A second disc golf course is open in Westwood Park.
Called Megiddo, the course was designed by Mortonite Kip Taufer.
“I wanted to design a golf course since I started golfing the summer before my freshman year in high school,” Taufer said. “After having my second son I took a break from golf and started disc golfing. Disc golf is free once you have a disc and takes much less time to play a round. I played the course at Northwood Park and right away thought that designing a course myself was feasible.
“My friend Tate Kaiser is a park district commissioner, and I told him my thoughts. He let me know there was property at Westwood that was unused besides one day a year. We had a meeting with Gary Watson and I told him I would like to volunteer my time to do this for the community. Gary and the park board gave me permission at a meeting last summer to begin. I started last July designing the course and the baskets were put in the last week of April this year.”
Before designing the course, Taufer had helped his dad with landscaping. However, he said Megiddo was a challenge to design with the ravines, creeks and shooting around trees.
He said the name was chosen based on the ancient city of the same name that had many battles, and that mirrors the battles players will have with each other on the course.
Now that the course is complete, Taufer said some of the holes to watch out for are hole 4, 11 and 17.
“Hole 4 is a difficult hole where you have two creek crossings and your second throw goes up the side of hill to a guarded basket,” he said. “Hole 11 is possibly the signature hole where you throw down the cliff and over two creeks. The basket for hole 17 was drilled through a fallen tree so it’s elevated a bit. You cross a 42-foot bridge to get to the basket on hole 18.”
Since opening, a doubles and triples tournament at the course has been held, along with the Central Illinois Championship, co-hosted with Northwood Park, and the Central Illinois Doubles Championship.
The Megiddo Warmup tourney is Sept. 7, with the Ledgestone Insurance Open the same weekend as Pumpkin Festival.
“That is an A-Tier event that will be a National Tour event next year,” Taufer said.
He added that the feedback so far has been positive, although work is being done to improve it.
Brian Earhart, a pro-level disc golfer from Illinois, recently played two tournaments at Megiddo.
“The course is extremely challenging and scenic,” Earhart said. “The use of elevation in the course design adds another dimension to the course that many courses in Illinois simply do not have. The mixture of difficult wooded teeshots through fierce uphill and downhill fairways create a truly unique experience for disc golfers. This was one of the most difficult and beautiful courses I’ve played in my pro career and I had an absolute blast playing it.
“After speaking with Kip and hearing his ideas for the future with that course I have faith that it will become one of the top five best courses in the midwest. It is truly a gem.”
The funding for Megiddo was assisted with a pass-through fund by the Morton Community Foundation. Tax-deductible donations can still be made to the Morton Disc Golf Fund, which can be used to help pay for Megiddo through the MCF, along with helping with upgrades at the Northwoods Park course.
In addition, hole sponsorships are also available.
Taufer said money is needed for more stairs, retaining walls, navigational signs, bridges and a kiosk with a course map.
Another group that players can join to help with the maintenance of courses in the area is the Peoria Frisbee Club. The club, which costs $20 to join, also hosts tournaments and leagues, offers disc deals and gives a disc for signing up.