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Disc Golf Makes its Debut on UA Little Rock Campus

UA Little Rock students enjoy a game of disc golf on the university's new course. Photos by Ben Krain.
UA Little Rock students enjoy a game of disc golf on the university's new course. Photos by Ben Krain.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has added a disc golf course in the center of campus to provide a new recreational experience for the university community and members of the public.

The 1,880-foot par-3 course features nine holes over an expanse of grass, trees, and water features and is located between the Fine Arts Building and the Student Services Center on the UA Little Rock campus.

Students and employees participating in the sport can bring their own equipment or check it out with their campus identification card at the Donaghey Student Center Fitness Center. The course is open to the public and free to use except during special events.

People from all over the university have come together to enjoy the course. Dr. Lawrence Whitman, dean of Donaghey College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has already tried out the course with several colleagues and has only good things to say.

“It is great when people from different parts of the university come together to add value to our campus,” Whitman said. “The quick design and implementation of the course demonstrates the good things we can do as we work together. When I play the course with my colleagues, it is a fun, team-building activity that builds community. Many times when I am playing, I see others playing from outside the campus community who are not familiar with campus. Disc golf gets people on our campus to see its beauty and the friendliness of the faculty and staff. It is a great community relations tool.”

For those unfamiliar with the game, disc golf is similar to golf, except a flying disc is used instead of a golf ball. One stroke is counted each time the disc is thrown. The goal is to acquire the lowest score at the end of the game.

“Disc golf is one of the fastest-growing sports,” said Tom Coffin, a visualization and operations manager at the Emerging Analytics Center who designed the campus’ disc golf course. “There are many disc golf courses in the Little Rock area that bring joy to the community and now UA Little Rock is home to a great course as well.”

UA Little Rock students enjoy a game of disc golf on the university's new course. Photos by Ben Krain.
UA Little Rock students enjoy a game of disc golf on the university’s new course. Photos by Ben Krain.

When outdoor recreation boomed during the pandemic, an opportunity presented itself for a new disc golf course to be designed on campus that provided leisurely play for students, faculty, staff, and members of the public.

“A group was formed to discuss areas and designs on how an on-campus course could be utilized and could be installed anywhere by using the surrounding natural resources,” said Grant Watts, coordinator of intramural sports. “We wanted an area that was centrally located, wouldn’t disrupt high traffic areas, and blended in with the campus scenery.”

The design concept that was the best fit for the area called for a minimum of three baskets and nine tee pads to make a nine-hole course. There is hope that the course will help jumpstart the process of making disc golf a competitive sport on campus, which would be, among other things, a great way for students to get more involved.

“I hope that this course will represent Phase 1 of the multi-part project,” said Jennifer Haygood, administrative analyst for facilities management. “Until the idea was mentioned by Provost Ann Bain, I don’t think any of us realized just how many disc golfers work or attend classes here at UA Little Rock, and I hope the course will help build interdepartmental and interpersonal relationships through which we might discover more ways to creatively serve our shared community. At the end of the day, disc golf just makes sense for UA Little Rock. It’s kismet.”