BELDING, Mich. – Friends Cody Moore and Keven Krieger played disc golf in rural Lightning Bend Park in Belding many times in the past. They always talked of starting their own disc golf course, but it never went further that what they thought was just a “pipe dream.”
On June 9, 2012, Cody passed away and left the dream of designing and building a disc golf course far from a reality. That is, until Keven started a fundraising campaign in the fall of 2012 to raise money. Once they secured approval from the city of Belding, the course would be built in historic Lightning Bend Park. Donations began rolling in to the tune of about $5,000.
Lightning Bend Park is a site of more than 100 acres of undeveloped land owned by the city. They were all too happy to see someone come in and make the rural, pristine wooded area a bit more useful for people to use and play on. In fact, the park had already been used for things like cross-country track meets and dog sled training in the winter.
In April of 2013 about 20 to 30 volunteers got to work. They began clearing brush, cutting down smaller trees, and making way for a nine-hole disc golf course…literally in the middle of the woods. I’ve walked the trails, I’ve seen the course! It certainly brings you as close as possible to Mother Nature and you can’t help but have a peaceful easy feeling just walking through and taking a leisurely stroll.
If you’re not familiar with it, disc golf is similar to regular golf. There are usually either nine or 18 holes, and participants through a disc (similar to a frisbee) several yards away as they aim for a large metal basket. Each stroke is counted until the disc lands in the basket. It’s becoming an increasingly popular sport and tournaments are help all over the United States.
Only one of the disc golf baskets have been installed on the first hole, but the other eight are on the way and will be installed by late June. The course will be free and open for all to enjoy. You’ll, no doubt, find some pretty challenging baskets as you launch the disc. There are plenty of tree hazards, even a big pond sitting deep within the woods off hole number six.
Keven and the volunteers have started a group overseeing everything called the Smash Park Committee. Click here for their Facebook page. You can click here to get more information on Belding City Parks. And for those that would like to donate to help fund the next nine disc golf holes the group wants to build (for an 18-hole course) you can stop by the Belding City Offices.