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Ruth @ Trulia's Blog

By Ruth @ Trulia | Mortgage Broker
or Lender in New York, NY

The 3 best places for disc golfers to live and play

With nearly 3,000 courses worldwide, disc golf is a rapidly growing global phenomenon. Considering how many ball golfers choose homes in proximity to courses, it’s only a matter of time before disc golfers start planning their lives in a similar fashion. However, a real disc golf haven is defined by more than just how many courses are within driving distance.  You have to consider course quality and variety, local club activity, tournament frequency, and the vibe of the place itself.

According to Steve West, course designer and analyst, the “center” of all disc golf courses is Longview Park in Rock Island, IL. Click here to check out his experiment.

Allen Risley, PDGA member since 1979, used the Professional Disc Golf Association’s course directory to calculate areas with high “polehole density.” He says that there are some places “where you can have over 250 baskets within a 50-mile radius of where you stand.”

My brother, who has played nearly 900 courses, gave me a list of 26 different cities that qualify as a good place for a disc golfer to live. How am I supposed to narrow that down? I used a combination of my own person opinion, the personal opinions of disc golfers I’ve spoken to or polled online, available data on courses/players per capita, various demographic criteria, etc. This is by no means an official list, nor can these designations be proved with scientific facts. That being said, it should come as no surprise that my hometown gets the #1 spot…

#1: Ann Arbor, MI

If you are going to live in the mitten, Ann Arbor is the place to be whether or not you even disc golf.

Basics

Ann Arbor residency is appealing for all kinds of people; the city often tops “best places to live” lists in the media. The diverse population and artistic/athletic/educated/liberal vibe make an ideal atmosphere for disc golfers. Having grown up here, I am intimately familiar with the area’s thriving disc golf culture. To the west, you have Hudson Mills in Dexter. To the north, you have Blizzard Hills in Pinconning and to the east, you have Rolling Hills, EMU and Waterworks in Ypsilanti. In the actual city of Ann Arbor, you have Bandemer and Mary Beth Doyle (formerly Brown Park). Not to mention my parents’ private course, BRATS. There are about 30 additional courses within easy driving distance. In 2000, both the amateur and professional PDGA championships were held here. The local tournament culture is pretty active with a variety of clubs across southeast Michigan. For weekend trips, you can include the Kalamazoo area (host of the 2008 amateur world championship this past summer) and the beautiful courses up north in Traverse City or Ludington. Michigan is also home to one of the sport’s top disc manufacturers, Discraft. 

Testimonials

Garrett Graham, 32, says he can drive to 45 courses from his Whitmore Lake home and “20 of those are within 30 miles.” Eric Beich, 40, says “Michigan has a lot of courses and very active tournament scene.” Shawn Kelley, 31, reminds us why disc golf is a year round sport: “Disc golfing in 2 feet of snow is fun if you have the right attitude.” David Nelson, 29, says that “if you can endure the harsh winters, this area has some great courses most notably Hudson Mills (48 holes). I've played a bit in Austin, TX, which has some nice courses as well.” Keep reading for more on Austin! Gabriel Dotson, 28, lays it out plain and simple: “Tree Town all day long. Always adding more courses.” The growth here ensures Ann Arbor will be among the top disc golf cities for years to come.

Homes

540 Barton Shore Drive, Ann Arbor MI 48105

Live in Barton Hills (with a view of the pond) for less than $1 million! You really ought to click through to the Surovell site to see pictures that highlight the home’s unique contemporary design.

Just steps away from the Hudson Mills entrance, this eight acre yard is like an extension of the Monster course. And who can resist an in ground pool and wraparound porch?

2601 Waters Road, Ann Arbor MI 48103

I grew up driving by this house on a nearly daily basis and I’ve always been drawn to it. The yard is just so unique; you have to see it for yourself to fully understand. If you lived here, you can bike down to my parents’ private course for 18 holes of disc-losing fun!



