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Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

Discs fly at Griffin Park course

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The disc golf course at H.V. Griffin Park will host its first tournament Saturday since the tournament which accompanied the facility's grand opening in 2009.

But that doesn't mean the course isn't being used.

"It's worn a path," said Bryan Dial of Shelbyville Parks and Recreation. He said response to the course has been terrific, both from local citizens and disc golf enthusiasts from surrounding areas.

"People like it from all over," said Dial.

Saturday's "Flying Discs for Tennis" golf tournament is a fund-raiser for the Shelbyville Central High School tennis teams. A singles tournament, costing $10 per player, will begin at 9 a.m., with registration at 8 a.m. and a players' meeting at 8:30 a.m.. A doubles scramble tournament, costing $20 per team, will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the players' meeting at 11 a.m.

Chucky Merlo, who co-chairs Saturday's tournament with Josh Stephens, said the tournament is for recreation only and that professional players won't be allowed. Players should bring their own discs, although Merlo said he and Stephens may have a few extras for those who need them. Discs are also sold at Shelbyville Recreation Center nearby.

Disc golf is played with small plastic discs -- smaller and denser than the Frisbee you toss around the backyard. The discs are thrown towards a basket, over which hang a number of chains. If the disc is thrown in the right direction, the chains catch it, causing it to drop into the basket below. A concrete pad serves as the tee. The player may throw from a standing position or from a running start, but must not go further than the front of the concrete pad before releasing the disc.

The scoring is just like regular golf -- the object is to reach each hole using the minimum number of shots.

Serious players usually carry more than one disc, so that they have a distance-friendly "driver" disc for tee shots and a "putter" disc offering more accurate control for shots closer to the hole. They may freely swap between discs as they play. Casual players, of course, can use only one general-purpose disc if they like.

Dial said that disc golf is a low-cost, recession-friendly sport, especially compared to traditional golf. "It's a whole lot cheaper, and a whole lot easier."

The discs are inexpensive, and there's no cost to play the local course. Dial said the rec center has sold ten times the anticipated number of discs. Instead of re-ordering once or twice a year, the rec center must re-order seven or eight times a year, he said.

Merlo said the tournament seemed like a fun way to raise money for the tennis team, which doesn't get spectator admission like other high school sports. He said he's gotten interest from players from Murfreesboro but isn't sure yet exactly how many are expected to participate. Merlo said he's gotten good response from local businesses as hole sponsors, with 16 of the 18 holes sponsored so far.

Dial said he hopes that more local groups will consider disc golf tournaments as fund-raisers.

He also said local officials are also in conversations with disc golf leagues from other area courses, in hopes of lining up more opportunities for local players to get into serious league play.