This summer the Chronicle has highlighted disc golf courses in St. Cloud and its surrounding cities. The expansion and success of the sport is further provided by disc golf’s popularity in smaller towns to the south and west of St. Cloud. Full size 18-hole courses can be found in a short drive to Clearwater, St. Augusta, and St. Joseph.
Similar to St. Cloud, all of these courses are free to play and open to the public. Unlike many of the courses in larger cities, rural courses are often more wooded, and thus require greater skill. Bug spray is also recommended.
For players looking for a challenge, Clearwater’s Sportsman’s Hill Disc Golf Course provides a must play experience. A variety of wooded shots, often featuring elevation changes, prove quite difficult for a course set to pro par (meaning all holes are par 3).
Another surprise for players coming to Sportsman’s Hill for the first time is the courses use of elevated baskets on a handful of holes. These baskets are not used at any other area courses and make missed putts all the more costly. Water is not present at the course, however inexperienced players do risk losing discs that are thrown off the fairways into thick brush.
Residing near the RV Park and area baseball fields, Sportsman’s Hill also has indoor bathrooms located just past the dirt parking lot.
In 2009, St. Augusta became the site of a new course, appropriately named Hidden Lake Disc Golf Course. Among the newest and most scenic in the tri-county area, it is also widely considered the most difficult course by area players.
Accuracy is key at Hidden Lake as the fairways are tight and the foliage extremely thick in most places. While difficult for inexperienced players throughout, the back nine holes require a strong arm and long drives. During the second half, water obstacles are frequently in place, with players even throwing across the width of the lake on one shot.
In late June each year, Hidden Lake plays host to the 10K Lakes Open presented by Innova Discs, one of the biggest area tournaments.
Courtesy of the local Lions Club, Millstream Park in St. Joseph also has a 18-hole disc golf course that was established nearly 20 years ago. This summer, renovations to the park made some holes unplayable or required tees be moved to temporary locations.
Unlike Sportsman’s Hill or Hidden Lake, Millstream is not entirely wooded. The course gets progressively harder, starting with open shots and moving to wooded shots before adding water obstacles on many of the final few holes.
Millstream also features an indoor bathroom and picnic area with a shelter. All is open to the public and located not far from downtown St. Joseph and multiple area businesses.
The only nine hole course in the area is near Saint John’s University’s campus and begins near the school’s sledding hill. Saint John’s Abbey Run Disc Golf Course was created for both students and the general public to play.
It is clear very little renovation was done to the area, as the university hopes to maintain its natural habitat. Foliage is extremely thick for this reason, particularly during the summer.
Sportsman’s Hill Disc Golf Course
20871 County Highway 75
Clearwater, MN 55320
Hidden Lake Disc Golf Course
23215 43rd Avenue
St. Augusta, MN 56301
Millstream Park Disc Golf Course
Highway 75 and Route 3
St. Joseph, MN 56374
Saint John’s Abbey Run Disc Golf Course
37 South College Avenue
Collegeville Township, MN 56374