconsin’s passion behind the effort comes from the love of the sport.
“It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s inexpensive and it’s for everybody,” he said. “From little kids to adults, you can bring the family out. There’s a competitive side, or just play to relax.”
Huffman said the completion of Narrows Creek Disc Golf Course in Loganville along with the Half-Moon Lagoon course is only the beginning.
“This area is very scarce with disc golf courses. Our main goal is to try and spread the sport of disc golf by installing courses. Next year, we’re hoping to build an 18-hole course at White Mound County Park,” he said. “I’m also going to try and have a tournament once every month (in Reedsburg) throughout the summer.”