Currently, the city of Chicago provides very few options for disc golf within city limits. And with a population of 2.7 million, there are plenty of people – kids, seniors, and everyone in between – who could use an affordable option to get outside and be active.
Recently we connected with two organizations, Disc Golf Chicago and Hyde Park Disc Golf, that are on a mission to change that. With that in mind, the Paul McBeth Foundation is excited to share that we will be working alongside these two groups, as well as Discmania and DiscGolfPark, to pursue a permanent course on the South Side of Chicago.
This will be the fourth PMF project announced since the charity’s launch in March and comes on the heels of courses in Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela. It will be the first PMF project in the United States.
Where previous PMF projects have involved an immediate design/installation, the Chicago course will work on a longer-term schedule due to the work that goes into getting approval for a permanent disc golf course in a major city. Some of that heavy lifting has already been done by Hyde Park Disc Golf Founder Tommy Inglis, who has, along with support from Disc Golf Chicago, worked tirelessly to make considerable progress in working toward a permanent course. Additionally, Tommy recently secured a Diversity and Outreach grant from the PDGA to assist in pushing efforts forward.
“There are tens of thousands of families on the South Side who have no idea this sport exists. We are fired up to be working with the Paul McBeth foundation and Discmania to help change that. We see this first project as creating a blueprint that we can replicate with other communities throughout Chicago,” shared Alex Seminary, founder of Disc Golf Chicago.
The on-the-ground clubs received a boost when they reached out to Illinois course designer Dana Vicich, who also works for Discmania and DiscGolfPark. That connection helped spur the PMF gold level partners’ involvement in propping up this urban disc golf setting.
“Establishing a proper disc golf course in Chicago has always seemed impossible. But now, thanks to the great work from the Hyde Park Disc Golf group, along with the Paul McBeth Foundation, Discmania, and Disc Golf Chicago, the first public course in Chicago seems like it could soon be a reality,” Vicich said. “I love working on any disc golf project, but this one is truly special.”
The next major step in seeking approval is the first Chicago Disc Golf Exposition, a week-long event in August, immediately following the Ledgestone Insurance Open, featuring clinics, disc golf demonstrations, and two disc golf tournaments held on a temporary course that will be set up for the weekend. Paul McBeth will be on hand the Monday after the Ledgestone Insurance Open to help get the event kicked off by participating in several clinics for local youth that will be taught in partnership with UPlay Disc Golf. From there, all parties will continue to work together towards buy-in from the community and city.
“Bringing more disc golf opportunities to people living in major cities has always been a big part of my vision. It’s exciting to think about the endless possibilities that could come from adding a course in a city like Chicago,” shared McBeth.
A permanent course has the potential to open the floodgates for disc golf in Chicago, and we are happy to be partnering with several organizations with the drive to make it happen. Stay tuned for additional updates as the project progresses.