Tuesday, April 16, 2013
To many of us, the idea of playing the game of golf with a Frisbee would seem to be a fairly new concept. But, the first accounts of a competitive game go back to the 1920s, and organized “disc golf” leagues and tournaments emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
With thousands of courses in the United States and many more in 40 other countries, the sport has reached that “critical mass” point where there is currently an explosion of new courses.
In just the last two years, the Charleston area has gone from two courses to six – and one of the four new ones is right in our own backyard, just 15 miles north of the Ravenel Bridge.
Brooks and Arthur Geer, owners of Sewee Outpost got hooked in Charlotte where well over a dozen disc golf courses are maintained by the state.
Upon returning, they laid out a course for their own enjoyment, using flower pots as targets. Given the store’s focus on outdoor life in the Lowcountry, it soon seemed natural to put in a course that could be enjoyed by many. Harold Duvall and Zeb Campbell of Innova Corp. came to Charleston and designed a course for them. The course was put in, and now official “baskets” have replaced the flower pot targets.
A basket, the equivalent of a “hole” in conventional golf is vertical pole surrounded by two circles of chains that arrest the flight of a disc, allowing it to fall into a basket below.
Mount Pleasant resident David Heywood, professor at the College of Charleston, is a disc golf enthusiast who showed me the ropes – or chains, if you will.
There are a wide variety of discs - some for distance, some whose flight arcs to the left or right and some designed to fall into the basket. Disc golf has its own unique terminology to refer to the numerous types of throws, but overall the rules and etiquette closely mirror those of conventional golf.
“What a pleasure to finally have a course in our backyard. We don’t have to travel to the other side of town now to play,” Heywood said.
Surprisingly, one of our own Mount Pleasant residents is a two-time world disc golf champion, three time Woman Disc Golfer of the Year and inductee into the Disc Golf Hall of Fame.
She is Vanessa Chambers, who along with her husband Coleman own Hunter Transportation based in Mount Pleasant. Coleman, Vanessa and their two sons structure all of their vacations around disc golf courses, having played all over the United States, in Canada and Europe as well.
So, next time you are up toward Sewee Outpost, give Disc Golf a whirl. “Greens fees” are $5 to play all day, the expense of discs to get started is minimal and you don’t have to wear those funny shoes. You might just find yourself saying, “Under the magnolia tree, through the azalea bush, off the oak sapling, nothin’ but…. umm, basket.”
David Emch is a local photographer and writer. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 843- 276-9096.