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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Jason Stuart photo

Disc golf course improvements strive for professional caliber

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Makoshika State Park’s challenging disc golf course is in the process of receiving a major upgrade as park officials strive to bring the course up to professional competition standards.

“It’s a big project,” said Makoshika manager Chris Dantic.

A crew from the Montana Conservation Corps worked on the course all this week. The MCC crew was primarily working to install new tee boxes covered with all-weather carpeting at each of the course’s holes.

“They’ve been doing really good work,” Dantic said of the MCC crew.

Dantic also noted he has found out in discussions with people in the disc golf industry that having the new tee boxes covered in all-weather carpeting is a pretty new development in disc golf course design and are not all that common.

“So we’re actually kind of ahead of the game,” he said.

Once the new tee boxes are in, the next step will be taking out all the old signage at the course and installing new signs. There will actually be two sets of new signs for the course, one for players from the general public to follow, and one for competitions.

Once the new tee boxes and signage are in, Dantic said Makoshika’s disc golf course will qualify as a “Blue Level” course with the Professional Disc Golf Association, which would allow Makoshika to begin hosting regional PDGA tournaments.

Dantic isn’t looking to stop there, however. He wants to bring Makoshika’s disc golf course up to PDGA “Gold Level” standards, which would qualify it to host major PDGA competitions. Like professional golf, the PDGA holds five major tournaments each year.

To get up to Gold Level, Dantic said it’s his understanding that they will need to replace the metal baskets which make up the “holes” on the course with new ones. That step wouldn’t happen until next spring, but Dantic said the Friends of Makoshika — who donated $5,000 for the current course work — have indicated they may be willing to help with purchasing the new baskets as well. He added he has already made contact with a company in Missoula that sells disc golf equipment about getting new baskets and believes it is something he should be able to get done in 2018.

“I was talking to a rep in Missoula about the baskets and it might be doable,” Dantic said.

The final step will be to put new walking trails in so players can move more easily from hole to hole. After that’s done, Dantic said he is fully confident that Makoshika’s extremely challenging and picturesque disc golf course will become a huge draw for serious disc golfers.

“Once we get some new baskets in and the trail work done, this thing is going to be a destination for disc golf,” he said.

And making Makoshika’s disc golf course a “destination” for professional disc golfers and PDGA tournaments will not only be a positive for the park, but for the entire community as well.

“It’s a positive direction and hopefully we’ll be having some tournaments soon. It’s pretty exciting,” Dantic said. “And it’ll be good for the community too. It’ll bring people in for tournaments and stuff and they’ll spend money in town.”

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com

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