Flagstaff is home to 5 official Disc Golf Courses! There are even a few other object courses, meaning they aren’t courses with baskets, at Old Munds and Lake Mary. So which course is the best for a beginner? Or what can you expect from Snowbowl’s Summer course? Long time Disc Golfer and Peace Surplus Disc Golf Manager, Russ gives us the inside scoop on all 5 courses.
Russ started playing disc golf in the mid 1990s with his son when the only local courses were Old Munds and Lake Mary (both of which were object courses, meaning they didn’t even have baskets!) “We’d play three or four times a week, twice on weekends; we’d play all the time,” Russ said. “My son even built his own course out in Kachina.” When Russ started at Peace Surplus, the store had a disc golf section with less than twenty discs. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, the sport gained popularity and our local disc golf courses were built. Now, Peace Surplus has a sea of discs and plenty of disc golf accessories to accommodate the rapidly growing sport.
Fort Tuthill is a great place to go if you’re a disc golf beginner. There are 18 mostly shaded holes with fairways on the smaller side and debatably easier shots. Compared to the other course, the terrain is flat and feels more like a walk than a hike, making it a family friendly spot. Russ mentioned, “You even pass three different spots where you could hop back to your car for a snack!” and if that doesn’t make for a good course, I don’t know what does.
Thorpe Park was established as the first basket course in Flagstaff in 1990. The park has 27 holes, making it the longest course in Flagstaff. It has a large variety of shots and wanders up and down hilly terrain. Although some holes at the height of the course are in the sun, for the most part it’s a great course for hiding in the shade on a summery day. It’s the closest course to downtown making it a convenient stop. If you’re looking for an adventurous, longer disc golf session, this course is perfect.
The NAU course has 18 holes and was designed by Flagstaff Disc Golf Course members in 2001. Today, it’s a wonderful, sunny course. The course weaves around academic buildings and resident halls, making the holes slightly shorter and more technical. The only downside to the course is that it’s tricky to avoid paying for parking unless you live close by or visit on the weekends when parking is free. Keep in mind that if you go during class times, you’ll have to avoid busy meandering students!
Would Flagstaff be complete without a disc golf course in the mountains? Certainly not. This course was temporarily created in 2003 for the PDGA Pro World Championships and became a permanent course later in 2005. It’s a seasonal course due to the amount of snow the course gets during the winter season. Although, there could be a lot of potential for a multi-sport, ski + disc golf combination (not that we recommend that!). The 18 holes run all over the sloped hills of Snowbowl. You do play a majority of the course through the wooded area below the famous Humphrey’s peak. The course starts and ends at Agassiz Lodge and is free to all visitors. This is a great course if you’re looking to test your skills, have time for a longer drive up the mountain and are up for some solid hiking.
This course was created in 2005 after the work of many dedicated Flagstaff Disc Golf Club members. The 18 hole course sits on 13 acres, a relatively small area for an 18 hole course. It’s the course in town with the most elevation change, so bring lots of water on a sunny day! It’s a half shaded area that often competes with Thorpe park for the most difficult course of the five. Russ mentioned, “The course is almost three courses in one. There’s a simple section, then a much harder section, and the end becomes a little easier.” It’s a course loved for its variety of shots and isn’t one to be missed.
Which Course is the Best?
This highly debated question can’t simply be answered. In an interview with Connor, NAU’s Disc Golf President, he mentioned, “Either Thorpe or NAU is my favorite. Thorpe seems to be the most challenging and heavily wooded course. But NAU also feels challenging in a different way, with more open shots that require fun technique.”
Alex Stone, Flagstaff Disc Golf Club’s VP mentioned, “In the fall, there’s a pop up course at the Nordic Center and it’s my favorite because it’s beautiful that time of year and it’s such a well designed course. Plus, those baskets are sourced from the community, which adds to the fun.”
And when Russ, Peace Surplus’ Disc Golf Expert, was asked which course is the best, he replied, “I don’t rank them. They’re all different and I enjoy the diversity of the different courses.”
So as each disc golfer has their own opinion, it’s time for you to decide! Grab a few discs, or visit Peace Surplus and choose from a large selection of discs, and head towards a new course!
For course map details and directions, visit the Flagstaff Disc Golf Club website!