LAURINBURG — A corps of disc golf enthusiasts is hoping to make the game the next big thing locally— and they’re putting in the sweat equity to do just that.
Snaking through wooded areas and fields, the 18-hole course at the James L. Morgan Recreation Complex has not been the most popular attraction, and as a result has become littered with briars and pine debris, and baskets have been stolen and damaged.
Laurinburg resident Andrew Batten, who picked up the game about a year ago on the urging of friends Billy Gibson and Michael Myers, has formed the Scotland County Disc Golf Association in the hope of addressing a dual need.
“Billy and Michael drug me out here one day and I just started playing,” he said. “It wasn’t real fun initially, but I could tell that I could throw a little bit, so I just kept practicing.”
Like its traditional counterpart, disc golf involves 18 “holes,” each with an assigned par, and variations in terrain over the course. But instead of driving or putting a ball toward a hole, players aim Frisbee-like discs with the goal of reaching an elevated basket.
In the place of myriad clubs, the game involves several classes of disc for use as appropriate, as Gibson described.
“You can get one that’ll stay pretty much straight, you can throw one that will go straight and then go right, you’ve got some that will go left, and some that will go right and then back left,” he said.
“It’s a sport that you catch on real quick to. It doesn’t take a lot of time to get it down. Everyone can throw a Frisbee and it’s just tweaking your throw.”
Batten now plays in amateur tournaments in the region, and has appealed to Scotland County Parks and Recreation for permission to pitch in with course maintenance. On Sunday, the disc golf association held its first course clean-up day, clearing out small trees that obstructed the fairways and eliminating briars in key areas. The group is also installing concrete pads for better traction.
“The tee pads help for grip on your shoes,” said Batten. “There are some spots out here that are kind of wet and you can slip when you throw.”
The group’s other goals include securing hole sponsorships from local businesses, holding seminars for beginners, holding monthly tournaments with the goal of attracting out-of-town players, and other measures to promote the local course and the game in general.
“I didn’t think I would like it until I got out and started playing it, but it’s pretty fun – nice to get outside and throw a little plastic,” said Blake Pruitte. “You get out with your friends and just relax out in nature.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.