There are some great options for disc golf in the Des Moines area. I think one of the best attributes of our courses is that they are not multi-use facilities. Our courses, for the most part are solely for disc golf. I have heard complaints from people in bigger cities that they would have to throw around people, dogs, barbecues, etc. It would be rare to have that problem here.
1.Walnut Ridge – Located North of Johnston, this course is in a great location on the bluffs of Saylorville Lake. This course has never been too busy when I have been there, and has a nice mix of open distance holes and tight technical holes. This course has always been taken care of very well every time I have been there. As a bonus there are great views of the lake, and other outdoor things to do close by as well. For more information on Walnut Ridge click here.
2.Pickard Park – Indianola – Located in Indianola 18 miles south of Des Moines. Pickard also is usually not too busy, and has a pasture type setting. There is also a good mix of longer holes with pretty open spaces, and tigher holes full of trees later on. Be careful on hole 4 and 5 not to throw one into the lake, just a fair warning about the lake of many lost discs (2 of mine). Hole 18 is a doozy at over 900 feet long from the long tee. for more information about Pickard click here.
3.Grandview Park – Des Moines – This course is almost entirely wooded, with old growth trees making most of the holes shaded. The setting is urban, and the course is a little tighter, and holes shorter, due to space restrictions. This is the course that I play the most, and really enjoy it. I would recommend this course for taking someone who has not been before. The reasons being: shorter holes, shade, and discs are less likely to be lost. Click here for more information about Grandview.
4.Gateway Hills – Ames This course is kept up nicely, and is worth the drive up to Ames. Starts with some shorter holes, then opens up and adds some length. This course is well taken care of, and a pleasure to play. For more information on Gateway hills click here.
5.Maytag Park – Newton This is one of my favorite parks, and I would rate it as medium in difficulty. It is always mowed and seldom busy. It would be hard to lose a disc here, as it is a chained park with few hiding places for discs. More people should play this one, it always seems empty. For more information on Maytag Park click here.
6.Heritage Park – Ankeny – Mostly open with a few large trees, this course is easy to medium in difficulty. One plus about this course is that it is dedicated to disc golf, so you won’t have to worry about hitting people, dogs, etc. Where Heritage loses points is its low location( by a creek), and potentially wet conditions. With 21 holes Heritage is worth a trip up to Ankeny though. Click here for more information on Heritage Park.
7.Ewing Park – Ewing Park is located on the south side of Des Moines. Hole one is just off the parking lot on Indianola Avenue. This is a medium to difficult course, there are a few holes on the back nine that are pretty long. The first few holes are tree lined with slight elevation changes. Then the back half opens up and the holes get longer with fewer obstacles. This course challenges you in several different ways, and is a good all round test. Click here for more information on Ewing.
8.Big Creek – Big Creek Disc Golf course is part of the Big Creek State Park complex north of Des Moines by Polk City. Big Creek is the first disc golf course I ever played . Bad choice. This course is difficult. There are thick woods surrounding the front nine, and you DO NOT want to get a disc off the fairway. It is very easy to lose discs here, Maybe if I were a better player I would rank this course higher, but I hate losing discs. Click here for more information on Big Creek.
9.Lewis Club Park – Colfax – Lewis Club Park located just a few miles east of Altoona. There are lots of elevation changes, and mature trees. This course is always mowed and well kept up, and Lewis never seems to be too busy. Click here for more information on Lewis Club Park.
10.Lions park – Altoona – Lions is a good local course, but you will have to contend with a bike path, and a baseball field. It seems like they squeezed this one in to a little extra room they had. Lions has 12 holes, and is a good course if you live close by. Click here for more information on Lions Park.
Bonus Pete Crivaro Park – Des Moines This is a 9 hole course close to the river, just east of downtown. It is mostly flat, and you might have to throw around some obstructions, and picnic areas. This would be a good warm up course, it isn’t too challenging. This could also be a good course for a beginner to get a taste of disc golf. Click here for more information on Pete Crivaro Park.
If you need a resource for course information in the Des Moines area or anywhere really, the Professional Disc Golf Association and Disc Golf Course Review are great spots to look for player reviews and have a ton of information. If you would like to know how to play or general rules click here. There are a few groups out there that help to take care of the courses, they use dues for repairs and maintenance. If you are interested in supporting Des Moines Disc Golf Club click here for the Facebook group, or for the course work group click here.