Disc golf course at Buck Hill offers steep challenges — and a great view

11 July 2022

BURNSVILLE, Minn.– As the gentle drone of traffic bustles by on Interstate 35, a new sound begins to echo on the slopes at Buck Hill. Chains rattle repeatedly as Cale Leiviska launches discs at them with ease.

The professional disc golfer, who also has a passion for designing disc golf courses, is testing out his latest creation.

“This one is just all about the views. You get up here in this beautiful spot, it’s one of the tallest points in all of the Twin Cities,” he said as he stood atop a hill where skiers and snowboarders typically wait to drop in.

From spring to fall, mountain biking is the main outdoor activity at Buck Hill. Cole Linzmeyer was hoping to add another attraction, something that would also help bring people into the restaurant on the property, Buck ’54 Bar and Grill, where he’s the general manager. Linzmeyer said there were plans in the past to create a disc golf course, but they never got off the ground.

“I saw the plans that they had back in the day and was like, well let’s stop playing with it, let’s make it happen. Couple months back we reached out to Cale and now we’re here,” he said.

Several years ago Leiviska, along with his brother and father, started Leiviska Disc Golf Design. They’ve created or redesigned 40 courses. Most are in Minnesota, others are in Wisconsin, North Dakota, and even one in Canada.

But none offered the steep challenge quite like a ski hill. “In Minnesota we play a lot of flat courses, very wooded, but definitely on the flatter side. So to be able to have this elevation change, this terrain up here, it’s just a different thing that we’re used to for most courses,”  Leiviska said.

Like ball golf, players try to throw a disc in as few shots as possible toward the hole that’s actually a basket with chains. There are 18 of them scattered across the property, showcasing a variety lines and gorgeous scenery.

“You’re in a spot where elevation, you don’t see much in the cities. So basically, when you’re up at the top it’s some of the best views in St. Paul and Minneapolis,” Linzmeyer said.

The same slopes that snowboarders carve offer chances to bomb throws downhill hundreds of feet. Leiviska also incorporated the limited trees lining the hills, creating tricky but familiar feeling greens for players to navigate.

“That was the challenge here was finding some good holes that we could kind of carve through the woods, shot shape a little bit,” he said.

The chairlifts won’t be running, so prepare for a bit of hike. But waiting at the bottom is the bar and grill that’s eager help players relax after a round and enjoy some entertainment.

“The live music part I think is gonna be amazing to have along with disc golf in the background. Basically, you can start at hole one while listening to music halfway up the hill,” Linzmeyer said.

The course opened July 8. Admission is $6 a person and can be paid on Buck Hill’s website or at the bar and grill. Discs will eventually be sold on site, Linzmeyer said.

As summer turns to fall, the plan is to turn the lights on so people can play disc golf into the night. The baskets will stay in place until they start making snow for the slopes around Thanksgiving.

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