Riley Park adds course for year-round program


GREENFIELD – It started with a tip from a visitor to Riley Park — now, there’s talk of workshops, tournaments and more centered on the park’s newest attraction.

Residents looking to find a fun, free, family-friendly activity have a new option with the recent construction of a year-round Frisbee golf course, officials of the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department say.

And word is spreading fast. Riley Park, a 40-acre park located in the 200 block of Apple Street, has seen a significant increase in visitors since the disc golf course was built on the park’s grounds. Visitors can bring their own equipment and play the nine-hole course for free, or rent from the Parks and Recreation Department office for a small fee, said superintendent Ellen Kuker.

The department planned to create the course after getting the idea from a public suggestion, said Parks and Recreation Department project manager Jeremiah Schroeder.

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The department finished building in October, Kuker said.

The disc golf course is the first new amenity Riley Park has added in nine years, she said.

“Since we’ve opened the course, it seems like almost every time I look out my window, I see people playing,” Kuker said.

And park officials are happy to build on that enthusiasm with efforts to spread the word about the course and introduce new players to the sport.

The Parks and Recreation Department plans to offer workshops this summer that teach the rules and strategies of disc golf for those who are trying it out for the first time. They also plan tournaments for the community’s more competitive players.

“I always love to see people in the park, and this just gives individuals another reason to come out,” Kuker said.

The new attraction seems to have gotten the public’s attention, Schroeder said. The office published a Facebook video advertising the new course, which received hundreds of views and plenty of positive feedback, he said.

A course designer who has worked in other parts of the state was brought in to assist with the project, Schroeder said. The intermediate level course will be available to play year-round.

“Different activities tend to be growing in popularity, and disc golf is one of those things,” Schroeder said. “We’re happy to be able to meet that need.”

Greenfield local Scott Bates has been visiting Riley park since he was a child. Bates took an interest in disc golf six months ago and is pleased to have a place nearby to practice the sport.

“Between the skate park, the basketball goals and this, it’s a lot of stuff for folks to do,” Bates said.

“They did a great job with what they had to work with,” he added. “The layout is really good.”

Bates’ friend, Kyle Frazier, has also been a frequent visitor of Riley Park from a young age. He agreed the new addition to the grounds is a great way to attract more people.

“I’m glad they put something else down here,” Frazier said. “It’s something else to get into and keep people out of trouble.”

The Parks and Recreation Department’s aim is to bring new users to the park who might not ordinarily visit, Schroeder said.

The department anticipates that might include visitors from out of town. They hope avid disc golf players from all around will make the trip to Greenfield so they can play a few rounds.

“It will help us in our mission to improve health and wellness in the community by getting people outside and being more physically active,” he added.