Iola Council throws support behind disc golf course plan

Iola City Council members gave their approval to a local group's effort to build a disc golf course at Meadowbrook Golf Course. The CITF/PRIDE Committee is pursuing grant funding to pay for the six-hole course, geared for children and newcomers to the sport.

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Local News

March 28, 2023 - 3:10 PM

Iolans John Higginbotham, left, and Donna Houser speak Monday to Iola City Council members about building a disc golf course for beginners in Iola. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

A group of Iolans is hoping to further tap into the growing popularity of disc golf, and they now have the city’s blessing to do so.

Iola City Council members approved the Community Involvement Task Force/PRIDE Committee’s request to pursue grant funding to install a beginners course at Meadowbrook Park along North Cottonwood Street.

The six-hole course would be considerably easier than the existing 13-hole course at South Elm Creek Park, which features a number of difficult obstacles, including one hole requiring participants to throw their discs over Elm Creek.

The aim is to continue introducing disc golf to youngsters, or even adults unfamiliar with the sport, CITF/PRIDE representatives Chelsey Beasley and Donna Houser and disc golf enthuisast John Higginbotham explained.

“It is popular, and it is cheap, particularly here, where people can play for free,” Houser said.

Higginbotham is among a group of enthusiasts who gather at the South Elm Creek course each Sunday evening for a makeshift league.

On hand at Monday’s Iola City Council meeting for Mayor Steve French’s declaration that April be declared Child Abuse Prevention Month are, from left, Council members Kim Peterson, Joelle Shallah and Josiah D’Albini, French, Marie Jordan of the Court Appointed Special Advocates program of the 31st Judicial District, Donita Garner of Hope Unlimited, and Council members Mark Peters, Nich Lohman, Carl Slaugh and Nickolas Kinder. Photo by Richard Luken

The plan is to better organize the league, Higginbotham explained, as more players learn about the sport.

The Council’s approval was necessary for CITF/PRIDE to pursue a grant from Kansas PRIDE, Beasley said.

The disc golf course would be near the playground area — “prime real estate,” Houser said.

The plans go along with CITF-PRIDE’s ongoing efforts to seek funding for a splash park at Meadowbrook Park, south of Buchanan Street.

At 13 holes, the Elm Creek Park is just large enough to host some tournaments, but not large enough for the best ones, Higginbotham explained, which usually require 18-hole courses.

However, expanding that course is next to impossible because of available space. While the city has sufficient land, the land near the course is not contiguous, with private owners interspersed.

“Eighteen holes would be great,” Houser said, suggesting the city look at creating a third course at the old Cedarbrook Golf Course site.

Having multiple courses isn’t exactly an anomaly. Emporia, for example, has 13 different courses, and was tapped to host a world championship tournament recently, Higginbotham said.

Higginbotham noted courses can be developed easily, and have poles and cages that are easily detachable and removed if necessary.

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