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Disc Golf: Steady Growth

Have you played disc golf? It shares a lot in common with [regular] golf. A great video overview is here. A wikipedia overview of Disc Golf is here. But, the best way to learn is to head out with a group of golfers and try your hand (and wrist) at it.

According to our latest surveys of the 100 largest US cities, there are 186 disc golf courses in parks, with 51 new courses built and opened since we started collecting data on disc golf in 2013.

Which city is the capital of Disc Golf? In terms of sheer numbers, Charlotte boasts 14 courses, Houston in second place with six courses and Austin and Kansas City tied for third place with five courses each.

But in terms of courses per 100,000 residents, Tulsa (7 courses) leads the way with 1.7 courses per 100,000 residents, with Durham (4 courses) at 1.6 and Charlotte (14 courses) at 1.3, tied with Lexington, KY (4 courses), also at 1.3.  Overall, there are 186 disc golf courses in the 100 largest US cities, rising from 138 in 2013 when we began surveying cities about them.

And for those who want to know more about the professional side of things, visit the Professional Disc Golf association website. They report that there are over 5,000 disc golf courses in the United States, with “most open to the public.”

Learn more about City Park trends in the 2017 edition of City Park Facts, coming in April to tpl.org (weblink: https://www.tpl.org/keywords/center-city-park-excellence)  If you have questions or comments about this or other city park facts, contact us at ccpe@tpl.org

Shopping Malls to Parks

The sun appears to be setting on many indoor shopping malls. Slate’s Chadwick Martin explains some of the reasons and argues that the structures should be torn down. Via Kaid Benfield, an article in Newsweek indicated that nearly a fifth of the country’s largest 2,000 regional malls are failing. One in particular is Charlotte’s Eastland shopping center – where the city is trying to parcel together and purchase the 70-acre site for redevelopment. An Urban Land Institute report for a “Town Center” on the site calls for housing and walkable retail, with over 10 acres of new parks. This seems to be reusing the site in a useful and possibly more lasting way.

If cities are interested in converting abandoned mall sites, parks are a key feature they could include to make them enjoyable areas of new walkable housing and retail. Likewise, shopping mall sites are a place park agencies and advocates can look to for new parkland where no “new” city land exists.