Disc Golf

Disc Golf

Disc golf, or Frisbee Golf, is a precision flying disc game. Established in 1980, the disc golf course at Warriors’ Path State Park features 27 holes with a balance of open and wooded holes, elevation changes, and varying lengths.

The disc golf course is a very popular recreational facility at the park. The local disc golf association does a great job of maintaining the course and holds frequent competitions. The course is considered as one of the best in the state!

Contact the Park Office at 423.239.8531 for more information.

A Brief History of Disc Golf in the Tri-Cities

The beginnings of Disc Golf can be traced back to many locations. California, Virginia, and other areas of the country have recollections of students and Frisbee enthusiasts inventing a form of golf using flying discs. Some may have seen the directions stamped on the bottom of Wham-O Frisbees that read, “Flip flat, flies straight. Have fun, invent games”. Regardless of who was first or when or where they started playing, the game was beginning to develop a following.

Ed Headrick worked for Wham-O in the 1970’s and invented a catching device that he believed would legitimize the game and provide a standardized target for players. He called his creation the “Pole Hole” and set out to convince local parks in California to install Disc Golf courses. As more and more parks said yes, Ed decided to reach out farther with his idea.

In the late 1970’s, Headrick approached the Tennessee State Parks Department in the hopes that they would install courses in the state parks. Three parks said yes; Meeman-Shelby in Memphis, Cedars of Lebanon in Lebanon, and Warriors Path in Kingsport. After installation at Warriors, a group of local disc golfers decided to form a club and host tournaments. Lead by John Whinery, the Lakefront Disc Golf Club was formed. In 1985, the club hosted its first professionally sanctioned event, the Lakefront Open.

Since 1985, the Lakefront club has held hundreds of tournaments, from casual, monthly tourneys, to large pro events that draw players from all the surrounding states. In 2015, the Lakefront Open will celebrate its 30th year, making it the longest running pro event in the state of Tennessee. Over those 30 years, disc golf locally has seen many changes and expansions.

In 1995, Winged Deer Park in Johnson City gave the club permission to build a 9-hole course there. Several years later, the course was expanded to 18. In the early 2000’s, an 18-hole beginner course was installed at Borden Park in Kingsport by the Rotary Club. A private course in Greene County was installed by Jerry Harmon on his property, known as Harmon Hills. Other local courses include Persimmon Ridge in Jonesborough (18-holes), and Steele Creek Park in Bristol (9-holes).

Several local colleges and universities have installed courses as well. ETSU (9-holes), King University (9-holes), and Virginia Highlands Community College (9-holes with expansion to 18-holes in the planning stages) in Abingdon have courses on campus with Highlands offering Disc Golf as part of its curriculum.

Locally, there are multitudes of people who play Disc Golf. The club has a core of 50 golfers who can be counted on to attend most events. As more courses are popping up, interest in the game is rising as well. The installation of courses in Bristol and Abingdon are drawing folks from Southwest Virginia into our area, exploring the other local courses. Morristown, Tennessee is a current hot-bed of Disc Golf activity. In the past three years, they have installed three courses with a fourth possibility at Panther Creek State Park. They have also hosted the Tennessee State Disc Golf Championships for the last two years.

The Lakefront Club has worked faithfully over the past 25 years to maintain the course and keep it up to date with more modern equipment. In 2005, the club secured funding for the replacement of 19 baskets with help from a grant from the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau ($1000), sales of old baskets to private individuals ($1900), and private donations. The club also works on brush removal and aesthetics at least twice a year at organized work days. Each January, the club holds Ice Bowls, fundraising events benefitting Second Harvest Food Bank. Over the years, the club has raised in excess of $12,000.00 for Second Harvest. The club continues to hold monthly events and a professional event each May. Club membership continues to grow steadily each year, with 62 members in 2014.

In 2015, the club plans on replacing the 8 remaining older baskets located across the street from the main body of the course. Funds will be raised by selling the existing 8 old baskets and soliciting private donations.

Anyone interested in joining the club or participating in any club event should contact club president Tim Barr at club@lakefrontdiscgolf.com or 423-943-7454. All club information can be accessed via the club’s website, www.lakefrontdiscgolf.com.