I've been playing disc golf around Fort Collins for 30 years. It's free, doesn't take all day, and makes for a great way to get outside.

I took up disc golf when I was 24 or 25 while working in Fort Collins at a manufacturing facility, NCR. At that time, we worked three days on and four days off, which left me with lots of time to kill.

30 years later, I've played many, many times at Edora Park in Fort Collins, the old CSU campus course, LaPorte, Greeley, Loveland, Summit County..  I've even made disc golf a part of my travels to Las Vegas and Phoenix.

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So, when I heard that Johnstown has opened up a nine-hole course, I had to check it out. Nine-hole courses are fun because they are usually not very 'technical' - they're easy.

My first attempt at the Pioneer Ridge Course, part of Pioneer Ridge Elementary's grounds, was a bust: I was too early, they hadn't finished building it yet. However, I did get to talk with the man who was key to getting the course installed. He's a teacher there at Pioneer Ridge and enjoys disc golf, so he petitioned to have the course installed.

I went back to play the course with a friend on June 8, 2021, after work at around 7:00 p.m. It was a little windy, but other than that, we had good conditions. Keep in mind, that the course is only open during non-school hours. Kids come first.

TSM/Dave Jensen

Pioneer Ridge has nine, for the most part, short holes that mostly go along the greenbelt/park west of the school. You start close to the school's playground near the slides, however.

I mentioned how nine-hole courses can be easy, but I like how they've set these holes up to make them not so easy-peasy as you may expect. For example, at hole #3 the basket (target) sits just in front of a 'gulley;' one bad putt and you are rolling into that sucker.

Facebook/Pioneer Ridge Disc Golf

I really enjoy hole #8 that is set on a little 'island,' they suggest making it a penalty if you do not drive to the island. We didn't do that on my first game there. Perhaps next visit.

Another challenge to this little nine-hole is the fact that most of the holes are under 300 feet. You kind of need to 'ease up on your throws. That really doesn't apply much to me, I throw straight, but not very far; around 150 feet, using all that I've got.

I think the part I like best about Pioneer Ridge Disc Golf is all the grass; it makes the course more aesthetically pleasing, like 'real' golf.

I'm also a fan of how the course encourages kids to get started playing. Who knows, if Lincoln Elementary in Loveland had had a course when I was attending, I might have made the PDGA circuit. Probably not, but maybe.

TSM/Dave Jensen

They are working on getting more 'legit' tee markers and target signage, but if you have the UDisc app, like me, it will show you where everything is.

I can't wait for when they do get all the tee boxes set up and signs on the baskets, but I am really a fan of this little course, in little Johnstown.

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