Disc Golf - Spartanburg County Style

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Disc Golf - Spartanburg County Style

Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

By Susan A. Sistare
Produced in cooperation with the HubCity Writers Project.

Not far off of Highway 9 in Boiling Springs, my friend Rhonda and I found the Shoally Creek disc golf course, a beautiful little spot on the grounds of Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park, a county-owned park north of Spartanburg. We were complete newbies at this sport—in fact, disc golf was not even on the radar of activities I’d been planning to try, mainly because I have bad eyesight, and inferior eyesight coupled with flying objects usually leads to unfortunate things.

But once we had those three discs in our hands and figured out how to use them (you aim for the designated bucket on the pole and try to throw it through the chains), the fun ensued. After googling the rules, coupled with some advice from local disc golf player Todd Lion, we were ready to rock that course!

Sort of.

While I highly recommend that you give it a go please heed this advice if you’ve never played:

  • Get to know what the three discs are for. It is not unlike regular golf, actually. There is a driver disc for long distances, a mid-range disc, and a putter disc for those close-up shots. I used that one a lot.
  • Take a picture with your cellphone of the giant sign that tells you where the course leads. This will come in handy, as the course route is not immediately obvious to newcomers.
  • Wear protective shoes and long pants. That, or bring a machete-type device that will facilitate the removal of thorny/poisonous foliage that proliferates around your disc when you throw it way off course into the brush (by accident, of course). Bug spray is a good idea, too.

Now that you have that solid advice, allow me to elaborate on the Shoally Creek disc golf course, Spartanburg County’s biggest and oldest course.

It really is the perfect setting, as well as the perfect sport: it’s good exercise—a nice, easy hike to go with your disc golfing. Any age and any fitness level can do it, and one can go it alone or go with a group. You don’t have to be an expert, either; in fact, because Rhonda and I were so inept at it, we ended up with a good ab workout from all the laughing we did at ourselves. I mean, I assumed that since I’d watched numerous YouTube videos on the sport, and they made it look so easy, surely I’d be excellent at it. As it turns out, I was made painfully aware that cornhole, pool, and bowling are not the only sports I am terrible at.

I am not ashamed to admit that after hole #4, we got somewhat disparaged at our lack of ability, and might have given up were it not for the cute guy with the dog doing the course just ahead of us. We kept going, and kept on trying, mainly to see how he was doing it. We tried to emulate him, but when I threw the driver disc with as much enthusiasm as that guy did, I nearly took out someone’s windshield in the nearby parking lot and possibly maimed a bird for life.

This sport is not easy.

But oh how satisfying it was to get to hole #18 and hear those chains rattle on only my second throw. I swear! I finally made it in two throws, not my usual twenty!

It takes about two hours to play the entire course, which is open during daylight hours and unmanned. If you insist on using the family Frisbee, you can get away with it, but you’ll be running back and forth a lot. Need equipment? You can now check out a set of discs from The Local Hiker, located on Spartanburg’s Main Street, free of charge.

The Shoally Creek course is Spartanburg County’s top course, where many professional tournaments are held, but there are smaller ones if you aren’t close to Boiling Springs. Tyger River Sports Complex (on the western end of the county) has a course, as well as Old Canaan Road Soccer Complex (south of Spartanburg). There’s also a course at the Cottonwood Trail (inside the Spartanburg city limits).

If you really get bit by the disc golf bug, you can join one of the local leagues. Upstate Disc Golf Club is a group from all over the Upstate, while Hub City Disc Golf Club is specifically for Spartanburg. Todd Lion, a member of the Upstate Club, said, “Spartanburg County has become the premier destination in South Carolina for disc golf. The Spartanburg Parks Department has done a great job building and maintaining courses around the area.” See www.upstatediscgolfclub.com for more information on joining a league.

When you’re done at Shoally Creek, head to Blondie’s Cafe for coffee and a chili bean potato. Throwing discs is hard work, and that was the perfect post-throwing nourishment.

(In case you’re wondering, I didn’t have the nerve to talk to the hot guy.)

Shoally Creek: http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=1956
Va-Du-Mar: http://spartanburgparks.org/parks/va-du-marmcmillan-park/

Susan Sistare

Susan A. Sistare, Produced in cooperation with the HubCity Writers Project.

Susan A. Sistare is a local author, skydiver, and teacher. She lives in Spartanburg with four cats and too many roommates.

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