Disc golf comes to Milaca

Mille Lacs County Times

Disc golf fans of Milaca and the surrounding communities will be pleased to hear that plans to make a first-class course near the school and Rec Park are well underway.

The idea for a local disc golf course has been talked about for years, but when Milaca teachers and coaches Dave Dillan and Joe Wildman paired it with physical education, the idea took flight.

“We took the idea to Superintendent [Jerry] Hansen who agreed  that it would be a good addition to the physical education department and agreed to support the project,” Dillan said. “The City of Milaca is also on board and Joe Wildman is donating his stipend he was awarded as Teacher of the Year in Milaca Public Schools to the project.”

Dillan, who also serves on the Milaca City Council, applied for and received a second round of funding from SHIP to help pay for the project. The first grant paid for the city’s walking trails unveiled last spring. The grant and Wildman’s donation jump-started the project.

“Disc golf is great for physical education because it’s  challenging and provides an aerobic benefit,” Wildman said. “I think the students will be very interested and engaged. I’m also excited that the disc golf course will add another element contributing to the health and wellness of our community.”

Once the funding was secured, help from local and regional disc golf players and professionals has made the process possible. John Hillcrest, owner of Picture-Tiles in Milaca is planning to create signs for the tees, through which organizers hope to raise additional funding by having each hole sponsored.

Hillcrest also suggested project organizers should contact central Minnesota PDGA certified course designer Tim Mackey of St. Cloud. They took that advice and Mackey has been lending his expertise during the past several months.

“I’ve been a senior designer for disc golf courses in Minnesota for about 15, 16 years,” Mackey said.

During that time, Mackey has designed dozens of courses, including many of the most popular in the state such as Riverside Park in St. Cloud and Millestream in St. Joseph.

“It seems to be going quit well,” Mackey said of the Milaca course. “I think the collaboration between Dave and Mr. Wildman and the local players was great.”

Those local players include Kurt Hopp and Justin Wilcox.

“Those two guys have been great assets,” Dillan said. “They have spent hours helping with course design and doing cutting and clearing of trees and shrubs.”

Hopp, who grew up in Ogilvie, was interested in bringing the sport to the area.

“I throw in some tournaments in the St. Cloud area, and I heard about this,” Hopp said. “It’s been an unbelievably rewarding experience.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, Jan. 12 print edition of the Times.