Alongside trail running, hiking and mountain biking, disc golf has become one of the most popular outdoor activities — it really is that much fun. Western North Carolina is home to several fantastic disc golf courses. Here are a handful of local favorites, for beginners all the way up to expert levels:
Beginner — Catamount Links, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee
It’s pretty impossible for one to lose their disc on this course. Looping around the athletic fields, there are wide-open spaces and sparse tree lines. Though there are only 13 holes, many of them are extended in length, and a real treat to be able to truly chuck your disc without fear of it disappearing.
• Key hole: #1. Between the launch pad and bucket is the WCU “Pride of the Mountains” marching band practice field. Cool to watch and play around, but be aware of your throw.
• Trouble hole: #4. With the bucket in front of a pond, play it safe or else you’ll be fishing out your disc.
Intermediate — Waynesville Disc Golf Course, Waynesville Recreation Center
Though plenty of holes are very welcoming for beginners, there are definitely some difficult ones. If you don’t know the 18-hole course, which can be a little tricky to navigate, ask the center for a complimentary map, or simply ask around (lots of folks play this course).
• Key hole: #14. Quite possibly one of the nicest mountain viewpoints in town, the launch pad is absolutely gorgeous to throw from, especially nearing sunset.
• Trouble hole: #14. As pretty as it is, this hole can also be a terror. Play it conservative if you’re not sure how to “attack” the bucket. Throw it too hard to the left, you’re in poison ivy. Too hard to the right and you’ll have to ask the center to help get your disc off their roof.
Advanced — Haywood Community College, Clyde
Tranquil, quiet course. Not too many folks around. Holes meander into the woods, which surround the school. Nice trails. The 18 holes are somewhat challenging, but not too far out of reach for intermediate players.
• Key hole: #16. Launch pad is situated right in front of an apple tree grove. On a sunny southern afternoon, there’s no place you’d rather throw from.
• Trouble hole: #17. Your love of #16 can quickly diminish if you throw your disc too hard and it winds up in the nearby pond bordering the bucket. Throw more to the right and play it safe.
Expert — Richmond Hill, Asheville
Quite possibly the most beloved disc golf course in the region, it’s 18 holes of utter chaos looping around a wooded mountain ridge. One hole you’re throwing way uphill, the next it’s back down the other side. Very challenging, but if played with respect and caution (for intermediate players), one can have the time of their lives out there.
• Key hole: #9. As rough and tough as this hole is, aesthetically it’s the reason (and ultimate goal) why we disc golf freaks play this sport day in and day out.
• Trouble hole: #5. Simply put, you can’t see the bucket over the hill from the launch pad. With woods on both sides of the path, and with a bad throw, you could spend awhile tracking down your disc.
As well, there are also courses at Heritage Park (18) in Andrews; Bethel Elementary (9); Meadowbrook Elementary (9) in Canton; and Bear Lake Reserve (9) and the Jackson County Recreation Center (18), both in Cullowhee. For more information on the sport of disc golf and course locations, click on www.pdga.org.