|Disc golf course is latest addition to Martin parks |
|Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2010 2:07 pm |
The sun is out, the wind is gently blowing and the greens look freshly trimmed — a perfect day for golfing. But, as the first player steps to the tee pad, no bag-wielding caddy is in sight and instead of holding a driver, the golfer pulls out what appears to be a frisbee. While, to the average unsuspecting person, this might sound a bit like a dream, the sport of disc golf is a very big reality and it has been growing in popularity since its beginnings in the 1970s. It is essentially a sport that seeks to combine frisbee and golf and, in the process, eliminates the great expense of golf while still following its basic rules. Also, like golf, it embraces obstacles. Instead of sand traps and water hazards in golf, many courses have trips through the woods. Today, one out of every five rounds of golf played is disc golf.
Watch out for that tree — Nick Winstead, a sophomore at the UT Martin from Dyersburg and a Martin Parks and Recreation Department volunteer, negotiates a tricky holes during a round of disc golf at the new free course at the Harrison Road Park in Martin
Martin Parks and Recreation Director Brian Moore first heard about the sport two years ago from the head of the parks and rec department in Murfreesboro.
“I knew we had the land, but I wasn’t sure how much we needed,” Moore admitted. “I contacted the designer, H.B. Clark, who is a professional course designer. It’s a very safe course. Most people put the courses around ball parks and colleges put them between dorms.”
Clark designed Martin’s course around the adult softball fields off of Harrison Road. With help from the parks and rec staff, the fairways were created in nearby fields and wooded areas with some holes dropping 30 feet and some elevating 40 feet. This past Monday all 18 holes were completed with the exception of some last-minute clean-up of rough edges. All recyclable materials were used in the construction of the course and, though each hole costs approximately $700 to put in, 90 percent of the funds were raised by donations from sponsors.
“Through the Tennessee Parks and Recreation Association, Paris put one in and it gained popularity. Now there are courses in Paducah and Mayfield. I wanted to have something locally to bring people in to Martin for recreation and revenue. A lot of people from different age groups play. It’s good exercise and totally free to play as long as you have a disc,” Moore emphasized.
Discs will be available at Ken-Tenn Sports for a range of $5 to $40. Much like golf clubs, golf discs are chosen by ranges of weights from a long-range “driver” to a short-range “putter,” but an entire course can be played with a mid-range disc. Nine holes can be played in roughly 35 minutes.
Moore hopes to get a group to adopt the course and after the course has established itself in the area, other groups will come and the Martin-area group will travel to play in other places. With the fall college semester beginning soon, Moore expects the sport to be taken up by campus recreation for intramurals. Also, a tournament has been planned for the Soybean Festival with professional players coming in for the event.
“I’ve worked for the city for 21 years and we’ve had this property just sitting here. I wanted to offer something for people of a different sector of the community. After a certain age, you don’t play softball or baseball anymore,” Moore explained.
The course will be open year-round from daylight until dusk and in any weather.
Sponsors include Ken-Tenn Sports, Tom Taylor’s, Kiwanis Club, Panhellenic Council, National Pan, 3J’s, Jim and Glenda Menees, UT Federal Credit Union, Edward Jones, Behavioral Healthcare, MTD, Donaldson Brothers Rentals, Shape Club, State Farm, Wal-Mart, InterFraternity Council and UTM Housing.
For more information on the inaugural Soybean Festival Disc Golf Tournament, go online to www.BlueGrassDiscGolf.org/Martin.