Disc Golf Course

History of disc golf at Essex

A view of autumn trees behind the lake and fountain

The exact reasons given for why a disc golf course was created at the University vary, but the story handed down through the generations, is that the University was looking for sports that matched its values and the nature of disc golf was ‘very Essex’: accessible to everyone irrespective of physical characteristics; a sport that isn’t gender segregated; a wonderful alternative to contact sports; easy to play for fun or competitively; and being self-officiated by the players themselves, a truly democratic sport.

Our Original Platinum Course

The original disc golf course was opened in 1983 and laid out within this historic parkland. Designed by Charlie Mead established the University’s disc golf course in 1983, it was the very first in England and the eighth oldest in the world. The original 9 and 18 hole 1983 course was much loved, with its 6,615ft course, 3 hole lengths under 300ft, 8 between 300 and 400 ft and 7 over 400 ft. Its major features were the lake throw and the popular valley throw and 2021. The University of Essex has a rich history of hosting disc golf events using this layout, including 3 World Championships, 6 European Championships, 15 British Championships and as one of a handful of courses in the East of England, it has hosted a range of other regional competitions

The course has seen some upgrades over its 40 year history including in 2017 the installation of Mach 3 baskets and some course remodelling by Tim Herring and Andy Lucey. However, over 40 years the original course has understandably started to show signs of its age. The University has grown from around 3,000 students to 15,000 students on the Colchester Campus, with new buildings, facilities, paths and trees criss-crossing the original course, disrupting line of sight for shots for players – and creating a hazard for pedestrians. The fairways have not been easy to maintain, there is no signage it was not always obvious where the tee locations are without local knowledge.

Over the last 40 years new courses in the UK and across the world have built on the Essex disc golf course success, with new ground-breaking designs and challenges, with many more signature throws, artificial grass tees, baskets and improved facilities. The best courses have also integrated new technologies, for example using Udisc to see individual hole designs and navigate with GPS.

Find out more about our new Diamond Jubilee Course

The Park

Wivenhoe Park, 220 acres of historic parkland has been the home to the University of Essex since 1964. The University takes its stewardship of the Park very seriously indeed.

As of 2022, Wivenhoe Park has received a Green Flag Award six times, an international quality mark for the University’s stewardship of the Park. The Park has also been voted one of the top ten green spaces in the UK and received the People’s Choice Award on five consecutive occasions – the only university campus to have achieved this award. The significance of Wivenhoe Park is reflected through its Grade 2 listing in 1989 and is included on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.

More information about our beautiful park can be found on our Wivenhoe Park web pages.

The University of Essex Tree Walk

Wivenhoe Park is a striking landscape of more than 220 acres. Home to a range of plants and wildlife including some extraordinary and historic trees, this picturesque paradise can only be appreciated fully in person. The variety of species and ages of our trees provide habitats for a range of animals and support the growth of fauna and funghi. To find out more about the history and https://www.essex.ac.uk/wivenhoe- park

We're home to over 2,800 trees, including rare species and veteran trees. Our Tree Walk is a self-guided tour of some of our notable trees.