Disc Golf Course Design Consultation by John Houck
Public or Private Community, Recreational, Tournament & World-Class Designs
The type of course you need depends on the clientele you’re looking to serve, as well as the size and features of your land.
1. Recreational. These HouckDesign courses are designed for beginners or for players who appreciate easy, casual play. These are analogous to executive par three golf courses, and they can still get substantial usage and generate revenue for the local community or resort.
Recreational courses do not require much time to develop or create. The cost of development is determined by the topography, land features, tree coverage, water features, and the preferences of our client. If you have 5-15 acres, this level of design may be best. This type of course, comparable to a par 3 golf course, will not qualify as a championship or tournament level course, but if it’s a public course, it will serve new and recreational-minded players locally. At a resort, this type of course adds an extra offering to your existing amenities, and new clients and will yield benefits from disc rentals, disc sales, disc golf merchandise sales, greens fees, food and drink sales, lodging sales, and other miscellaneous sales. Recreational courses are typically geared toward local players and have a par of 54 to 56.
Marble Falls, TX
2. Tournament Courses. These HouckDesign courses are designed with a goal of hosting PDGA tournaments or private tournaments, as well as accommodating beginner players up through advanced players who might want to compete in a tournament. These courses will typically have two sets of tees and work best on properties that have some topographical changes and at least moderate tree coverage (or the ability to plant some trees); a water feature like a creek or pond is an asset but is not essential. This type of HouckDesign course ideally requires 18-25 acres of land and would draw in regional tourism and some national tourism, as it has potential to host standard to mid-level tournaments. The better the quality of the land features, the more creative John Houck can be with in tailoring the design to the unique features of your property. Again, your ability to do some tree planting and/or minor landscaping work will only enhance the playing experience and draw greater numbers of players. This level of design offers greater lodging potential than a community course and has greater revenue potential across the board, in part due to tournament play and from the increased tourism that comes with the HouckDesign name.
Tournament Courses add the ability to draw out-of-town players for competitive events, and they’ll attract non-competitive players who are willing to travel a few hours to play superior courses. Tournament courses will typically have a par as high as 62.
Rock Ridge Park Disc Golf Course, Pittsboro, NC
3. Championship Courses. These courses are designed for all grades of players, from beginners through advanced and professional players. Championship courses (par 62 and higher) will draw local players, tournament players, and disc golf lovers from around the country, including those who regularly plan disc golf vacations. On the upper end, they can host the highest level tournaments for the PDGA, including Majors and World Championships. This type of course require a minimum of 20 acres of land, and the best typically use more than 30 acres. Clearing fairways generally involves removing underbrush and saplings, and smaller trees are only removed when necessary, keeping larger trees to define key fairway elements. We may also trim trees, and some strategic trees may be planted. We work intimately with what nature has to offer. We offer two levels of Championship courses, so that you can position your course just where you’d like it to be, from regional to national destination. At the top level, John is able to create his unique HouckDesign World Class fairways.
Creekside Selah, Mt. Vernon, TX
4. Signature Courses HouckDesign Signature courses are the elite destinations in the sport. The Signature courses feature full implementation of John’s seven premier principles -- as well as new and innovative features and design concepts -- and they represent the very best the sport has to offer. They will have the greatest economic impact due to tourism. Each fairway is one of a kind, often providing multiple opportunities for a player to approach the shot. These fairways are the most complex in the world, and they inspire players to want to play your course again and again. Several Destination Houck courses report that they have groups of players returning for annual visits from all over the country. John is creating and innovating the sport through this type of design. Signature courses typically require at least 30 acres, significant land features, and the ability to enhance the playing experience (mounds, planted trees, bridges, retaining walls, graded areas, etc.)
Lakeside Selah, Mt. Vernon, TX
UPGRADE YOUR COURSE
We create our courses with future expansions and improvements in mind, so when budgets are an issue, we can upgrade your course in phases. And we can move your existing course up in the disc golf world by improving hole design, increasing the par, adding complexity and strategy to fairways, implementing premier principles, adding complexity and strategy to off-fairway areas, designing features to enhance the playing experience (mounds, planted trees, bridges, retaining walls, graded areas, etc.), and much more. Pricing varies.
