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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Echo
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Smith plans, designs first-ever Taylor disc golf course

Frank Smith makes dream a reality

After much back and forth with administration, senior Frank Smith was finally able to act on his dream of creating a disc golf course on Taylor University’s campus this year.

“Taylor wasn’t sure they wanted one,” Smith said. “I wrote a six or seven-page proposal to them.”

Disc golf is a relatively new sport, but it has exploded in popularity in recent years.

“Once COVID hit, I played a lot of disc golf, because there wasn’t much else to do,” senior Seth Griswold said.

Once things opened again, people began to look for events and activities they could enjoy socially — disc golf was one of them.

“I love what it does for the community,” Smith said.

When designing the course, Smith envisioned one that would continually challenge individuals.

According to UDisc (an app designed to track disc golf scores and rate courses), Taylor’s course has been played hundreds of times and has a rating of 4.4 out of a possible 5. Smith constructed the course over the span of a day.

“The easiest thing to do was set the course up,” Smith said.

The scoring is based on course aesthetics, amenities (such as trash bins) and difficulty.

“I made it difficult intentionally so that people couldn’t get a perfect score and would want to keep coming out again and again to improve,” Smith said.

The definition of “difficult” may change for novices compared to someone like Smith; however, other disc golf players have enjoyed the course.

“It’s a good course for me to be challenged, but it’s not too hard that a beginner couldn’t do it,” Griswold said.

I wanted it to be available to the public, but I didn’t want people just coming out and trashing the course,” Smith said.

One advantage Taylor’s course has is that it is built into the campus which allows for easy access to waste receptacles.

Disc golf has brought people on campus together but has also been a way for students to unwind by themselves.

For Griswold, even when he’s not playing with others, he doesn’t feel alone on the course.

“When I play by myself, I’m just spending time with the Lord, honestly,” Griswold said.

With an on-campus course easily accessible to students, Taylor has been able to create its first-ever disc golf club team.

Although this is the first year Taylor has officially competed in disc golf, the club team already has a bid to nationals and is seeking to move up in the rankings.

The greatest struggle for the club thus far has been funding.

Taylor covered the initial costs of setting up the course, along with donors who sponsored individual holes, but funds for further improvements will have to be raised by the team itself.

The disc golf club team is planning on holding fundraising events to gather financial support to cover travel and tournament fee expenses.

“I’m hoping that the community of Taylor (both alum and students) would help support my personal dream, as well as my team’s hard work, as we pursue a really cool opportunity to both play with and minister to different schools across the nation,” Smith said.