If you build it, they will come.
Actually, in the case of the Lake Dillon Disc Golf Course, they’re already coming — even though there’s not yet one basket in the ground.
“It kind of has that ‘Field of Dreams’ vibe to it,” said Dillon Councilman Louis Skowyra. “We haven’t even built it yet and people are already showing up.”
That minor point, however, will be remedied soon.
On Tuesday, Aug. 5, the Dillon Town Council gave Skowyra its blessing to enter into lease agreements with Denver Water and Summit County to construct an 18-hole disc golf course near the Dillon Cemetery. The approval brings Skowyra that much closer to completing a pet project he’s been working on since his election in 2012.
“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Skowyra said after the meeting. “We’ve been working on this a long time, but it feels like the partnerships we needed with Summit County Open Space (and Trails), Denver Water and Colorado Parks and Wildlife all fell into place out of nowhere.”
Scott O’Brien, Dillon’s public works director, presented the two resolutions to council and outlined the lease terms, both of which are for 10 years with options to be extended in the future.
Dillon needed to enter into both agreements because 11 holes are slated on Summit County land and seven on Denver Water property. The lease with Denver Water stipulates an annual payment of $1. Summit County waived its right to collect an annual fee.
After the two resolutions were passed unanimously, O’Brien recommended the town move on the project as soon as possible.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work at the cemetery and people are already showing up to play disc golf,” O’Brien said. “Everyone wants to know where the disc golf course is, so we better get working on it.”
On Friday, Skowyra and a band of his regular playing partners went out to the course site, which shares its borders with the Dillon Cemetery, U.S. Forest Service land and the Tenderfoot Track Club. The course will be accessed by a small parking lot off of Cemetery Road.
Skowyra said he already had the course mapped by GPS and staked off the locations of tee boxes and baskets. It is his plan to put shovels in the ground in about two weeks and have a temporary layout of the course ready for play before the end of the month.
Although Skowyra and his friends have been throwing discs since last year in an effort to map out a workable layout, the councilman doesn’t want to commit to a final design this fall without giving the public an opportunity to play the course and provide feedback.
“At least for this year, it’s going to be a real temporary setup,” Skowyra said. “We’ll install the baskets and experiment with some temporary tee pads, but we won’t settle on a final design until next spring when we install permanent tee pads and signage.”
The proposed layout itself is a tale of two nines. The front nine is located on Summit County land in an open field dominated by native grasses and sagebrush. The tee for No. 8, which could quickly become the course’s signature hole, is set on a bluff about 100 feet above a fairway.
Holes 10 through 16 meander through Denver Water property. Those holes are shorter and more technical, requiring players to fade or draw their shots around Aspen groves and pockets of evergreens.
Players then transition back onto Summit County land for the final two holes of the round, which ends a short walk away from the parking lot. Skowyra and his friends said any work to the landscape would be minimal and likely limited to the removal of a handful of dead standing trees.
“This course already had a lot of nice corridors to work with,” said Dillon public works employee and Skowyra’s golf buddy Zach Hamilton. “We’re looking to keep it natural.”
And then there are the views, which Skowyra said easily surpass any other disc golf course in the country.
“Needless to say, I’m biased, but I’ve played dozens of courses around the state and probably close to 100 around the country,” he said. “What we have in the Lake Dillon Disc Golf Course is unparalleled in terms of views and course layout.”
Skowyra is quick to credit the success of the project to others, including Dillon town manager Tom Breslin for bringing Denver Water and Summit County officials to the table to finalize the lease, and his friends for assisting him with the layout.
But Dave Roth, a friend of Skowyra’s and a co-worker at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, said his and others’ contributions have been limited to throwing discs and enjoying the outdoors.
“Louis has really taken the reins on this one,” he said. “We’re just friends and disc golf enthusiasts who are happy to contribute whatever we can to help him realize his dream.
“We’re excited to get to work because there is such a need for another course in the county.”
When finished, the Lake Dillon course will bring the total in Summit to three; others are the Peak One Disc Golf Course in Frisco and the nine-hole course at Copper Mountain.
Skowyra has tentatively scheduled volunteer days on the weekend of Aug. 23 to set temporary tees, install baskets and clear downed trees from the course.
For information on the course or the upcoming volunteer days, contact Skowyra by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the temporary layout is in place, comments and suggestions may be submitted to Skowyra by email.
During budget season, Dillon allocated $10,000 for the project. Disc golfers will be able to play the course free of charge.
To fund maintenance and future projects, Skowyra plans to offer hole sponsorships to local businesses for $300 to $400 per season. He hopes to one day add a 9-hole, family-friendly “putter course” to the site. A putter course would be similar to a par 3 course in standard golf.
“Even with the hundreds of courses I’ve played, I’ve never seen a family-friendly disc golf course,” Skowyra said. “I think that could be a major draw in the future.”