By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMay 9, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 9, 2013) -- Rain fell from the sky as disc golf players drudged through puddles to get to the next hole, but weather wouldn't stop participants from finishing the first disc golf tournament on Fort Rucker.
Twenty four golfers endured the cold, wet course conditions to participate in the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Flying Disc Golf Tournament at the newly built disc golf course at Beaver Lake May 4.
The tournament was divided into three separate age categories for both male and female participants with winners from each category who were awarded trophies and honors at the end of the tournament.
Winners in the male category are: Randy Heirs, male 46-and-older winner with a score of 124; James Old, male 19-45 winner with a score of 111; and Terrence Heirs, male 18-and-younger winner with a score of 128.
Winners for the female category are: Pam Schmidt, female 46-and-over winner with a score of 180; Laura Ferrairdo, female 18-45 winner with a score of 181.
Capt. Jeff Meinders, A Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment commander, has had his hand in the creation of the flying disc course on Fort Rucker since its inception two years ago, and said he's proud to see how far it has evolved.
"The turnout was exceptional considering the weather," he said. "It far exceeded our expectations and it is a great indication of the future potential for disc golf league in the area.
"It's nice to see the full development from introducing the idea, building the course and now hosting tournaments," he continued. "It's been rewarding to see it all come together in the last two years."
Players from as far as Panama City came to participate in the tournament and Meinders said that one of the highlights of the tournament was being able to see the players from different areas come together in a course that he helped build.
"The highlight, for me, was the camaraderie of the players," he said. "Every person had a positive attitude and enjoyed the competition."
A lot of time and effort went into bringing the flying disc course to Fort Rucker, from scouring for the right location to working out the funding to get the course built, said Meinders.
Meinders and his team spent about four months walking the trails at Beaver Lake to plot out a course that they felt was good enough for the area.
The course at Beaver Lake is an 18-hole, 55-par course that follows the path of the lake trail and is set up to get progressively more difficult.
The last few holes are the most demanding, said Meinders, because they are set up along the lake, so it's easy for players to lose their disc in the water. It was built that way to attract serious players to the course and make the Beaver Lake course one that people from miles around can enjoy.
"I'm very excited about the future of this course," he said. "DFMWR has been a huge help in getting support and getting the word out for the course, and they are the ones that prepared the course for the tournament and exceeded all the players' expectations with the cleanliness and grooming of the approach areas."
Meinders said he hopes in the future that he will see a Professional Disc Golf Association-sanctioned event at the Fort Rucker course.
"The Fort Rucker course has the facilities and space to grow into a championship-level course with very little changes needed," he said. "Concrete tees and alternate target locations would make this a top-notch course, ready for some higher-level competition."
The course is open for anyone to participate, and discs are available for rent from the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility for a $10 deposit.
For more information, call 255-2296.