An Economic Study of the Richmond Hill Disc Golf Course

Haley Kellyn Mahoney

Abstract


The sport of disc golf has grown, and is still growing, at an astounding rate. Despite all of disc golf’s positive qualities, it can be harmful to the natural ecology of the area in which it is played. Disc golf has been documented to cause such environmental degradation as greatly increased erosion, soil compaction, significant trampling of undergrowth and loss of vegetative cover, as well as persistent damage to trees, such as the stripping of bark, leaves, and branches and indentations and nicks made by the discs, which can result in tree death. Because of the sport’s increasing popularity and negative ecological impacts, it is important to know whether the benefits of disc golf courses are worth the cost. Moreover, because there are mitigation techniques available to offset the negative impacts of disc golf such as behavioral modification, tree-wrapping, and mulching, it would also be beneficial to know whether players would be willing to pay, and how much, to help fund mitigation costs. Using the non-market valuation survey techniques of contingent valuation and contingent behavior analysis, this study examines players’ recreational demand for disc golf at Richmond Hill Disc Golf Course in Asheville, NC, and their willingness to pay (WTP) to maintain the park. Results of this study indicate that there is a high demand for disc golf recreation at Richmond Hill, players value course maintenance positively, and are willing to change their behavior to offset negative impacts. The data collected from this study provides helpful information for making decisions, such as expected levels of course use and how to fund maintenance, at proposed and existing disc golf courses.


Keywords


Disc golf; Non-market valuation; Willingness to pay

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