Banging Chains: Disc golf course open in Farmington
FARMINGTON – A new disc golf course is open at the Farmington Community Center.
It opened on Dec. 19, and within a month, 125 golfers had rated the course on a national website. It’s rating was above 4, with 5 being the highest. The Davie Disc Golf League started, with 97 golfers signing on to participate.
On some days, the 30-vehicle parking lot has been full.
It’s heartwarming to Allyson Sawtelle, president of the Farmington Community Association board and a disc golfer herself.
The idea started in 2013, and Sawtelle and her husband Patrick started visiting other disc golf courses to get ideas. “We started playing and looking at the best features,” she said. “Disc golf had always been on our radar.”
Since the onset of Covid, more than a million people nationwide began playing disc golf, she said.
“Disc golf is really growing by leaps and bounds.” It’s kind of like a “hike with a Frisbee,” she said.
But these discs aren’t your normal Frisbees. The discs are designed for a specific purpose, such as driving, cutting and mid-range throws. A disc golf store, Banging Chains, even opened just up Farmington Road from the course.
The Davie Nature Trail Disc Golf Course has 18 holes covering 7,028 feet with a par of 70. It starts beside the community building, then heads across a field into the woods. Volunteers built multiple bridges and cleared paths for the course, which does become muddy when it rains. Each hole has a cement tee box, and a print display of the hole.
While free, there is a Venmo code for donations on the first hole. It’s difficult to charge for disc golf, Sawtelle said, because most courses are owned by town or county recreation departments and offered free. Tournaments are scheduled to help raise money for upkeep, and Sawtelle is always on the lookout for grants.
“It’s not high stress and it’s a fun something to do outside to get people more involved with exercise,” she said.
Expect a 2.5-3 mile hike while playing a round.
The course is part of a bigger, 63-acre park made possible when Louis Calvin Smith donated the land to the association with instructions that it be an open place where people can go to play outdoors – on the same property he played on when it belonged to his grandfather.
There are already hiking and biking paths on site, and a picnic area, parking lot and mountain bike practice area should be completed this year.
“The strategic plan for Farmington Community Association for the past seven years has been to develop ways to provide family friendly programs and recreational opportunities that are very affordable, but that will also provide the necessary revenue streams to keep the 50-plus year old facilities in working order and maintain the outdoor areas,” she said.
Much of that revenue stream halted when activities stopped due to the Covid pandemic. The center, home to bluegrass and country music jams and other events, has been closed.
A study estimated that nearly 3,000 Davie residents would take advantage of the disc golf course, with 30 percent of those under age 25 and nearly 17 percent over age 65. The percentage of people looking for places to hike or bike has also grown since Covid, because these activities can be done while social distancing.
“We anticipate the Davie population utilizing the outdoor amenities we are offering … free recreational opportunities in a beautiful well-maintained green space,” Sawtelle said.