Within weeks of its opening, this 8,000- foot professional-grade course was awarded a 4.25 (with 5.0 being perfect) score by the national Disc Course Golf Review. And that was before its benches and signage were installed.
“So what is “Disc golf?” you might ask.
Disc golf is much like traditional golf with the difference being no golf balls or clubs are used. Instead, the former is replaced with a flying disc much like a Frisbee. In disc golf the player “tees off” from a tee box, as in traditional golf, slinging a disc towards the “hole” or basket with the objective of getting around the course with the fewest throws.
Disc golf usually is played without carts but with the same obstacles as a traditional golf course — trees, hills, rough terrain and fairways — with its players relying on their personal strengths and skills.
Wilderness opened its doors to the public on July 1 and within 10 days more than 170 had played the course, which unlike any other in the surrounding area, is not built on flat land.
Alfred Jones, manager at Mountain Cove Farms, says the course has been a hit and its initial tournament was a success.
“The Chattanooga Flying Disc Club held the first tournament on the 12th with 93 people in attendance, 73 of them players.” he said. “We hope to see more and more people come out. It's a lot of fun.”
The PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) has rated Wilderness as the only course in the country with a pavilion, cabin rental, RV park, camping area and restaurant all lo-cated on the same property. Jones says the PGDA hopes to have a professional tournament held at the course in the coming years, something that could chip more revenue into the lo-cal economy.
Wilderness is still in its early stages with new family-friendly tee boxes coming later this year.
“Right now, all of our tees at Wilderness are professional-grade but we plan to put in new more child and family-friendly tees later this year.” Jones said. “Right now the children are throwing from closer to the basket to make it more child-friendly.”
So why not a traditional golf course at Mountain Cove Farms?
“No special lawn equipment required, no chemicals and more eco friendly.” Jones said. “We are able to offer something unique and fun for folks to do with minimum operating costs and can pass the savings on to our customers.
“The courses are a lot cheaper to construct verses traditional golf courses and disc golf is just as challenging if not more so than regular golf and fun.”
Wilderness rates are $5 per person with no reservations or tee time required. The course is not cart accessible, with the player walking the entirety of the course. Players are respon-sible for purchasing their own disc and are encouraged to have 15-20 prior to starting the game. “There's three different kind of discs — long-range, mid-range and putter.” Jones said. “Most players we've seen are using long-range due to the tough terrain and yardage of the targets.”