On Thursday, the Alvin City Council approved a plan to spend $787,530.75 for a lighted disc golf course to be installed in a city owned property adjoining Briscoe Park.
Alvin Parks & Recreation Director Dan Kelinske explained that the 2006 Parks Master plan included a nine-hole disc golf course at Briscoe Park, with $35,000 being allocated in fiscal year 2017 to finally bring the project to fruition.
“That intent was to provide a small nine hole course on an existing parkland where lights were a desire because of the extended use and because it was unique; there was no other course in the area or the state that provides it which had a tourism component to it,” Kelinske said.
To gauge whether the community had an interest in disc golf, temporary courses were set up in three different locations throughout Alvin on June 24, 2017. In addition to determining overall community interest, the goal was to choose which of the three locations was best and most popular for a permanent course. A 12-person focus group was created, half being Alvin citizens and half being people from as far away as San Antonio, Kelinske said. The Briscoe Park location was chosen for its large open area.
The area where the course is to be built consists of 42 acres that lie just west of Briscoe Park, which Mike Shelton, an engineer for project developer Kimley-Horn, describes as “scrub shrub pasture” that is “flat as a pancake” with poor drainage. Adding drainage infrastructure to the project is estimated to cost the city approximately $7,500, with additional work being performed by Conservation & Reclamation District 3.
The lowest bidder for the project is Lucas Construction Company, Inc., at $736,953.75; $442,293.75 of this would be for the lighting. The vast majority of the money to add lighting to the course will come from the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax fund.
Chris Vandagriff, a professional disc golfer who is president of the Bayou City Disc Golf Club and an ambassador for Innova Disc Golf, a manufacturer of disc golf discs and equipment, said Alvin’s lighted course would be unique to the United States. He said there is no other 18-hole disc golf course in the entire country with lighting designed specifically for the course.
“There are three, potentially four, other lighted disc golf courses in the country. Three of those are very small nine holes; they are after thoughts put in on traditional ball golf courses. The other one was by happenstance. It’s in Shreveport, Louisiana. It just so happens that they took some property that was underneath a freeway bridge and it is moderately lighted. People can play on that,” Vandagriff said.
“This course itself is — it’s famous within the disc golf community,” Vandagriff said of Alvin’s planned course.
Vandagriff predicted that within the first year of the course’s completion, Alvin will have 100 professional players at the course every week and two tournaments sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association.
He said the lighting would allow for tournaments to take place at times that are impossible on other courses.
“Within the first week, if this course is lighted, you will have biweekly night tournaments out here,” Vandagriff said.
Vandagriff said that the course will attract people from all over the Houston area who would then discover Alvin’s restaurants and spend money in the community, boosting the local economy.
He gave the example of a course in Cypress where people in the disc golf community know where the best burger is because disc golf has brought them to town.
After discussion, the council voted nearly unanimously to approve the project, with Councilman Joel Castro being the only vote against.