Course Design

Art and Science

The art of disc golf course design is born from creating a lasting aesthetic and emotional experience for the players. Whether a learn-to-play facility for introducing novices to the game, or a championship track that challenges the top professionals, great disc golf courses stir feelings of serenity, excitement, anxiety, and elation.

The science of disc golf course design is based on not only scoring data for varied player skill levels on a course layout calibrated by distance, elevation, foliage and other obstacles, but also on the developing technology of the flying disc, course equipment, as well as expertise in conservation of water, earth and flora.

Designed for Your Purpose

“As a facility that mainly serves children, we wanted to introduce them to disc golf.  J. Gary designed and helped build a great course not only for our younger audience, but also enjoyed by people of all ages.  Grip It and Rip It Disc Golf has hosted several tournaments and events at our course, and are very grateful to have J. Gary’s expertise for our disc golf course.”  — Tim Murphy, Executive Director YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer.

Night Flight at Camp Kon-O-Kwee. Photo by Brian Keegan

Elegant, Economical, Efficient

A professionally-designed 18-hole course can safely accommodate as many as 72 players of varying skill levels at one time. All projects are different, but usually, the lifetime sport of disc golf can be played by people ages 7-70 on 30 acres of land.

Disc golf fits well in topographically challenging land that may not be good for other recreational uses such as playing fields, ball courts, or swimming pools, and for much less money to construct and maintain than facilities for soccer, basketball, baseball or tennis.

Let us show you how a professionally-designed disc golf course could fit into your resort or park’s budget, space and recreational program. Grip It and Rip It Disc Golf’s course designs are flexible, sustainable and can be phase-built.

We’ve created 9-hole, 18-hole and 24-hole courses for public parks, university campuses, and private resorts.

J. Gary Dropcho is certified as a Master Designer by the Disc Golf Course Designers Group, and Grip It and Rip It Disc Golf LLC is fully insured.

Ten years in the making: The Dips @ Denny Park!

Grand Opening October 22, 2023.

120 people came out for the day, including Devotees who played the first PDGA-rated 18-hole round in the morning, people who had never played disc golf before in the Ring of Fire prize giveaways, and the disc golfers who played casual rounds after the food, fun, and festivities concluded.

Thank you Ross Township Parks and Public Works for getting the course ready for its debut and for throwing the Grand Opening Party.

Thanks also to Innova Discs and Pittsburgh Flying Disc for donating prizes for the event, including Aviar and Wombat3 golf discs, custom stamped with a cool design by Dale J Miller.

The Dips is my 20th completed disc golf course design project.

I was proud to present my co-designer Paul Harkins, with a certificate for completion of his apprenticeship in disc golf course design and construction.

Many thanks to fellow PFD Course Promoters G Bud Bass and Keith Hazen and the many volunteers who have hundreds of hours to clear fairways, install baskets, and build tee pads.

Time to play DG!

J. Gary Dropcho

Caesar Ford Championship Disc Golf Course              Xenia, OH

Grand Opening October 19, 2019

"Caesar Ford Park was greatly underutilized. J. Gary Dropcho, with amazing vision and creativity, designed a championship course that made Caesar Ford Park a destination.  Our new course has something for everyone!"   --- Robin Gregory, Special Events/Program Manager for Greene County Parks & Trails

No Boundary Disc Golf Complex

North Boundary Park, Cranberry Township, PA

Grand Opening June 15, 2019

Video by Brian Keegan/Disc Golf Examiner

"The North Boundary Park Disc Golf Course was built on 70 acres of rolling forested hillsides that the designer, J. Gary Dropcho, and his team had the vision to see the fairways of an 18-hole disc golf course through briars, brambles and impenetrable thickets of grape vines. The terrain was left as nature made it, and now the woodland setting of magnificent oaks and maples has been revealed by the unique design. New vistas open up at every hole, including the wide open looks on the accessible 6-hole Learn to Play Course, geared for the first time and novice players." ----- Lorin Meeder, Environmental Program Coordinator, Cranberry Township

Early morning disc golf at IUP College Lodge, Indiana, PA

Dropcho-designed disc golf courses

Solo Designer:

Caesar Ford Park Championship Disc Golf Course; Xenia, OH

Slippery Rock University of PA

YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer; Fombell, PA

Hunter Farm; Grove City, PA

Seven Springs Mountain Resort; Champion, PA

Two Mile Run Extension; Brighton, PA

BSA Camp Twin Echo; Ligonier, PA (closed)

College Lodge; Indiana University of PA

Songer Whitewater Campground; Fayetteville, WV

Lead Designer or Collaboration:

The Dips @ Denny Park; Pittsburgh, PA (with Paul Harkins)

Crooked Creek Lake; Ford City, PA (with Eric Jageman)

North Boundary Park; Cranberry, PA (with Doug Cloutier)

Scenic Vista Park; Lisbon, OH (with Jason Reynolds)

Edinboro University of PA (with Pat Govang)

North Strabane Township Park; Canonsburg, PA (with Eric Householder, Tim Stouden, Ryan Julian, David Sinclair, Ethan Zaharia, Adam Woodward)

Deer Lakes Park; Russellton, PA (with Tom Moeller, Dan Sauers)

Moraine State Park; Portersville, PA (with Keith Clark, Chris Deitzel, Leo Liller, Bryan Wright, Tim Wright)

Phillips Park; Pittsburgh, PA (with Carrick High School Frisbee Club)

Getty Heights Park; Indiana, PA (with Michael Dropcho)

Knob Hill Community Park; Wexford, PA (with Keith Clark, Michael Novara)


Schenley Park; Pittsburgh, PA

Linbrook Park; Pittsburgh, PA

Memorial Park; Grove City, PA

Buhl Park;  Hermitage, PA


Reverse view of 15A pin Scenic Vista Park, Lisbon, OH

Do It Right

The cost of hiring Grip It and Rip It Disc Golf to design your next project would be determined by the number of holes (6, 9, 18 or 36), the state of the land on which you might want that course located (heavily wooded and remote vs. open and developed), and the level of amenities you want your course to provide (multiple tee and pin locations; compatible integration with existing and future facilities).

Our services range from turnkey operations where we provide design, construction and equipment for a ready-to-play facility, to consultation review of an existing course design, and everything in between.

We’ve done it all for over 30 years: cleared invasive plants from course sites; dug holes; engineered plans to grade tee areas; finished concrete, turf and rubber tee pads; measured and mapped course tees, fairways and basket locations; designed and installed tee signs; ordered and installed basket targets from major disc industry manufacturers.

We can do it for you.

Contact Us