Recent University of Massachusetts graduate plans to build frisbee golf course connecting Orchard Hill and Sylvan

By Michelle Altman

Courtesy of Flickr

Brian Giggey, a recent University of Massachusetts graduate who received his master’s in landscape architecture here, has propositioned UMass to construct a frisbee golf course connecting residential areas Orchard Hill and Sylvan. According to Giggey, the course “would begin and end in Orchard Hill, as well as meander along the stream, and through the woods/meadow on the northern side of Eastman Lane.”

Giggey said he has already been “promised a large donation by a local disc golf course owner, and recent UMass graduate, who will pay for all the baskets [the entire budget] with a donation through the UMass School of Nursing.”

Jack Ahern, a professor in the landscape architecture and regional planning department who has been working closely on the plans for the project, said the course would need “very little maintenance, some mowing around the ‘holes’ and removal of trash that may arise from use, but not much else.”

According to Giggey, “handfuls of volunteers who want to help implement the design” have volunteered to assist in building the course. However, the proposal is still in need of “someone on the ground that could help spearhead the project,” Giggey said, “and get it moving forward.”

Prior to graduation, Giggey said he met with the UMass Campus Planning Committee when the project “was still in its early stages.” He said he “got great feedback” from the committee and has since updated his design plans for the course.

According to Giggey the plan also “received [Environmental Health and Safety’s] approval, along with the support of many on-campus groups”.

“We aren’t short on volunteers or supporters. We just need the go-ahead,” Giggey said. However, according to Ahern, “it’s not clear who can approve this [project], and how to gain that approval”.

Giggey said that “[he] has created an “Orchard Hill Disc Golf at UMass Amherst” page on Facebook to direct the flow of support to the University” and also said that “support letters are welcome from the community. Hopefully all the support will finally translate into approval from the appropriate administrative powers.”

Daniel Cuff, a sophomore and Orchard Hill resident, said he would expect the course to be “used every day when the weather is nice.”

Cuff also “knows 15 to 20 people who play [disc golf]” and said that “if given the opportunity, [Orchard Hill students] would definitely use the course.”

According to Giggey, “right now there are ‘homemade’ disc golf holes that run throughout Prexy’s Ridge and Sylvan Forest. Someone has spray painted hole numbers on trees so people have places to tee off from and shoot to.”

According to Cuff, residents of Orchard Hill, “would approve of this construction,” as it would “give them something fun and active to do,” and “probably wouldn’t involve very much construction.”

Professor Ahern “appreciates the interaction with the outdoor landscape,” and said “the disc golf course [is] a welcome addition to the recreational opportunities existing at UMass.”

Giggey said he believes “the best way [to get approval] is to put in 9 holes, which [he and his partners] have already received funding for, then let the success of the 9 holes justify the implementation of the remainder of the course as a permanent fixture on campus.”

“Disc Golf supports health and education,” Giggey said, “and hiking around the woods and fields of Amherst is great exercise. The holes will also act as a trail system so people don’t have to walk along Eastman Lane, for example.

“Education is a huge part of this too,” said Giggey. “There are lots of physical education departments in the United States that have added disc golf to their curriculum.”

According to Giggey, “Increased activity in the Orchard Hill, Sylvan Forest and the Meadow will help bring to light the beautiful resources that are on campus.”

Michelle Altman can be reached at [email protected]