Finding ways to be active while adhering to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resulting from COVID-19 can be a challenge, but one Fort Gordon amenity is proof that it is possible.
As one of the few amenities that remains open at a time when many others have temporarily closed, the Fort Gordon Disc Golf course is a place for people of all ages and skill levels to get some fresh air, social interaction if they choose, and exercise.
“It’s outside in the woods where there’s hardly any human interaction outside of the players,” said Jerry Swain, Fort Gordon Disc Golf manager. “They can play individually or with just a few in a group while maintaining proper distance from each other because only one person throws at a time while the others maintain proper distance behind the player throwing at that time.”
Disc golf is played similar to traditional golf, but with flying discs instead of balls and clubs. Players throw their disc from a designated, oversized tee pad, to a metal basket. The goal is to complete the hole with the fewest throws.
The course is divided into two – an Army/Air Force course, which contains 18 holes, and a Marine/Navy course, which boasts 20 holes. Each of the courses has a map at the start of course, and its respective holes are color-coded.
“So before you play, you get to see an overview of the entire course,” Swain said. “You can take notes because there’s a scorecard that’s on there, and there’s also pars and distances.”
Those who are extra ambitious and want to play all of the holes in one day will want to make sure they bring plenty of water and wear comfortable walking shoes. In all, the course covers about seven and a half miles of various terrain.
“It’s uphill, downhill, left, right, rugged terrain … you’ll work on ankle stability, you’ll be sweaty … it gets your heart rate up but then it calms back down while you’re walking or resting,” said Spc. Krista Brown, 116th Military Intelligence Brigade.
Brown said she tries to make it to the course at least a few times a week and has been recruiting others from the barracks to play. Newbie Spc. Roberta Gallegos, 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, was one of her recent recruits. After playing a few holes that had to be cut short due to prior obligations, Gallegos said she looked forward to returning.
“I could see some of the holes when I’d drive by, but I had no idea that the course is as big as it is or that it was so beautiful,” Gallegos said.
Spc. Cory Parks, 116th MI Bde., picked up the sport shortly after moving to Fort Gordon and goes to the course every chance he can.
“It’s a very low-stress game, it’s a lot of fun, it’s a great way to bring small – even large groups eventually – together,” Parks said. “It’s beautiful, everyone is friendly … I’ve even played in the rain, I like it so much.”
Each tee has a trash can, bench, and t-sign for patrons’ convenience.
The Fort Gordon Disc Golf course is located on Wainwright Circle, across from Freedom Park Pavilion.
The course is free and open to the public, seven days a week, from dawn to dusk.
Dogs are permitted but must be on a leash at all times, and owners must clean up after them.
Discs are available for rent from the MWR Recreation Division on 44th Street. Call 706- 791-4300 ahead of time to ensure someone is there to assist. Although most players prefer to use discs designed for the game, regular Frisbees are also permitted.
Did you know?
The Fort Gordon Disc Golf course opened in 2015 and played host to the 2017 Professional Disc Golf Association Disc Golf World Championship.
Prior to the course’s completion, there were 18 holes on each course for a total of 36, but the Marine/Navy course ended up with 20 holes (for a total of 38).
“That’s because when the course evaluators came to evaluate our course, two of our holes weren’t considered professional level,” said Jerry Swain, Fort Gordon Disc Golf manager. “We had to build two more holes at the last-minute because that was the only way that they’d agree to play here.”