The Sandwich Community Preservation Committee this week approved a grant of $47,000 in preservation funds for construction of a disc golf course at the Boyden Farm Conservation Lands.
The unanimous vote on Monday, March 4, marked the last regulatory hurdle disc golf enthusiasts had to clear before the idea can be presented to voters at the May 6 Town Meeting.
“I am beyond thrilled about the unanimous vote,” said Andrew McManus, president of the Cape Cod Disc Golf Club. “I was a little surprised because I know CPC money is scarce right now, but I thought we had a really good proposal.”
Mr. McManus was referring to a town proposal to cut future community preservation committee funds to pay for much needed town water and wastewater treatment systems.
But Town Manager George H. (Bud) Dunham, during a presentation earlier in the meeting, said that although the community preservation fund will shrink, the committee had ample funds for projects less than $100,000, such as the disc golf course.
Preservation committee members did have some questions about the proposal, such as the maintenance plan, and whether the conservation commission had given its blessings to the clearing of trees and the layout of the course.
Joshua K. Wrigley, assistant director of the town’s natural resources department, submitted a letter of endorsement to the committee this week saying the conservation commission “is in support of the project.”
The course may require modifications as the plan moves forward, but the conservation commission will review all such changes and will assess which large trees can and cannot be removed, Mr. Wrigley said.
Mr. McManus said he and other club members, with the help of a landscaping company, had reconfigured the 18-hole course slightly to address a concern about proximity to a new walking trail at Boyden Farm.
“We want to have a minimum 50-foot buffer between the course and pedestrian trails,” Mr. McManus said.
Mr. McManus presented the committee members with a copy of the management plan requested by the conservation commission. It provides preliminary maps of the area and breaks down the costs.
About $26,000 of the $47,000 grant would go toward selectively clearing the area where the course is planned. About $6,000 will be spent on baskets into which the discs are thrown, and about $7,000 for tee pad materials such as pavers, stone dust and sand, according to the report.
Most of the vegetation to be removed is ground cover, shrubs and saplings, according to the report.
Mr. McManus has said that unlike traditional golf courses, disc golf seeks to preserve the tall trees.
“We like to retain that vegetation because playing around and through the forest is part of the challenge,” Mr. McManus said earlier this year.
Natural Resources Director David J. DeConto has said that only a few mostly invasive forest trees would be cleared for the course, and the “edge” areas would be bolstered by more plantings.
Creating lush edge areas of native plantings would draw more wildlife to the area, Mr. DeConto has said, including bluebirds, turkeys, grouse, deer and bobwhites.
The conservation area, owned by the town and popular among hikers, is off Cotuit Road near the Ryder Conservation Lands. It is adjacent to the proposed recreational area—including a skate park, pickleball and tennis courts, and walking paths—on the public safety campus at Cotuit and Quaker Meetinghouse roads.
The proposal for the 18-hole disc golf course was on last year’s warrant, but was pulled at the last minute because a consultant had not yet completed his study of the environmental impact on the Boyden Farm area.
The game is a combination of golf and disc throwing. The disc—similar to a Frisbee, but with a beveled rim that provides greater accuracy and distance—is thrown at targets along a course.
Mr. McManus’s report, which was also given to conservation committee last month, states the members of the disc golf club would prune the course annually, clean up any storm damage, and design and create the course through the trees—keeping and maintaining the existing mature trees, and thinning the underbrush.
The volunteers will also clean up the litter, help enforce park rules, and place signage and an information kiosk, and host golf clinics to teach people how to play, the report says. The club has performed similar volunteer maintenance at Burgess Park in Marstons Mills since 2011.