History of Disc Golf in Columbia, MO

Harmony Bends Disc Golf Course located at Strawn Park, Columbia, Missouri was named the 2017 Disc Golf Course of the Year by Disc Golf Course Review.

On February 5, 2018, the President of Columbia Disc Golf Club, Joe Douglass made a presentation to the City Council regarding the history of disc golf in Columbia, Missouri and to present the City Council with the 2017 Disc Golf Course of the Year Award. Below is a transcription of his presentation:

2017 Course of the Year Award


Columbia has always had a place in disc golf history. In 1980, the first disc golf course was built here – Albert-Oakland Disc Golf, and it was designed by legendary disc golfer Ed Headrick. It was the third oldest course in the state of Missouri, and at that time there was only a few hundred courses across the country.

Columbia is also home to the famous Mid-America Open. It’s one of the oldest running, active disc golf tournaments. This year will mark the 34th consecutive year that we’ve held the tournament. We’ve had 25 different world champions and 33 different members of the Disc Golf Hall of Fame who’ve come to Columbia and played in tournaments here.

Joe Douglass Council Presentation

Columbia, Missouri is also known as the birthplace of Hall of Famer “Crazy” John Brooks, and I have no doubt that is the birthplace of many featured Hall of Famers, as well. In 1984, Rick Rothstein and Lynne Warren (two of the founding members of the Columbia Disc Golf Club) formed a partnership with Columbia Parks & Rec and they published the Columbia Disc Golf News. The publication would be distributed across the country and be known as one of the biggest influences in disc golf in that time era. Rick and Lynne would later be inducted into the Disc Golf Hall of Fame.

Columbia is also known for having the very first Ice Bowl, which is now known to be a nationwide event that raises thousands of dollars every year for charity.

Today, Columbia gets to add another page to the history books. For the last five years in a row, from 2012-2016, Selah Ranch Disc Golf Course in Texas (designed by Hall of Famer John Houck) has held the title as the top-rated course on Disc Golf Course Review. In 2017, Harmony Bends of Strawn Park, which is also designed by John Houck, climbed the top of the list and is now the top-rated course on Disc Golf Course Review. Keep in mind that in 1980 there was only a couple hundred, now there’s over 8,000 courses. So, out of 8,000 courses, right now it is the top-rated course. There is so much buzz about the course that Disc Golf Course Review decided to do something special this year.  And at this time, I would ask all the disc golfers here to show their support – stand and wave.

Disc Golfers at City Council Presentation

Thanks to the many volunteers, the great work of the Columbia Parks & Rec Department, the designer John Houck, and the many people who came to play it and review the course, and most importantly the support from the City Council. It is my honor to present to you the Disc Golf Course Review award for the 2017 Course of the Year. Harmony Bends, Columbia, Missouri will now be forever known as the first city to win this prestigious award.”

Mayor and Columbia Disc Golf Club with award

Mike Harrington Plays His 1,000th Disc Golf Course at Harmony Bends

Disc golf history was made on April 29, 2018 when Mike Harrington played his 1,000th disc golf course at Harmony Bends in Columbia, MO. He was the 15th disc golfer ever to achieve this milestone. Mike Harrington (pictured center in the light blue shirt) is from Wisconsin, and he chose Harmony Bends for his 1,000th course, as it was ranked as the #1 disc golf course at the time. World renown disc golf course designer John Houck and his wife Dee traveled from Texas on their wedding anniversary weekend to help celebrate this milestone.  Columbia Parks and Recreation in conjunction with Columbia Disc Golf Club hosted a commemoration of the event on site.  Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp, John and Dee Houck, Mike Harrington, and Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs spoke to an audience of disc golf enthusiasts. Disc golfers from Kentucky, Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and North Carolina came to play the course  and celebrate this achievement. 

Mike Harrington and group celebrating 1000th disc golf course played

Columbia, MO Disc Golf Videos


Video: “Historic Disc Golfer Selects Columbia, MO, to Play 1000th Disc Golf Course” – Mike Harrington played his 1,000th disc golf course at Harmony Bends in Columbia, MO on April 29, 2018

Video: “Strawn Park Disc Golf Course” – Planning of the Harmony Bends Disc Golf Course at Strawn Park

Video: “Flight of the Disc” –  Meet Columbia’s local disc golf pro George Smith and other celebrity disc golf players as they gear up for the 34th Mid-America Open Disc Golf Tournament.