By Mike Steely
It’s fun and free and you get exercise in doing it. There are no green fees, no golf carts needed, no expensive equipment and no competition unless you want it. Plus you can wear anything you like and go anytime you want.
No, it’s not golf but disc golf. The popular game of playing golf without the expense was formally organized back in the 1970s and continues to grow in popularity with more and more parks adding the sport. Locally there are lots of places to toss a Frisbee and there’s even an organized group for competition if you wish.
The addition of a disc golf course to an existing park isn’t that expensive for taxpayers compared to the addition of playground equipment or shelters.
The Knoxville Disc Golf Association (KDGA) is a group of all types of disc golfers and has members that compete in tournaments and raise money for causes like the Animal Shelter and Second Harvest Food Bank. Each year they host the Ice Bowl with divisions for all levels of disc golfers. The annual “Ice Bowl” is usually held at Victor Ashe Park in North Knoxville but this year, on Saturday, January 23, the event will be at the new Claytons Disc Golf Park. The new course features 18 holes over 120 acres and is next to Clayton Corporate Headquarters at the eastern end of Pellissippi Parkway in Blount County.
“There are around 130 to 140 members of the KDGA,” past president Warren Sharp told The Focus. Sharp said that Bret Honeycutt is the current president and that the Ice Bowl was moved this year to acquaint players with the new Clayton course.
You can find the KDGA on line at www.knoxdiscgolf.org.
On any given day and especially on the weekends you’ll find disc golfers tossing their way through various Knox County Parks.
Many consider Tommy Schumpert Park on Rifle Range Road near Dry Gap Road to be the most challenging. Renovated from 9 holes to a full 18 holes course, the longest fairway there is 1,200 feet to the basket and 15 of the 18 holes are in the woods.
The Admiral Farragut Park has a 9-hole disc golf course and each hole has a short and long tee pad. The park is just off Northshore Drive just west of the Pellissippi Parkway.
Inskip Park has a newer course designed for kids ages 8 to 12 to learn the sport but the course is open to people of all ages. The 9-basket course also has two tees on each hole.
Morningside Park has an 18-hole, tournament level course over hilly terrain and long, grassy fairways. The park is just minutes from downtown just off Dandridge Avenue.
With mostly open fairways on rolling hills, Victor Ashe Park has an 18-hole course with a practice basket, picnic tables, and a bulletin board on the first tee. Victory Ashe Park is located just off Pleasant Ridge Road on Bradshaw in North Knoxville.
Johnson University, just 12 miles from town, has a 9-hole course stretching over rolling hills with a couple of wooded holes.