#2: Austin, TX

Much like the number one spot on this list, the city itself makes a great foundation for a blossoming disc golf culture. The sheer amount of course options nearby is icing on the cake.

Basics

 Disc golf is big from Dallas/Ft Worth to Houston but Austin is the most revered disc golf town in Texas. Often compared to Ann Arbor (not just in that previous quote), Austin is a favorite due to its culture and diversity. The local clubs are very active and Millenium Golf Discs is headquartered here.

Testimonials

“Austin, Texas would be my vote.” –Jay K. “I know that Austin is the place to DG!” –Rick Perez, 33. Allen Risley (quoted earlier) says there are “quite a few historic courses and you can play pretty much year 'round.” Joshua Washburn says when he was growing up in Austin, there were only three courses. The sport was gaining in popularity when he moved away but now it’s booming. He says, “From a disc golf standpoint I wish I had never left. But I would likely have no wife, kids or career. Right now in Austin I could play a different course each day and that would take over 2 weeks!” It’s a tough choice; family or frolf.

Homes

2102 North Lamar Boulevard #7, Austin TX 78705

Here’s a huge, fancy condo right on the edge of Pease Park. It boasts a terrace with beautiful city views. The Street View on the Trulia details page shows an interesting picture of the park at dusk.

1212 Castle Hill Street #5, Austin TX 78703

If you’re looking for something smaller (AKA more affordable), try a loft in Old West Austin. This one is still within walking distance to Pease but with only one bedroom and one bathroom, it’s on the market for less than $200K. You’d be pretty close to Zilker, too.

1901 Sunny Brook Drive, Austin TX 78723

Bartholomew is another local favorite in Austin. This little Windsor Park ranch is right across the street. Again, check out the Street View on the Trulia details page for a good shot of the park.

#3: Clearwater, FL

I got a lot of great feedback about Florida, both verbally and from posing the question on DiscGolfersR.Us; I picked Clearwater to represent the whole state.

Basics

Home of Ken Climo, perhaps the most well known disc golfer, the weather here is warm all year round. Boomers! If you’re looking to retire in Florida anyway, might as well live near all the disc action.

Testimonials

Take it from Clearwater resident Wendy: “We have 8 local courses. We have some of the most competitive Pros here. Why not live here in this tropical paradise?” Jamie Ruane, 40, brings up a good point about ball golf’s summer off season, saying “fees are generally lower and the courses are less crowded.” Jeremy Rogers says, “Tampa bay area, Clearwater to be more specific. Two great courses 7 minutes away from each other w/ disc shop in between.”

Homes

2501 Brigadoon Drive, Clearwater, FL 33759

The price is right in Clearwater! This under $100K (and this is one of the more expensive pads in the area) townhouse is located near the Alligator Creek section of Cliff Stephens Park. You’re also close to the course at Coachman. Don’t look too deep in the reeds for those OB discs!

This brightly colored home is just down the street from Taylor Lake Park in Largo, FL. Lots of updates, three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and 2,124 square feet.

2304 Messenger Circle, Safety Harbor FL 34695

There are lots of homes for sale near the Gregg Paas Memorial DGC in Safety Harbor, FL. If you’re into the large, tropical homes in safe neighborhoods thing – this could be your dream home. Complete with palm trees!

Ann Arbor, Austin and Clearwater are sure to remain disc golf centric as; their significance is already grounded in years of history. Wisconsin, Minnesota and other Midwest areas are also very hot as are the Tulsa and Bowling Green areas, Colorado, the central Eastern states and both No and So Cal. It was hard to pick the three top areas. In closing, I would like to make one prediction for a future important disc golf city: Augusta, GA.

