The sport of disc golf has exploded since the start of the pandemic, with new courses popping up across the country. This summer, the city of Goshen jumped on the bandwagon.Mullet Park, a short walk through the woods from the better-known Shanklin Park, became the first disc golf course in the city of Goshen in July when a full nine-hole course was installed.
A local father and son-in-law combo are responsible for bringing the game to Goshen. Stuart Meade and his son-in-law Kevin Hinkle, got into the game three years ago. After visiting courses around Northern Indiana, the pair decided it was time to bring the game to their own community.
“Some people might not have big, beautiful backyards, or backyards at all,” Meade said. So creating spaces where people can get outside and enjoy themselves is really important to him.
Meade and Hinkle came across Mullet park and thought it could be the perfect place for a course. It was “a nice little park,” Meade said, “but… very underutilized.”
Meade and Hinkle approached the parks department and pitched their idea. They also talked to local businesses to try to gain sponsorships for their plan, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“We had local businesses willing to donate money to help fund the installation of the course when all we were asking for was their support,” Meade said.
But when the pandemic hit, many local businesses were forced to shut down, which meant they could no longer afford to contribute to the project.
Meade was forced to approach the parks and recreation board and explain the situation. After seeing the level of community engagement in the project, the board said it would be willing to pay for the rest of the installation.
The park is now open and free for anyone to use. The only cost to players is the one-time investment for purchasing discs.
The rules of the game are similar to that of traditional golf. Players start from a tee box and begin by taking a first stroke–or throw–towards the basket at the end of that hole. The goal is to get the frisbee into the basket in the fewest possible throws. The player at the end with the lowest throw count is considered the winner.
Tanner Pinks, a junior primary education major at Goshen College, is passionate about disc golfing and has played at the new course. “Disc golf is really special because anyone can play it,” Pinks said, “and having this place so close by allows people to connect through the sport.”
Meade is happy with the turnout he’s seen. “I have seen a group of guys pushing their 80s playing the course,” he said, “and then a group of 10 years olds playing right behind them.”