After three years of work and planning, the Belle Isle Disc Golf Course officially opens for daily play on Saturday, July 12 bringing the first 18-hole disc golf course to the city of Detroit.
Operated by Detroit Disc Golf LLC, the course features winding holes through the island's iconic willow trees, bringing new life to the neglected, overgrown and nearly decade-vacant ball golf course.
"Daily play is a huge step toward our ultimate goal of turning course into a tournament-level course that is capable of hosting the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) world championships," said Andrew Frazier, volunteer with Detroit Disc Golf and owner of Up In The Air Disc Golf. "We've hosted some of the largest non-PDGA-sanctioned events in the state. Disc golfers in Detroit now have a home course, and we want to bring them the tournaments they deserve in a unique setting."
After working with city and state officials, volunteers secured a use permit through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, proving a demand for the course by hosting multiple events year-round with more than 1,000 disc golfers participating annually. Through the appointment of an emergency manager, a transfer of park control to the state and the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, the small group made up mostly of volunteers maintained the property and pushed toward daily use of the city's first 18 hole disc golf course.
"This is another huge step for Belle Isle as well, bringing more recreation opportunities and restoring an amazing piece of land for everyone's benefit," added Frazier.
Disc golf has ballooned in popularity in recent years across all age demographics, with courses popping up in major cities nationwide.
On weekends, Up In The Air Disc Golf of Waterford will operate a remote shop, selling disc golf equipment and apparel as well as light snacks and beverages. The course will be free to play for the first day, with donations accepted to help maintain and improve the grounds. Costs have not been set, although DDG says that it will be less than $5 for one day of play.
The course on Meadow Road across from the Detroit Yacht Club, will be open seven days a week July 12-Oct. 31. Course hours of operation are:
Monday thru Friday: noon-8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.