My Oulu: A new disc golf track for everyone in Oulu
What happens when you put together a teacher who is enthusiastic about disc golf, an empty field next to a school and a lot of energy? You get a disc golf track where teachers, pupils, and families in the area want to spend time.
There is a hilly area next to Niemenranta school. Teacher and disc golf enthusiast Ville Kilpijärvi looked at the wasteland for some time and wondered if it could be put to better use.
“At our school, I’m the one excited about disc golf. Many things make this sport fascinating. You don't have to be in top shape or super-fast to get into the sport.”
The initiative to build a disc golf track originally came from a pupil.
“For a long time, there was talk about a track in Niemenranta. I contacted the city, but when the pandemic started, the project did not progress. Then one pupil’s father asked me how this track issue was progressing and suggested that I ask the city again.”
The Lassilanranta disc golf track in Oulunsalo had just been closed, and the baskets had been removed. The challenges there had been growing grass, ticks, and track maintenance in the area. Kilpijärvi approached the matter practically: if the same baskets could be used in Niemenranta, the track could be set up at a very low cost.
Preparations and test throws
When it began to look like the track could be built, the pupils of the Niemenranta school were also involved in the design work.
“Pupils tried out throwing discs in the area and drew different fairway options. They sent me comments and ideas on the fairways on WhatsApp. Based on this, I compiled a proposal and an officer from the city visited to see if the proposal worked in relation to the bicycle paths and people living in the area”, says Kilpijärvi.
The mound of the Tärppipuisto playground in Niemenranta was a bit challenging as an area, because it had not been assigned a clear purpose.
“It’s a meadow area that isn’t a park, a forest, or a sports area. This required a little more clarification, but when these patterns became clear, it took a week and the track was ready”, says Kilpijärvi.
The teaching staff got the work done at a rapid pace. The baskets were picked up by cars and trailers and they were erected together. The poles for the track signposts were also obtained from Lassilanranta, but the signposts themselves were made with the help of some volunteers. The parents of the pupils also helped. The result was a versatile track.
The track has provided a lot of joy for both the residents of the surrounding areas and the pupils of the school. However, one problem still needs to be solved – mowing the hay should be solved one way or another.
“With tracks, there are practically two options. They must either be established in an area where the hay does not grow, or the mowing of the hay must be done on time. In Oulu, the Pikkarala track was created in a forest, which is an easy-care golf area. The Hiironen and Toppila tracks, on the other hand, require at least two mowing sessions every summer. The possibilities of mowing the Niemenranta field are still being investigated.”
Pupils and parents have been very much involved in the upkeep of the track. Hopefully, in the future, the maintenance of the track will be done on a routine basis so that the sport can continue to be enjoyed.
“I would like the city to have a unified approach to maintenance on these kinds of areas. The track is actively used during school classes, but also in the evenings. It has been nice getting messages from parents of the pupils saying that their children would go home after school for a snack, then go to the disc track and only be seen again at dinner”, Kilpijärvi laughs.