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Eric Crawford-Smith puts the new course to good use as he tosses a disc towards the basket Tuesday morning.Disc golf course at SCC open to public

A new disc golf course has been constructed in Franklin, though many of the residents may have not realized it yet. Just behind the Southwestern Community College (SCC) building on the Macon County campus where the old Siler farm once operated, lies the new addition to the town.

Disc golf is a quickly growing sport and according to Noa Sparks, designer of the new course, there are around 1,000 courses around the country. Like it sounds, disc golf is similar to “ball” golf. The main difference being the substitution of a frisbee or a “disc,” for a golf ball. A player stands at a specific area called the tee, then tosses the frisbee towards the designated basket in an attempt to get it in the specially made basket in as few attempts as possible.

Spread around the course are baskets that have been donated by local businesses and individuals. The project has also been helped along by SCC, Macon County, and Friends of the Greenway (FROGs). FROGs had purchased some baskets previously for the Greenway and when Sparks learned who the baskets belonged to and that the organization had an interest in building a course along the walking path, he got to work. After two years of discussions with the school, the county, and FROGs, he began the process of designing a course that would work for all parties involved. Once funding was secured for most of the baskets, largely thanks to FROGs and a donation made by SCC, they were put into place. A few local businesses have expressed an interest in donating more baskets, helping the progression from nine to the 18 baskets Sparks hopes to eventually have in place.

“We currently have nine tournament caliber baskets and both long and short tees,” said Sparks. “There is interest in increasing the number of baskets to create a championship level, 18 hole course that could host tournaments in the future while always being free for anyone to use.”

At the moment, Franklin disc golf enthusiasts have been meeting frequently for workdays to figure out ways to enhance the course and to hopefully host weekly doubles tournaments. At any given moment a “disc golfer,” or two can be found taking advantage of the new course.

A tournament quality basket used throughout the new SCC disc golf course. Photos by Travis Tallent“We used to make baskets and play at the Cartoogechaye school, but I play at this course about twice a week,” said Eric Crawford- Smith who was getting some practice Tuesday morning while his dog Rainy explored the surrounding area.

According to Sparks, about 100 people currently play at the new course and he predicts that many more would if they only knew that it existed.

“I would definitely like to give it a shot sometime,” said Franklin resident Corey Picklesimer when told about the new site. “I've never played, but I always thought it sounded like fun so I'll be checking it out.”

“We sell a ton of equipment,” Nick Potts of Outdoor 76, commented in regards to the disc golf players the store sees on a regular basis. “It's a pretty diverse community that is playing. It's all-age friendly and it's fun year-round, unless the wind is blowing of course. It's growing quickly here.”

Disc golf is a popular staple among college campuses and recreational sites. It serves as a healthy and enjoyable past time that the citizens of Franklin will benefit from. Sparks, FROGs, Macon County, and Southwestern Community College are all looking forward to unveiling the new course to the public while promoting the sport as a healthy and affordable community resource.

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