Student Senate and Division of Student Life to fund disc golf course

Outdoor course will allow safe recreational play this fall

Isabella Gentile and Megan Julian

RWU students can expect a new outdoor activity course in the near future, after the Student Senate passed a bill Monday night to fund money toward a disc golf course.

The group said it will allocate up to 50% of the cost for a nine or 12 hole [goal] disc golf course but not exceeding $5,000. Remaining funds needed will be covered by the Division of Student Life.

Though the exact number of holes has not been finalized yet, the university’s goal is to have the course set up by the end of the month so students can play in October. RWU’s Facilities Department will conduct the installation, so the only expenses will be for goals, tee markers and signs. Seymour estimated these costs would range between $7,500 to $10,000 by the time everything is completed.

Director of Capital Projects and Planning William Seymour initially designed an 18 hole course, but some of the student senators felt that number might be too high. There were concerns about tensions over the GHH lawn, where a few of the holes would expand to if there were 18 of them. Many students study and do homework on that lawn, so this could cause a potential for frustration and clutter.

“We don’t think the extra nine holes will be quite necessary if it comes at the cost of taking away some aspects of student enjoyment on campus,” said Student Senate Treasurer Jake Hartzler in Monday’s meeting.

At the Senate meeting, Gallagher said he was not there to advocate for a certain number of holes on the course, but simply to advocate for disc golf in general, as he has been passionate about having a course here for a long time. Seymour said planning for the course has been in the works for a while but COVID-19 helped move the project along.

“I think it is fair to say part of our incentive to create this recreational opportunity is with the understanding of COVID limitation,” Seymour said. “Students aren’t as free to socialize and gather in large groups so we were trying to think of ways to get them out of residences halls, get some fresh air outside and to get exercise.”

As for the location of the course, Seymour said a redesign has been issued, so the course will now run along the grass athletic fields on the north side of campus and the shell path. The idea has always been to include the waterfront as a focal area. Gallagher thinks the waterfront is underutilized, which is why he wants to encourage more use and have the court use the waterfront extensively.

“I think given the nature of topography, the open space and the dedication for those areas for recreation, [it] was a logical choice,” Seymour said.

According to Seymour, the university had brief, informal discussions with the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and the town of Bristol in order to make sure the course had no harsh environmental impacts.

“The environmental impacts of the goals themselves are minimal but it is still a step we have to take before we install the goals,” Seymour said. “The town has signed off on the project and the next step is to file with CRMC while goals will be sent here to campus. Once that goes through, we can finally get the course to be up and running.”

Though Seymour is currently unsure exactly where the course will begin, he does know what will be at the start of the course.

“At the first hole, there will be an information kiosk that will have course maps, score cards, pencils and signage about rules of the course.” Seymour said.

The game of disc golf is similar to regular golf. Each hole will have a designated par, which is the number of attempts it is supposed to take the player to get the frisbee into the goal.

As for levels of difficulty on the course, Seymour said all the holes have different characteristics. Some of the goals are as short as 275 feet long and others are as long as almost 700 feet.

The course will have a number of par 3’s, par 4’s and par 5’’s. Par 5’s are the holes that can be between 650-700 feet long.

Ultimate Frisbee Coach Matt Stein said the team was given the opportunity to scope out the setup for the tentative course. Stein and some of the team captains went to basically play out the course recently. Team members were really enthusiastic about the new addition to campus.

“We showed up on a Thursday night and brought wooden stakes and went around based on the map which basically marked the course,” Stein said. “We are all for frisbees on campus.”

“It was really fun and cool to be part of the creation of the course,” said Joseph Gioffer, junior captain on the ultimate frisbee team. “We are really excited for it.”

Even though the ultimate frisbee team is looking forward to having the course, it is for recreational use for all students to go and play as they please.

“This is something we want the entire campus community to enjoy,” Gallagher said.