New Disc Golf Course at Thunderbird Gardens

Those seeking to learn how to play frisbee golf will soon be able to get plenty of experience at Cedar City’s newest course which will open spring of 2019.

Thunderbird gardens, a popular spot for outdoor activities such as canyoneering, hiking and mountain biking, will soon host an 18-hole disc golf course which has undergone construction for several weeks at the location just northeast of town.

The course has been designed to be more oriented to beginners, as the driving distance for each hole is less than 300 feet except for the very last hole. This is incentive for novice disc golfers who may find Cedar’s existing courses, Three Peaks or Ironside, too difficult.

“I wanted it so that somebody who knows nothing about disc golf can walk out here, see the basket, and they can kind of be like, ‘Okay, I can get that,’” Danny Strand, Crew Manager at SUU’s Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative, said.

Strand envisioned the course as his MPA project and obtained a city grant for its construction. Volunteers from SUU’s outdoor recreation program, members of a local disc golf club, paid interns from the IIC and friends and family of Strand have contributed to the construction of the tee-pads and the erection of the baskets.

Amongst those volunteers is freshmen Megan Halligan, a pre-nursing student from Cottonwood Heights. Halligan took three hours out of her weekend to help with construction as a part of an outdoor engagement class she is enrolled in.


“It’s amazing to see all the outdoor opportunities SUU has,” Halligan said. “We’ve got to meet some really cool people and gotten to know the programs out here.”

Strand designed the first nine holes and left the remainder of the design to Brandon Merzlock of Lucky Disc Golf based out of Santa Clara. Merzlock, who goes by the nickname “Mook,” has been designing courses since 1997 and is supervising the construction of the course.

When Merzlock first comes to an area, he views it and creates a design to allow players to begin and end at the same area while also working with the environment already there. Merzlock’s overarching standards for design are limiting the risk of getting hit by a disc, and making it fun.

Strand’s end goal goes beyond the course with hopes to turn over the entire property to SUU: it is currently held by the city and was once owned by the BLM. His vision includes the construction of an outdoor amphitheater with a fall concert series, more hiking trails, and more opportunities overall for students to enjoy the area including a potential elective credit for disc golf at the university.

Story By: Reyce Knutson
Photos By: Reyce Knutson