A look at local disc golf courses

Photo by Austin Gerth, Union-Times
A basket at Reibe Park disc golf course in Princeton.

MILLE LACS COUNTY – Want to toss a disc around but not sure where to go? There are several options for local disc golf aficionados.
Three disc golf courses are easily accessible in or near this corner of Mille Lacs County: Reibe Park in Princeton, Rum’s Edge disc golf course in Milaca’s Recreation Park and a course in Springvale County Park along Highway 95.
Princeton’s Reibe Park course was designed by the team of Scott Suhsen and Dave Patten, both serving on the Princeton Area Visionary Committee at the time of the course’s creation. Both Rum’s Edge and the Springvale course were designed by Tim Mackey, a former world champion disc golfer.
Suhsen and Patten used criteria they found online from the United States Disc Golf Association to guide them in designing the Reibe Park course in Princeton. They used satellite imaging to map the course out.
The property on which Princeton’s course is laid out is large enough that Suhsen eventually hopes to add nine more holes, making for a full 18.
Mackey said there is ambition to expand the Springvale County Park course to 18 holes eventually as well. It is currently 12 holes. The Milaca course is a nine-hole course with dual tees so that people can play 18 holes by making two circuits of the course.
Mackey has by his own admission designed most of the disc golf courses in Central Minnesota.
“It’s kind of my second job,” Mackey said.
In addition to being cheaper than a trip to a conventional golf course, a visit to a disc golf course provides a unique challenge to the player because disc golf courses use the land they occupy differently.
“It’s not like ball golf,” Mackey said, where terrain must often be drastically altered to be suitable for the sport. Instead, disc golf courses make use of what’s already there. “You try to use the existing topography and hazards,” Mackey said.
Both Milaca and Princeton’s courses make use the Rum River as a major hazard.
“Hole No. 4 over the Rum River is probably one of the best holes I’ve designed in a long time,” Mackey said.
Princeton’s Reibe Park course is built on repurposed flood plain from the river. Its water hazards can be pretty deep when it’s been raining.
“Ours is kind of a short course, but anybody who plays regularly will tell you that ours is a more challenging course,” Suhsen said.
In addition to the water hazards, the course also has only one straight fairway and a tall grass hazard. Suhsen noted that discs that float could be a good investment for players of the Reibe Park course.
Many of the first courses Mackey designed came about by cold calling communities to see if they would be open to the idea of a course; now he often receives referrals from the Disc Golf Association.
“Some of these smaller communities really embrace it as another amenity,” he said.
The Reibe Park disc golf course is located at 203 Fourth St. Circle in Princeton. The Rum’s Edge disc golf course is located in Recreation Park at 110 Second St. NW in Milaca. The Springvale disc golf course is located in Springvale County Park at 3361 Highway 95 near Cambridge.