By Ryan McPhail
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
Burchfield Park is home to a 36-hole disc golf course that is spread out on nearly 60 acres of the 540 that make up the park.
“Its not your average course, it’s something spectacular,” said Director of Ingham County Parks Willis Bennett.
Constructed in 2010, the disc golf course opened in June of 2011. The course is unique because each hole has two tee boxes as well as two baskets, creating 13,000 combinations in which to play the course which is located at 881 Grovenburg Road in Holt.
The disc course at was constructed when the park was budgeted $30,000 as part of the Capital Improvement Project. The park then partnered with the Capital City Renegades, a local disc golf club in Lansing, to develop the course.
“We wanted to utilize park property but not interfere,” said Bennett.
Bennett said it was nice to be able to construct a new course even with the budget cuts that the county as a whole has been impacted by the past three years.
“We had to cut a lot out. It was very difficult because we set a very high standard and were forced to eliminate some things from the parks,” said Bennett.
The course is a newer attraction to the park which could help generate more revenue.
“We have had people coming from Grand Rapids and Detroit to play our course,” said Assistant Parks Manager Tim Buckley.
Bennett said that disc golf is a very interesting sport because of its variety. He said he has seen disc golf at the park used as a way for families and people of all ages to go out and have fun as well as a used as a competitive sport by amateur disc golf athletes.
Disc golf is similar to traditional golf, but it is played using a flying disc. One stroke is counted each time a disc is thrown and when the disc comes to rest in the basket, the hole is completed. The player with the lowest score wins.
“The course is long, but designed for beginners which allows everyone to play,” said Buckley.
Burchfield Park offers disc rental for $1, with a $10 deposit that will be returned when the discs are. The rental includes a bag of four discs: a driver, two mid-range discs and a putter.
Ingham County Park Manager Jeff Gehl said that since the course is still new park workers are constantly trying to learn the game and improve the course.
“We are still tweaking the new course,” said Gehl.
Another edition to the park is a 600-foot boardwalk that people of all ages can fish from.
The park waters are stocked with 11- to 13-inch trout, which gives people a better chance of hooking a fish.
It does not cost any money to play the course or to fish on the boardwalk; it just costs money to enter the park.
For an Ingham County residents pay $3 a day to enter the park and non residents pay $5. In summer, the park opens at 8 a.m. and the parks close a half hour after sunset.
Due to the positive feedback and success of the first disc golf course, Ingham County Parks have started constructing another course located at Burchfield Park.
“The new course will be different. There will be more elevation and it will be more in the woods. It will be a more technical course,” said Gehl.
Bennett said this winter was very slow and the parks lost potential for revenue, but in the slow winter months, park staffers were able to work on the new course, which has put them a little ahead of where they planned to be at this time.
“We took advantage of the weather and accomplished other things,” said Buckley.
For the park to finish the new course it will need to raise more money through donations or sponsorships to purchase baskets and to cover other costs.
Bennett said that if people would like to be a sponsor or make a donation they can contact the parks.
In summer, the park also offers canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, hiking, biking, playgrounds and outdoor sports.
Parks Office Phone – 517676-2233
Parks E-Mail – firstname.lastname@example.org