Trey Deuce, Mt. Vernon, TX
Even World Class disc golf courses do not require special maintenance. Fairways need some mowing, but not as often -- or to the same extent -- as golf courses. In any case, disc golf does not need expensive grasses as golf does. Native, inexpensive seeds can simply be tossed in some desirable and traveled areas and may not even require watering. Planting extra grass seed or turf is not required and is strictly optional.
Hillcrest Farms, Prince Edward island, Canada
We recommend the addition of benches behind each tee pad and strategically placed trash cans. We can innovate other items, as we learn what local resources are available. This is the beauty of John’s art of design. We work with what is locally available, and we create elements based on the client’s desired results. It takes John many hours, but these courses are masterpieces.
Live Oak City Park, Live Oak, TX
Each of our World Class courses offers an experience that is unique and is so superior that disc golf players will want to come back over and over again to conquer the holes and absorb the beauty in nature. These designs challenge the best players in the world and still offer opportunities for brand new players to learn the sport.
State Forest, Nantucket Island, MA
Creekside, Selah Ranch,
Mt. Vernon, TX
Converting an existing golf course to one or two disc golf courses is also an option for resort owners who are losing money due to the high maintenance of golf courses. Since there is little maintenance cost in disc golf and the economic impact from tourism is greater when it’s a HouckDesign course, we have more requests for conversions. Our conversions may require many additional trees to be planted to create buffer zones between fairways, to restrict for drives and to delineate signature HouckDesign fairways. John’s well-known innovative use of water features – ponds, ales, and creeks -- enhance the experience and test a player’s skills. A HouckDesign conversion considers all the options, so players can enjoy all different type of shots and have an opportunity to test the full range of skills of left- and right-handed players, and demanding the use of a variety of discs.
Tall Firs Disc Golf Course, Monroe, WA
While disc golf is usually played by walking, the #1 Ranked course in the world for 5 years (Selah Ranch, designed by John Houck in 2011) does offer golf cart rentals, and players have responded enthusiastically. This is an unusual arrangement, and while and we are not encouraging golf cart usage, it may be an option for venues looking for additional revenue from golf cart rentals. In situations where golf courses are being converted to disc golf courses, this option can often be offered with little or no extra development.
Lakeside Course, Selah Ranch, #1 in world 2012, 2013, and 2014
John's involvement with any course design brings a guarantee of quality, prestige, and traffic from name recognition, as the HouckDesign name is revered among organized disc golfers.
We work with parks departments, individuals, clubs, hotels and resorts, master-planned community developers, and all levels of course design.
Feel free to contact us for a consultation or a quote for services.
To view a list of John's designs and consultations by state, click here.
For designs and consultations used in World and National Championships, click here.
Selah-Lakeside, Talco, Texas
Creating a World Class disc golf course requires an intimate knowledge of the flight patterns of the latest golf discs, familiarity with the state-of-the-art course design principles, and an understanding of how a course will compare with the other courses in the region. John Houck continues to develop his own design principles that he teaches through our design workshops. He innovates in course design within our design practice with each project, so no one knows better – or can better implement – these principles and innovations.
At HouckDesign, we have created multiple options of design for our clients. Please note that the categories above are strictly for the purpose of discussion. Each piece of land is unique, and every client has unique needs, so the final course may end up being a combination of these categories. We custom design each course based on your property, your goals, and your resources.
HouckDesign now offers superior design for every type of disc golf course, from the simplest Community courses to the most sophisticated Signature courses. What matters most is your vision and your goals for the course; now you can have the HouckDesign name – and HouckDesign quality – on any size or style of course.
And now, as your needs change, we have the ability to UPGRADE your course. When you’re ready, we can increase the par, add strategic options, or implement state-of-the-art course features.
We also offer our clients a turn-key operation where we can design and install your course. We offer baskets, tee signs, and tee pads for your course. You can do the clearing and installation or let us handle it. Please ask us for details if you are interested.
The final costs for each project are determined individually, based on the estimated time John will need, on and off site, for a complete design. The total time will depend on the nature of the property as well as the nature of work. For example, flat, open areas with few trees are never preferred for disc golf and may not require as much design time. But if that’s all the land you have available, and if you’re able to plant trees and build contours, then John will be able to work with those resources to create more interesting holes that will appeal to the players you’re trying to attract.