With the first day of spring being this past week, it's time to end your winter hibernation, get outside, and start working on that farmer's tan. A sport that continues to grow in the midwest, at a fairly rapid pace, is disc golf, or some might know it as frisbee golf. Whether you're a long-time disc golf veteran or brand new to the game, you might not know Iowa is known for having some of the best disc golf courses in the midwest. If you're unfamiliar with what disc golf is, think golf but with discs. You try to throw your disc into the basket in as few shots as possible. If you don't know what a disc golf basket looks like, here you go.

Unsplash - Ted Johnson
Unsplash - Ted Johnson

I started playing disc golf in high school (like most kids) for something free to do with my friends. We were all ballin' on a budget back then and just wanted to find excuses to hang out and not spend a lot of money. Before we knew it, we were all pretty addicted to playing. It can be incredibly frustrating when you are first learning but once we all started to get the hang of it, we would play 2, even 3 times a day, during the summer months.

If you've never tried disc golfing before it can be a fantastic way to have something fun to do and is relatively easy on your wallet. Plus, it can be great exercise. Whether you want to progress and eventually play in tournaments or you just want to mess around with your friends and family, while getting your steps in for the day, you should look into learning to play.

Professional disc golf Nate Sexton can help get you started

Here are 15 of the highest-rated disc golf courses in Iowa. These ratings are actually chosen by disc golfers.

1. Pickard Park 

This is actually the number 1 rated course in the entire state from discgolfscene.com. According to one review "this course is a piece of heaven that fell into a middle of nowhere, backwoods town, in central Iowa." This is a 2-hour car ride from the Cedar Valley, so plan on packing a lunch, but it could be a great day trip! They actually have a tournament coming up Sunday, May 1.

2. Walnut Ridge Recreation Area 

This free-to-play course is located in Johnston, Iowa. It's been around since 1998 and has 18 holes to play through. It has an A- rating and that mostly might be because this course is tough. One reviewer says "this course is a man-eater" and another said to "bring your A-game." This course is not for the faint of heart.

3. Wildcat Bluff

You'll be reading this word a lot... here is another FREE course to play which is located in Urbana, Iowa. One of the best parts of the game is it can be very inexpensive if you want it to be. This is our first 21 hole course to show up. It was established in 2007 and is a very technical course, with a vast majority of it being in the woods. Discraft is a major brand in disc golf, think Nike or Titleist in golf, and they have the "Titan Open" on Saturday, June, 18th.

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4. Sunnyside Disc Golf Course

Sunnyside is located in Atlantic, Iowa, and is already in fantastic shape to start the spring season. "Great course with great locals who take extreme pride and care of this gem in the midwest" according to one reviewer. One thing we haven't mentioned yet is this course can actually be shortened for beginners. If you are new to the game or are just having a casual round at the disc golf course, you can use the rec tees, and make it a little bit easier on yourself.

5. West Lake Park

This course is huge. They have an 18 hole course set up or 24 if you want to play a little longer. Located in Davenport, Iowa, and was established in 2007. After looking through reviews this course actually received a few A+ votes as right now it sits with an A- ranking. One reviewer has actually said this course is the "hardest course I've ever played! There's water everywhere." This also is another course on our list that might not be the best idea if you're just learning how to play.

6. Ewing Park 

Ewing Park is located in Des Moines, Iowa, and comes in ranking 6th, in the state. This course has been around a while, having been established in 2001. This might be a great place to check out if you're just getting started, learning the game. "Had a great selection of shots, and just enough to make it a fun round but not frustrating" according to this reviewer. This 18 hole course also comes with short tee's to help out any new player.

7. Peninsula Park 

We have our first Iowa City course to crack the top 10. This course has had a lot of new work done and has vastly improved. One reviewer also says "very little elevations change, so it's easy on your knees" making this a great place to play for a casual round with your friends.

8. Gateway Hills Park 

This course is located in Ames, Iowa, and has an A- review, from 24 different reviewers. They have long tees and short tees and a lot of variation in shot type. From open areas to heavily wooded courses, this has been my personal favorite, according to the pictures. This reviewer says this course has a "short, technical front 9, long back 9, and is a great training course." You and I might have to make a road trip to play this one.

9. Indian Hills Community College

Growing up and playing a lot of disc golf, college campus disc golf courses always seem to be in the best condition. Indian Hills Community College actually hosted the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Disc Golf Championship. It sounds like they take their disc golf really seriously. This is a pay-to-pay course and it looks like all you need is a $5 "bag tag" that is good the entire year.

10. Legion Park

This course is located in Marion, Iowa, and has an A- review, with 15 reviews. This course also has multiple layouts to choose from which will keep you from getting bored. I've always been a fan of courses with cement tee pads and you will find these here. The back 9 actually uses the Boyson trail as a boundary. According to udisc.com, this is a fun intermediate course. Just a reminder this is also a public park, so be careful throwing when park go-ers are around.

If you're looking for a new sport to try this summer or simply want to be active and get out of the house, I highly recommend giving disc golf a shot. I swear I lose 15 pounds every summer from simply playing a few rounds a week. I hope you enjoy it and if you're wondering how to get started don't be afraid to message me on the K92.3 app.



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