For many years the Kensington Toboggan course, home of the annual DGLO (Discraft Great Lakes Open) DGPT event and the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championships, have been known for utilizing rubber pads. Those rubber pads will be no more, as Discraft, in conjunction with Kensington Metropark, is happy to announce that 27 new concrete pads have been poured to replace the rubber pads currently at the course. The course will continue to be a temporary course that is open during late spring extending through DGLO. Discraft employees Mike Wagner and Bob Julio worked with DGLO TD Nate Heinold and USADGC TD John Minicuci to get things worked out this last winter to lay out the location for the new pads. The pads were recently finished on 4/22/2021. “When I took over as the TD of DGLO I really had two goals in mind: work with Discraft to make a few small tweaks to the course and upgrade the pads from rubber to cement. I am very grateful that Discraft was on board with this vision,” said Heinold. Discraft paid the bill for the pads while the Park was gracious enough to allow permanent pads to be poured on the property. The work began this last winter when Heinold began conversations with the park. “I submitted a pretty in depth proposal about the economic benefits of disc golf, which they were already aware of, and was very happy with how quickly they approved our plan,” finished Heinold.
At the same time, Julio and Heinold had visions for making some changes to the course. “I met with Bob and Mike last fall and gave them a pretty large vision for some changes. They were pretty shocked that it included less OB (laughing), but that was my goal. The Toboggan course is one of the most beautiful pieces of land on tour, and in my opinion it doesn’t need a bunch of artificial OB. We walked through the course several times and the three of us came up with a great plan,” said Heinold. Discraft founder and owner Jim Kenner was approached and signed off of on the plan, and according to Heinold the park literally started on the work a few days after everything was approved. “I remember Bob and I went out to the course to start marking things and they had their tractor and were already working away. We came back after lunch and they had already finished half of our fairway.” Several changes will be implemented for the course in 2021:
- Hole 5 will be eliminated; instead, after hole 4, players will stay at the top of the hill and walk into the woods and play a 450’ downhill, wooded par 3. After that players will walk approximately 100’ and will play back uphill towards the old basket for hole 5. This hole will be an uphill par 4 through the woods that will traverse over a gulley.
This is the view from the landing area of hole 5 looking back up to the tee, about 80' short of the pin.
- The old hole 6 will now become the new hole 7, and so on.
- Hole 11 (old hole 10) will have a new tee that is about 20’ to the left of the old tee.
- Old hole 14 will be eliminated, and old holes 14 and 15 are being combined into an 850’ par 4 for MPO, while the FPO division will play from the short tee for the old hole 15.
- A new tee was installed on hole 16 that will more directly line the basket up with the fairway.
- For MPO only, a new tee on hole 17 has been installed about 120’ behind the current tee.
This is the view from the new MPO tee on hole 17.
- For the DGLO layout, OB will not be utilized on the combined 14/15 (now hole 15), and there will not be OB on hole 8 (old hole 7). OB stakes will be utilized on holes 1, 3, 17 and 18.
“We couldn’t be more excited about these changes and to debut the new layout. Eliminating two of the weaker holes (holes 5 and 14) was incredibly important in our work, as was the idea of making sure that any new holes we created were much better than what we were getting rid of. We believe we have accomplished this,” said Heinold. The Park expects to meet with Julio and Heinold soon to formalize the final steps of the work so the course can open for play later in May. The 2021 Discraft Great Lakes Open, the 39th edition of this event, will take place July 23rd through the 25th at Kensington Metropark and Hudson Mills Metropark and is being run with the assistance from the MDGO (Michigan Disc Golf Organization).