In addition to its many program and activities, the Opelika Sportsplex and Aquatics Center will soon feature disc golf.
The center is currently constructing an 18-hole disc golf course that will be completed sometime in late January. The course will be available, free of charge, to all Opelika-Auburn community members.
“I would say the biggest portion of the work is done,” said Sam Bailey, director of the Opelika Parks and Recreation department. “All that is left now is to put the baskets out and pour the tee boxes (throwing points).”
In disc golf, the goal is similar to that of traditional golf in that the player attempts to get to a target, known as a basket, in as few throws as possible. Also similar to golf are the discs used in the game, each with a different role, similar to golf clubs, such as putters, all-purpose mid-range discs and drivers.
Bailey said the idea for the course came about when people in the community were asking about getting a course done in Opelika.
“It’s a very rapidly growing sport and we’ve had a lot of people in our area asking why we don’t do this and could we do it,” Bailey said.
Assessing the positive aspects of constructing the course, Bailey said the project was less expensive in scope than other projects the department had done in the past and that the majority of the work could be done themselves.
“It’s not a very expensive thing to pull off, if you have the property and the ability to get all the woods cut back and the groundwork done, which we did ourselves,” Bailey said.
In a release sent out by the Opelika Parks and Recreation department, it was stated that the course would cross bodies of water, over hills and inclines and follow cross country trails through the woods, which run the perimeter of the center’s property.
Bill Rickett, a resident of Opelika the last five years, helped Bailey design the course. Rickett first got involved with disc golf 10 years ago through his son and has been an ardent supporter of the sport ever since.
“I hope it’s going to be a big thing to come along,” Rickett said.
One aspect of the sport that Rickett enjoys is that unlike golf, which can sometimes last hours for a single game, a player can complete a game within an hour.
“It can be a family-oriented thing,” Rickett said.
The response from the community has been good, Rickett said, and that expectations are high for a stellar turnout.
“We hope it will be a good thing and an asset to the area,” Rickett said.
Bailey said that while most disc golf courses feature only have par-3 holes, the new course would have one par-5 hole, three par-4 holes and 14 par-3 holes.
“That’s unusual in disc golf,” Bailey said. “We tried to make ours a step above the normal.”
Bailey said the course will be set up with amateur tees with the hope of holding a grand opening tournament sometime in April or May. The department would then install professional tees next summer to add a level of difficulty to the course.
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