Oct. 18, 2013
Contact: Chelsea Morgan, Communications Assistant
Maryville College students of the mid-20th century enjoyed a nine-hole golf course on campus. Today, students can enjoy a different kind of golf on campus: disc golf.
Last May, faculty and administrators installed the campus’ first disc golf course in the College Woods. The course consists of four holes to be played from McArthur Pavilion into the woods and four holes back towards campus.
In conjunction with the installation, four sets of discs have been purchased and are available for loan to members of the MC community and the public. Each set has three discs: a putter, midrange and driver.
Disc sets can be checked out in the Cooper Athletic Center main office, but the public will have a chance to try them out this Sunday, Oct. 20, at Mountain Challenge’s Outdoor Adventure Festival, which will be held from 1 until 4 p.m. around Crawford House.
A sport that is growing in popularity across the United States, disc golf requires a flying disc that is about eight or nine inches in diameter and a metal basket that serves as the hole. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, disc golf “shares with ‘ball golf’ the object of completing each hole in the fewest number of strokes (or, in the case of disc golf, fewest number of throws). A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target, which is the 'hole.' … As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed.”
According to Dr. Drew Crain, professor of biology, chair of the College’s Woods Committee and an organizer of the disc golf installation, the course presents an ideal opportunity for students to get outside and take advantage of the campus’ 140 acres of woods.
“The idea for the disc golf course started as a way to try to get people in the woods, get people outside,” Crain said. “That’s the entire impetus of this project: provide another way to get students outside.”
Disc golf is designed to utilize the course site’s natural features as obstacles, with trees, shrubs and the surrounding terrain making some holes more challenging than others.
The baskets chosen for installation on campus are locked to concrete anchors in the ground, enabling them to be temporarily removed for College events or moved around for course variation as more baskets are placed.
“The way we’re playing it right now is an eight-hole course,” said Crain. “Ultimately, we want a nine-hole course.”
Funds for the course came from the Student Government Association, and a grant Crain received helped pay for the remainder of the installation. Crain hopes the popularity of the courses will provide opportunities for future funding.
“[Disc golf] is a great example of a life sport. I’m all into that,” Crain said. “Students who take my ornithology class end up being lifetime birders, and this is one of those things – you’re going to take it with you and enjoy it the rest of your life.
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state‘s third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for its academic rigor and its focus on the liberal arts, Maryville is where students come to stretch their minds, stretch themselves and learn how to make a difference in the world. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester was 1,168.