TOWN OF NEWBOLD
- Walking on top of the cap of an old landfill, Jackie Cody could see her dream coming true, almost as clearly as her bright orange disc she tossed around.
"This is a spectacular use, I think, of recycling land," Cody said.
Cody and her husband Pete showed off the specially printed "Rookery Run" disc golf equipment, which will come in handy for a grand opening ceremony this fall, about four years after the duo hatched the idea.
"We wanted a more open course, a bigger course," Cody said.
The Codys, who started playing disc golf about 15 years ago, always wanted a course between Rhinelander and Minocqua. They helped form the Newbold Outdoor Recreation Committe, then teamed up with the Town of Newbold and Oneida County to secure the 34 acres of land along Ole Lake Road.
It took volunteers more than 2,600 hours to cut and clear land and lay concrete over the last three years. The group fundraised about $42,000 and did much of the work themselves. Pete Cody estimates hiring a contractor to do the job would've cost more than $300,000.
Next month, they'll host a "soft" opening, asking anyone who plays what they like and don't like about the 18-hole course.
"There will be some minor changes that we think will have to be made," Cody said. "That's just part of getting it broken in."
The scenic course surrounded by many different kinds of trees offers Monarch butterfly "waystations," which provide milkweed homes for the insects. Cody also hopes to turn rusted old metal from the dump that dots the landscape into sculptures. She's proud that just about everything about the course focuses on recycling and getting people back into nature.
"I think it's just a 'wow' reaction because it is a great mix of the forest and the use of the forest," Cody said of her reaction to the progress.
Pete Cody, the NORA Committee Chairman, originally hoped to open the course and surrounding nature trails in late 2017, but there were challenges like getting DNR permits that stretched things into 2018.
"Because I was probably a little bit naive, I was thinking two years [to get this all done,] but I was wrong," Cody admitted.
The Codys stayed determined and busy. They just recently helped make larger landing areas and completely rebuilt the 17th fairway. Now, as the opening days approach, they're ready to see how big of an impact their recreation area that's free for everyone has on places well beyond Newbold.
"Anything that depends on people to come in to spend money, I think, this will be a plus for them," Pete Cody said. "This is a championship tournament course."
The soft opening will be Saturday, Sept. 15 starting at 9 a.m. There will be maps available for anyone who wants to play and offer their opinions on the course.
The grand opening is set for Saturday, October 6. The Rookery Run-emblazoned discs will be for sale at a cost between $18-$20.