The Course (map of most recent proposal: http://www.whitefishdf.com/new_smith_4.php)
The new course will be 27 holes using more terrain in the area and featuring a wider range of shots for players. We’ll have a kiosk with a map, general rules, state land rules, and a list of our sponsors at the start of the course. We’ll have a practice target as well located at the beginning. Each hole will feature a quality target (DGA Mach III targets), a full size rubber t-pad (up to 14 feet long), a t-sign with hole description featuring sponsorship, and general education signs to better educate players about the local environment, litter, and our need to comply with the state or lose the course.
The course itself features 10 holes using the area of the original course and 17 new holes using land northeast of the course. The new holes connect up to the Smith Lake parking lot and turn around using an recently timbered area for great view of Whitefish Lake. In year two we hope to add a new parking lot in the upper area near the Smith Lake turnaround.
The play will force a lot of new shots for local players. There are some longer holes and more curvature. We will miss the original course and once again thank Carter Allen for his efforts to make it happen.
Here is a link to the temporary course map: http://www.whitefishdf.com/new_smith_4.php
The Smith Lake Folf Course was built around 2002 by a local disc golfer Carter Allen. Mr Allen reached out to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conversation (DNRC) as the land where the course is located is on Montana Trust Lands. These are lands that are managed in a way to benefit public schools. The DNRC allowed Mr Allen to put in posts with metal tones for targets at the north end of Whitefish Lake where the road to Smith Lake begins. No t-boxes, signage, or more construction was permitted nor further development. Technically it was an area people used to throw frisbees.
Since the course was built disc golf has seen an explosion in growth with a massive increase in player numbers. The original Smith Lake Course started having issues with overuse such as litter. The holes were also closely spaced and at busy times it wasn’t too hard for a player to get hit by a disc and possibly injured. Luckily and thankfully a lot of disc golfers cleaned up the course and got the word out to keep it cleaner. We feared losing it at times.
In 2005 the WDF reached out to the state to try and propose and create a more permanent course solution. We looked at other areas and on our end failed to have the resources to develop a course around 2007 or 2008. The growth of sport continued to leave large numbers of players at Smith Lake and around 2014 the WDF and DNRC started discussing rebuilding a course at Smith Lake. The new course would better address educating players, environmental impacts, safety issues, and the handle the growing numbers of people playing the game. As a result we are now entering into an agreement with the DNRC for 10 years to build an up to date 27 hole disc golf course. Disc Golf nationally and globally has matured and we hope to bring out experiences and knowledge to Smith Lake to make the Flathead Valley’s first dedicated disc golf course.