Originally created 07/06/06

Disc golf course delayed

Disc golf enthusiasts will have to wait until next year for a chance to play a new course at Wildwood Park.

It might take another six weeks to complete clearing work at some of the holes of the 18-hole course, said Brian Hoeniger, the executive director of the Professional Disc Golf Association.

However, construction on a new clubhouse for the association will limit access to the first of three planned courses at the park, which is also the home of the association, Columbia County Leisure Services Director Barry Smith said.

Site work on the clubhouse began June 28, and officials expect it to be completed in mid-January. During the construction process, the courses will be off limits, Mr. Smith said.

But once the clubhouse is completed, disc golfers will have extra room to play.

"They'll have two courses completed by the time the disc golf clubhouse opens," Mr. Smith said.

Although no one will be able to use it, just finishing the first course will be a milestone, Mr. Hoeniger said.

"I think we've installed 16 of the 18 tee pads now," he said.

"The basket placements have all been drilled and cemented in, and the baskets are arriving from the manufacturer this week."

Encouraged that one course is near completion, Mr. Hoeniger warns that it might take as long as two years to complete all three.

"It takes that long because of all the work in grooming courses out of thick Georgia forest," he said. "It's very labor-intensive."

Once the first three courses are completed, the association and county officials might consider adding two more, Mr. Hoeniger said.

The clubhouse will be 2,700 square feet. Paid for with one-cent sales tax dollars, the clubhouse will serve as the official headquarters of the PDGA and will house a disc golf hall of fame and museum.

Officially called the International Disc Golf Center, the clubhouse will become a focal point for local tournaments and occasional national and international tournaments and clinics.

Mr. Hoeniger expects many disc golf players will make the trek to Columbia County to visit the museum and play the courses.

He also expects, as the area grows, that local interest in disc golf will grow.

Although the construction effort might seem slow, the effort will be worth it, Mr. Hoeniger said.

"It doesn't matter if the facility takes three or four or five years to be officially opened," he said. "What matters is the next 25 to 50 years and the impact the facility will have on the area."

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.


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