Note: This story was updated with maps at 1:35 p.m.
Football, baseball, and basketball are the main sports you think of when you are talking about sports in East Tennessee, but that is changing. There’s a new growing game on the horizon, and it’s disc golf. Although it’s been around for several decades, the sport is reaching people from all over the world, including Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge has two courses: Carl Yearwood Park and The Mounds Course in Groves Park. Disc golfers from all over Oak Ridge and surrounding counties come to play the elevated tee pads and the challenging holes.
Clint Burner, an avid disc golfer, said the game is growing.
“The ambassadors of this sport have been playing for 35-plus years,” Burner said.
“The physical activity and being able to play outside really draws people to this sport, and playing the game makes them love it,” Burner said.
The Innovation Valley Disc Golf Association helps the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department run the two courses in Oak Ridge. The Mounds course was not always a disc golf course; South Hills was an old golf course that was closed down.
Aaron Smartt, president of the Innovation Valley Disc Golf Association, says that this made for a great 27-hole location.
“It worked out well for the disc golf community, that we had a nice piece of property to play out on,” Smartt said. “It’s a great course to play because it’s open, but we also have a nine-hole course in the woods for a more challenging game.”
More than anything, disc golf brings out families of all ages to be together in the open air and get out to exercise. Brad Beck is the developer of The Disc Eye, a video-based company that shoots competitive disc golf tournaments around the country.
“Disc golf allows us to spend time as a family without spending money,” Beck said. “I would really like to see disc golf introduced into school curriculums.”
Although it’s adults who mainly play the sport, a younger generation is starting in East Tennessee. Evan Goins talked about why he loves the sport.
“I like that it’s really fun and you can socialize with your friends and family while playing,” Goins said.
Disc golf is growing, there’s no doubt about it. All you need is some friends, a couple of discs and a place to throw.
For more information about disc golf in Oak Ridge visit IVDGA on Facebook.
Savanna Schubert is a freelance contributor to Oak Ridge Today. Schubert interviews disc golfers in a video here.
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