Cordova’s first disc golf course ready for use

Nine-hole course offers hiking, competition, and views

Nathan Wesley, left, Micah Renfeldt, center, and Collin Bronson, right, stand behind a newly installed basket which is part of the new disc golf course in Cordova on Saturday, June 16, 2018. Other installation volunteers included Anne Schaefer, Dan Clark, and Melina Meyer. (Photo courtesy of Micah Renfeldt/for The Cordova Times)

A new disc golf course, six years in the making, was installed in just five hours on June 16 with help from the U.S. Coast Guard and local volunteers.

The course, located at the top of the Reservoir Trail, about one quarter mile up, consists of nine holes and is roughly three quarters of a mile from start to finish.

“The idea started when we moved to town. I’d played for years in Colorado and other places,” said Micah Renfeldt, maintenance supervisor for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “I started a Facebook group to judge interest here. We had lots of support from folks who had played before elsewhere. What we lacked was funding.”

Disc golf is a game in which players must throw a plastic disc into each of a series of metal baskets on an outdoor course, with a goal of completing the course using the fewest possible throws.

The Cordova Disc Golf Course inaugural tournament, which will be a Pro-Am doubles competition, starts at 4 p.m. up at Meals Reservoir, as part of the community’s Fourth of July festivities.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Collin Bronson, an avid disc golf player, is also a Cordova Chamber of Commerce board member. He mentioned to the chamber’s executive director, Cathy Renfeldt that he wanted to build a course here, she said.

“For me, just building the project was just very satisfying,” Bronson said. “Putting something together for others to use, it feels really good.”

They sought city land use approval from the Parks and Recreation Commission and the city’s public works and planning departments.

Bronson purchased baskets while in port in Seattle this past winter to avoid shipping charges, while Micah Renfeldt designed the course last fall at the reservoir. He played the course a number of times to work out the kinks and gain feedback about hole locations from Jared Niles, another avid player and former pro, and Nathan Wesley.

“This project was done as a volunteer effort by the Coast Guard and the Cordova Disc Golf Club, which is very unofficial and consisted of me, until last week,” Micah Renfeldt said.

Vehicles for the installation were loaned by Bronson, the Coast Guard and the Parks and Recreation Department while the U.S. Forest Service loaned tools for course construction. The baskets will be stored with the Parks and Recreation Department during the off season.

“It’s good community involvement to establish it,” Bronson said. “It shows that people are interested in making this a better place.”

Improved maps for the course will be made in the future, but for now, the course map can be accessed on the Cordovans for Disc Golf Facebook page, Micah Renfeldt said. He is also considering approaching local businesses to see if they would carry discs for those who don’t have any.

“My hope is that everyone, especially the younger crowd, enjoys the sport,” he said. “It can be easy to find a reason not to go outside. I want to make the choice to go outside easier.”

To access the course, park at the water treatment plant, 1.5 mile Whitshed Road, with overflow parking 300 yards down the road at the multi-use park/baseball field, he said. The course begins at the top of Reservoir Trail, in the meadows to the left of the Meals Reservoir sign.

“Even if you’re not very social, you don’t have to compete with other players. You can aim to improve your own game, it is a very inclusive sport,” Micah Renfeldt said. “In the future, if the sport takes off here, I’d love to see another nine or 18-hole course erected at a separate location.”

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Emily Mesner is a staff reporter and photographer for The Cordova Times. Reach her at emesner@thecordovatimes.com. Emily graduated from Central Michigan University, earning a degree in photojournalism with a cultural competency certificate. She first visited Alaska in 2016, working as a media intern for the National Park Service in Kotzebue and Denali National Park and Preserve, and has been coming back ever since. To see more photos, follow @thecordovatimes and @emilymesnerphoto on Instagram.