PELKIE — During the second Winter that A.J. and his partner Madelin Zaychek had been on their farmstead near Pelkie, inspiration struck. A.J. recalls the day like it was yesterday.
“It was December of 2021,” he explained. “I was out walking the property with our husky dog and a coffee in hand, and I don’t remember exactly where I was, but it hit me that I was standing on a disc golf green. And as I kept walking, and I saw a tee box, a fairway, and the vision for a disc golf course just kept getting better.”
Fast forward nine months and a lot of snow that fell and melted and an 18-hole, par-60 disc golf course was created at Constellation Farmstead. The farmstead is a 120-acre plot near what A.J. had his partner had purchased and turned into a working agritourism spot where people can come and stay a night or a week in an old barn building, hike the property, or tent camp and enjoy the farm’s chickens, pigs and cows along the way.
In September of last year, the disc golf course saw its first official play with more than 60 golfers coming to Constellation’s grand opening.
“That was a great weekend,” said A.J. “It was a sign that there was a hunger for a unique course in our area.”
Fast forward another nine months with even more snow, and the homemade disc golf course has now morphed into the first and last stop on the newly created Keweenaw Disc Golf Tour.
“The vision is to give players something to focus on throughout the summer at a competitive level,” A.J. explained. Too often in disc golf, tournaments are held, and the winners are crowned, and everyone goes home. There is no connective tissue between tournaments, no ramifications tomorrow based on the performance of the day. That is the idea here.”
The tour began at the Constellation Farmstead two weeks ago with around 10 players.
“We had good temps and dry weather,” noted A.J. “The only complaint was that it was very windy. So, we had two out of three (elements) in our favor.”
Saturday will mark the second stop of the disc tour. It will be held at the Michigan Tech course. It will then head to the courses at Porcupine Wilderness State Park in June and the Calumet course in July. In August, tournament play will be in Lake Linden and the final stop of the Keweenaw Disc Golf Tour will take place in September back at Constellation Farmstead. Top finishers on the summer tour will then play three rounds of disc golf over the course of two days at the Constellation course beginning on Sept. 30 to decide a winner for the season.
“These are all nice, half-way decent courses in our area, and I thought why not combine it into a tour,” A.J. explained. “We could mimic a pro tour.”
He anticipates bigger numbers Saturday at the Tech course and added that a player can still participate if he or she missed the opening tour stop.
“Players will accrue points as they come and play as many or as few courses as they want,” he said.” They don’t have to come all stops to qualify for the season championship.”
In addition, Constellation Disc Golf is open all season for players of all levels. While they are hosting special events on the second Saturdays of each month, A.J. is there to welcome players who want to stop by and play nine or 18 during the week or weekend.
“I like to say we are open for play during ‘playable light,’” he said. “That is our designated hours. If you can see without a flashlight, then you are good to go.”
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