CRANBERRY TWP — A championship-level disc golf course is coming to North Boundary Park next year as part of the Cranberry Township Community Chest’s 2018 Project of the Year.
The project includes an 18-hole championship disc golf course, a 6-hole ADA accessible learn-to-play disc golf course and a one mile nature trail on an undeveloped hillside on the western part of the park.
“This is one more thing that helps our community and makes it a more desirable place,” said Bruce Mazzoni, CTCC board member.
The project was announced during the CTCC’s Community Days celebration in July. The group is trying to raise $300,000 to complete all of the necessary work, Mazzoni said.
This is the eighth project for the CTCC. The group has raised $2.8 million from resident and business donations to fund the last seven projects. Mazzoni said they are nearly halfway to the goal and hope to reach it by spring.
The community chest is partnering with Pittsburgh Flying Disc, a regional disc golf association dedicated to expanding the sport, to promote and manage the course.
Pittsburgh Flying Disc proposed a disc golf course to the township in the early 1990s when the township was putting together its master plan, although it didn’t gain much traction as the sport was relatively unknown at the time, said J. Gary Dropcho, designer for the North Boundary course and course superintendent with Pittsburgh Flying Disc.
The association hosted the 2015 Professional Disc Golf Association World Championships in the region using Cranberry as its base of operations, Dropcho said, and the idea came back up to have a course in the township.
“After worlds was over, I think Cranberry Township looked at itself and said, ‘why don’t we have a course,’” Dropcho said.
Work has already begun on the 30-acre area with township crews doing some clearing on the proposed course, Dropcho said. They’ve also staked the layout for the course. Engineering firm Herbert Rowland & Grubic was hired in October to survey, design and handle permitting for the project.
More work will be completed in the summer to excavate and put down the trail surface, build the tee and basket areas and put in signage and benches, Mazzoni said. The project is expected to be complete in fall 2018.
The course will be unique for its length at nearly 10,400 feet, Dropcho said. It’s also almost entirely wooded and there are a lot of elevation changes from tee to green, he said.
Some courses, especially those on ball golf courses, are laid out on open fields, and while that’s good for throwing long distances, it can get boring, Dropcho said. The trees in North Boundary will require players to be more skillful with their shots, he said.
Each hole will have three tee locations for beginner, intermediate and elite skill level players to level the playing field. Additionally, each hole will have multiple locations for the baskets so the course can be altered throughout the year.
A nature trail skirts the course and will be accessible from the park and North Boundary Road, Dropcho said.
One goal for the new course in North Boundary Park is to make it a destination for disc golf players across the region and the country, Mazzoni said, possibly by hosting a yearly national tournament.
“I would love to see that,” Mazzoni said. “I think it’d draw a lot of people, attention and put that course on the map … They truly expect it to be a top five course in the world.”
Additionally, the association hopes that the course will grow the sport in the community by attracting people to learn the sport at the 6-hole learn-to-play course that will be ADA accessible. That course will be located on a clear, flat area between the entrance to the park, North Boundary Road and the Penn Power Pavilion.
Pittsburgh Flying Disc will work with the township parks and recreation department to host workshops, clinics and tournaments.
“We see it as growth in the game,” Dropcho said. “We know there’s going to be so many more people that will be exposed to the lifetime sport of disc golf because there’s a course in their neighborhood.”
For more information or to donate to the project, visit ctcchest.org.
Article by: Rachel Wagoner, Butler Eagle