Disc golf course expands in Seymour

According to an app, this was played 807 times and drew people from nine states to Seymour in 2022.

Can you guess what it is?

If you said disc golf, you aced the question.

Of those rounds, 26 players visited from more than 30 miles away, 10 came here from 150 miles away and five traveled 300-plus miles.

“We had them from nine different states: Indiana, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee,” said Chad Keithley, program director for the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department. “That’s pretty neat that this course here is bringing in people from nine different states.”

The disc golf course has been at the Freeman Field Recreational Complex on the far south side of the city since 2021, and the expansion from nine to 18 holes was celebrated April 24 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The first nine holes became reality with a generous donation from Line Drive Sports Productions, and the second nine holes were made possible by donations from nine other hole sponsors. Keithley said a sponsorship was $500 per hole and covered the cost of the baskets and converting the tee boxes to concrete pads.

“The nice thing about parks and recreation is that we are big with partnerships, we are big with working with other people to accomplish a goal,” Parks Director Stacy Findley said. “Most of our projects, we rely on one, two, three, four, five different organizations to make it happen, so this project is no exception to that.”

Keithley said employees from the city’s parks and rec and water pollution control departments helped with the project along with many others from the community.

“I think at one time, I counted we had like 76 different volunteers, individuals came out and helped, whether it be taking out trees, cleaning the trail, getting the course ready for the 18-hole course,” he said.

Seymour High School’s building trades class, taught by Jerrell Hubbard, attended the ribbon cutting and was recognized for helping.

“This group right here has spent many hours out here on the course,” Keithley said. “They basically helped us set up the first nine holes, did some walking, did some measuring, did a lot of digging. They set a lot of the baskets, all of the tee boxes. I can’t thank them enough. Without them, it would have been a lot more work for our parks staff to do alone.”

Also during the ceremony, certificates were handed out to the hole sponsors.

They are Line Drive Sports Productions, holes 1 through 9; Bob Poynter Family of Dealerships, Hole 10; King’s Trucking and Excavation, Hole 11; Seymour Noon Lions Club, Hole 12; Knights of Columbus Council 1252, Hole 13; Dusty and Josie Hackman, Hole 14; Ohio Valley Sports Productions, Hole 15; Big O Tires of Seymour, Hole 16; 31 Wrecker Service and Hercamp Crane, Hole 17; and Brewskies Downtown, Hole 18.

“I can’t thank all of the sponsors enough,” Keithley said. “They were the ones that collaborated with us on this. It’s really a blessing to have it done.”

So what is disc golf? According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, it’s played much like golf except instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc. The sport was formalized in the 1970s and shares with golf the object of completing each hole in the fewest strokes (or in the case of disc golf, fewest throws).

A disc golf hole begins from a tee area and ends at a target, the most common of which is an elevated metal basket. As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive throw from the spot where the previous throw landed. The trees, shrubs and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. When the “putt” lands in the basket, the hole is complete.

The association says an estimated 8 to 12 million Americans have played disc golf, and more than half a million play regularly. The majority of these players participate at the amateur and recreational level. The PDGA annually sanctions more than 3,500 events and has an active membership base of more than 80,000 competitive disc golfers from 47 nations around the world.

In the fall of 2020, Keithley said the city had a vision of putting in a disc golf course at Freeman Field after Mayor Matt Nicholson attended a conference.

“He came back and said, ‘Hey, I played at a disc golf course,’ and I was like, ‘A what?’ I had never really heard of it, and he goes, ‘Disc golf course, basically a Frisbee golf course,’” Keithley said. “Red Brush Park used to have one of those years and years ago. Of course, we didn’t have the fancy discs and all that, but I remember playing out there, and I said, ‘Let’s put one in,’ and he goes, ‘Absolutely. Let’s do it.’”

The course is now 18 holes with par 61 and is 4,778 feet. It’s in the same area as the cross-country course at Freeman Field, and a portion of a wooded area was cleared to add some challenges for three holes. Mulch was used to make walking paths in the soft ground areas.

“You’re playing into the woods or you’re playing out of the woods, so it’s tough,” Keithley said.

Around Hole 17, he said they are working on building a mound to add another challenge.

“We’re always having extra dirt. What do we do with all of this dirt?” he said. “We’re starting a little mound to give it something that you have to throw around.”

People can bring their own discs to play for free at any time. If you need a set and are a Jackson County Public Library card holder, you can check one out during regular business hours.

“It’s something everybody can do,” said January Rutherford, public information specialist for the city. “Kids can come out here and do it. Older people can come out and throw. There’s not an age limit on it.”

Rutherford said if there’s enough interest, a disc golf league could be created.

The Seymour Noon Lions Club is putting together a Disc Dash fundraising scramble that’s set to start at 10 a.m. July 1 at the course. The cost is $25, and you can register online at seymourin.recdesk.com/community/program. On the day of the event, the cost to register will be $35.

Keithley accessed the number of rounds recorded and other statistics through the UDisc app. Last year, Nicholson had the most rounds logged at the Seymour course, and Dusty Hackman was second.

Hackman, who lives in Tampico, said he has been playing disc golf for a few years.

“My wife’s dad, he was retired, and we picked it up one day just playing,” he said. “We did that with him, something to do, he can do when he’s retired. He did that about five years ago and just got more and more into it as it went along.”

Hackman said there are courses in Brown County, Clarksville and North Vernon, but it’s good to have one closer to home.

“It’s a lot nicer having one local here, right around the corner,” he said.

He carries a bag with a variety of discs, which are different weights and do different things, like going straight or tailing off to the left or right. Numbers on the front of the discs indicate speed, glide and turn and fade.

“It’s not like golf where you can only carry 14 (clubs),” Hackman said. “There are some people that carry 40, 50 discs.”

He said he encourages other people to give disc golf a try.

“It’s a lot easier than regular golf. Anybody can go throw a Frisbee, so I feel like it’s easier to pick up than regular golf,” Hackman said. “And it’s free to come out here and play, it doesn’t cost anything. What we like about it, you can bring the kid out here and she can walk along.”