THE EARLY LEAD: New Daubendiek Disc Golf Course drips with teamwork and outdoor fun for all

By Brandon Hurley
Managing Editor

A labor of love guided by a passionate vision birthed a breathtaking venue for even the most casual of disc golfers.

Jefferson’s first 18-hole disc golf course at Daubendiek Park is a masterpiece, from the precise and challenging hole designs to the informative and elegant tee signs. The layout already, in less than a year of existence, has drawn state-wide praise and excitement, attracting visitors from all over.

What may have seemed like a daunting project blossomed remarkably quick. It took merely a handful of months to see most of the course come to life from mid-winter of 2021 to a fully-functioning course by late September. An incredible project, bolstered by grant monies, sponsorships, help from the parks department and the expertise of many, many dedicated volunteers.
Foot traffic at Daubendiek Park, already a popular spot for runners and walkers, has picked up fairly significantly since course completion, highlighted by a weekly league held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. as well as Daubendiek’s first-ever disc golf tournament during the Bell Tower Festival in June.

Jefferson parks and recreation director Dennis Hamman was a massive help throughout the process. As were several Jefferson residents and a handful of out-of-towners.
Hamman contributed his own money, time and equipment, services he continues to provide as the course continues toward its full potential.
The baskets, concrete pads and adjourning signs are all installed. Trash cans are now out, while benches were recently placed to allow disc golfers a chance for rest.
The local efforts of a passionate group of disc golfers has been tremendous as well.

Steve Kohl, Dan Rohner, Ryan Rysavy and Lucas Rysavy and Shawn Gilbert were immensely instrumental as well, piloting the vision to the finish line. Their volunteer efforts along with many others produced one of the most unique and challenging courses along the Highway 30 corridor. Which in fact, is now packed full with at least seven disc golf courses between Ames and Carroll.


Mitchell Rainey’s original 18-hole course design provides a wide range of shots throughout, a masterful layout, fitting perfectly into the available land at Daubendiek Park. There are tight, wooded holes, a handful of open bombers, various tunnel shots and even a couple of layouts that bring the Raccoon River into account.
The beauty of a disc golf course design relies heavily on the natural landscape. Trees are typically left standing as is, while natural water features and elevation provide interesting quirks as well. Indeed, Daubendiek does incorporate quite a bit of nature.  

Dozens of volunteers helped frame the concrete tee-pads, cleared out hundreds of feet of pesky brush along and within the fairways in addition to their efforts to pour and smooth out the impending concrete. These same volunteers are still out on the course every week, trimming tree branches, cleaning tee pads and monitoring the brush overgrowth. The work never stops, especially in a climate hampered by constant rain and intense heat.
The city has continually offered their services as well, helping pick up brush as well as conducting controlled burns and clearouts in the hairiest spots.
The course itself is quickly gaining notoriety for its difficulty and beauty.

Iconic holes are plentiful throughout. There is the back-to-back of hole three and four which use the picturesque Raccoon River as a boundary. Throw it too deep on three or too far right on four and it’s time for a quick drink, likely derailing a round. Then, you have the impressively tight stretch of holes eight and nine, plopped within the thick of the forest, requiring golfers to lean on their most precise shots.
A hearty debate can be held over whether hole 12 or hole 17 is the signature of the Daubendiek Course. Hole 12 is a 220-foot tunnel shot lined with several trees on each side. Hole 17 is as unique as it gets, a long, open bomber finished off by a concrete, three-tier basket decorated to look like a Super Mario tube. The concrete tube base is painted green while a Mario flag extends well north out of the top of the basket. There’s simply nothing else like it in Iowa. The Daubendiek course gives golfers a little bit of everything.

Additionally, the community effort has been impressive and inspiring. Various corporate sponsorships have also been vital. Each hole’s tee sign features a nod to monies donated by local companies or private citizens who helped fund the course.


What makes the timing of this course so perfect is my own recent love of disc golf. It has quickly worked its way up my list of favorite sports. It’s really a fantastic thing. Disc golf is cheap, unique and based outdoors. It’s a hike through prairies and wooded areas built within a round of golf. And the courses vary so much, just like the new one in Jefferson. Already in my two years of playing, I’ve visited several courses in Colorado, Minnesota and Iowa.
What also makes disc golf such an interesting draw is how easy it is to get involved. Just buy a couple discs for $10 to $20 and you’re ready. Plus, at least in Iowa, there are no entry fees to play the local courses. It’s really quite a cheap hobby.

Additionally, the people I’ve met after picking up disc golf have been refreshing. I’ve connected with several new, lifelong friends in the short two years of playing, which in turn have led to multiple leagues, tournaments and grill outs. I’ve even noticed an uptick in my own desire to volunteer during that time as well, uniting with a group of men and women who all help work on my local course in Boone.
Honestly, volunteer work may be the hidden gem of the disc golf community. Most of the courses in Iowa are maintained and groomed by hundreds of volunteers. The courses are usually built in public parks, with little room in the budget to staff employees to take care of them. The work falls on the public, and they really come through. There’s no shortage of work days in the spring, summer and fall. It’s remarkably rewarding as well, knowing the time you just put in will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

Disc golf is great for any community, I’m glad Jefferson is well on their way to becoming a mainstay. Friendships, teamwork and competition. Can’t go wrong with that.
Go out and play, and enjoy the work our fellow people have done.

Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161