A local student’s senior project could have a long-lasting effect on the Columbus athletics community if his plans to construct a tournament-style disc golf course on the city’s north side are successful.

Nathaniel Reed, a senior at Columbus Signature Academy — New Tech High School, presented his vision for a disc golf course in Noblitt Park last week to the Columbus Parks and Recreation Board.

April Williams, project and resource development director for the Columbus Park Foundation, is serving as Reed’s project mentor. Williams said Reed approached her about creating a disc golf course last August.

Disc golf, also known as Frisbee golf, involves a player throwing a Frisbee disc into a basket that serves as the golf hole.

Reed’s vision would build a 19-hole course in Noblitt Park. The student said he chose Noblitt as the location because that park sees fewer visitors than other parks in Columbus, so it needs more attractions to draw people in.

“Growing up, to me, it’s always kind of been the other park in town,” Reed said. “The addition of a disc golf course to Noblitt Park would not only breathe life back into the park, but would also make it a destination for people in our community and outside the community.”

Additionally, Reed told the board that some of the best disc golf courses are the ones located in wooded areas such as Noblitt.

But the course Reed wants to create in Columbus wouldn’t be just any disc golf course. His goal is construct a high-caliber course that would attract players from around the country.

“It has potential to brings sums of five to six digits (into the economy),” Reed said.

Like many construction projects in Columbus, the disc golf course would be created through a public-private partnership, Reed said.

The city would provide public land for the course, and local businesses and community members will be asked to give monetary donations to fund the project, Reed said.

The total cost is estimated to be around $16,000. The course would easily pay for itself with the increased revenue out-of-town visitors who come for disc golf would bring when they eat or shop in town, Reed said.

“It’s a relatively low investment for a big payoff,” he said.

Bob Carver, who designed the disc golf courses in Franklin, also designed the Noblitt Park course.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Mark Jones said disc golf has been included on the department’s five-year plan, so Reed’s project fits in with the direction Jones would like to see the parks system move in.

Columbus City Council member Elaine Wagner, who serves as the council’s liaison to the Park Board, said she and her husband travel to Bloomington frequently to use that city’s disc golf course, so she is in favor of Reed’s idea to bring a course to Columbus.

Reed presented a timeline that schedules construction of the course to begin in the fall of 2017.

In the meantime, he plans to make more public presentations and begin securing sponsors to help pay for the park.

He said his goal is to create a course that will see continued use, even after he leaves for college.

Project timeline

Reed presented a timeline to the Columbus Park Board for the creation of the disc golf course:

Feb. 11, 2016: Present project idea to Columbus Park Board for discussion

March 2016: Hold public presentations

April 2016: Begin collecting sponsorships

May 2016: Finalize sponsorships

Fall 2017: Begin construction

About disc golf

In disc golf, players throw Frisbees into baskets that serve as the course holes. A course must have at least 13 holes to be considered a full course. Similar to traditional golf, the goal of disc golf is to complete the game with the fewest number of throws. People of all ages can play the game.

Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.