This city is home to the new International Disc Golf Center which includes hosts courses: the Jim Warner Memorial Course (designed by Jim Kenner, Ron Russell and Pad Timmons), the WR Jackson Memorial Course (designed by John Houck), the Ed Headrick Memorial Course (designed by Chuck Kennedy and Tom Monroe). The IDGC will feature collections from the Ed Headrick Memorial Museum and the Disc Golf Hall of Fame. Site features include a full service pro shop, a vending area, putting practice baskets, meeting rooms, an outdoor classroom and an Innova Skill-shot Course. Technically, this is all in the Augusta suburb of Appling, GA. But with warm weather year round and close proximity to Florida, this growing area has the potential to become a bursting haven for disc golfers in the future.

There are lots of fantastic disc-friendly cities in America. Ed Horst says the best place is “the UNITED STATES!! Unlimited play abounds in all states.” Perhaps the best place to live is “half a block from the first tee,” as suggested by Dave from Los Angeles. Or as Jason from Memphis suggests, “on the course.”

To residents of these places - did you know your city was so popular for disc golf?

To disc golfers - how do you agree/disagree with my assessment? Based on my research, I know that each and every one of you have your own opinion. Also, see if you can use the map features on Trulia to identify more houses on or near disc golf courses that are for sale. If you can find some, post the link here so I can check them out!


Comments

By Terry Calhoun,  Tue Oct 14 2008, 13:49
Now, we'll see!
By Eric,  Tue Oct 14 2008, 16:39
I've been qouted.my life is complete! (Eric B . )
By Brian,  Tue Oct 14 2008, 22:20
Can't believe Ohio was left out of this scenario. Ann arbor is still very close, but the Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus area of Ohio has over 50 courses within 60 miles, modest housing values, and a centralized midwest location to travel to tournaments all over the region.

The Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Chillicothe clubs have a vibrant tournament scene as well.

I like how Wisconsin is saturated with color on the map. They truly are blessed with great courses, awesome people, and a very scenic environment.
By Norbert Kutyn,  Wed Oct 15 2008, 05:40
Been in Florida since 1985.
If you don't mind disc golf all year long (without real cold weather) bring your discs.
Courses all over the state. With more on the way!
By Sheila Calhoun,  Wed Oct 15 2008, 11:23
As much as I love Ann Arbor and disc golf, I can't say I like playing in the winter. In fact, I just don't. Too #$^&% cold for my poor hands!
By A.s.,  Thu Oct 16 2008, 06:39
no kidding... a place gets picked for 1 of the top 3 places to live for DG and you can't even really play there year round?! (this just in... Golf DIgest picks anchorage alaska as one of the top 3 places to live for ball golf! ;) LOL

btw... no nod to Charlotte or anything in the Carolinas?! seems kinda crazy to me. Especially with Charlotte being one of the only places in the country where the housing market is still doing well (since this is a realty type site).

alas... any press is 'good' press i guess
By Ruth @ Trulia,  Thu Oct 16 2008, 08:24
You can play year round in Michigan. Hard core disc devotees aren't afraid of snow.
By Dn,  Thu Oct 16 2008, 19:49
Howdy. Austin, TX is also home to Disc Nation - one of the World's largest disc golf stores. This might sound trivial, but there are not too many places where you can see 500 different models of discs and throw them before you buy them on a driving range. You can also visit Disc Nation at http://www.DiscNation.com.
By Paul,  Mon Dec 8 2008, 06:30
Clearwater is really #1,2 and 3 but we will let you slide this time.
By Jim Daniele,  Wed Nov 3 2010, 08:16
I'm going to agree that Michigan is great for disc golfers but not #1. I'm going with Charlotte, north carolina to be #1. I have met lots of pros who have moved here from MI. We have countless wonderful courses for all throwing styles not to mention more courses in the works. We play all year round and have one of the best Dg followings I ever seen. The only drawback is that alot of courses are in the ghetto. Also we are home to USDGC and our club is the strongest in the nation. So Charlotte in my opinion is the best place to play Dg.
By mydeadcow,  Fri Mar 1 2013, 02:08
Orlando has 4 disc golf courses within minutes of each other with 2 each at Barnett Park and Turkey Lake Park. In addition, there is a disc golf course by Orlando Intl Airport and another great course in the suburb of Debary.

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