The newest addition to Rome and Floyd County’s recreational opportunities, a disc golf course at Shag Williams Park in Shannon, is the result of a public-private partnership that has not cost local taxpayers any new money.
The 18-hole, par 58 course is the result of a partnership between the Parks & Rec department and a local non-profit the Rome Disc Golf Club.
There used to be a disc golf course in Ridge Ferry Park but the loss of trees in the park through the years basically put that course off-line. While some folks thought disc golf was gone locally, Scott Wheeler said they just went elsewhere to play — to courses at Berry College and Shorter University.
“We’ve kind of been out of sight, out of mind,” Wheeler said.
In the meantime, Parks & Rec Executive Director Todd Wofford had the foresight to save the baskets (holes, for you regular golfers) from Ridge Ferry Park and put them in storage in the event they might be used again someday.
As it turns out, someday is now.
Wofford was able to save 14 of the baskets ,which have been put into use at Shannon. Those represent par 3 holes. The Rome Disc Golf Club raised about $2,000 and purchased four new red baskets, which denote the par 4 holes on the new course.
Basic Ready Mix donated the concrete for the tee boxes on the course and prison labor helped pour the boxes.
The front nine at Shannon are basically wide open holes, with a few challenging trees. The back nine, however, is much more technical and meanders through a wooded are on the north side of the park. There are no sand traps, but after a rain, the course in Shannon does have some low-lying standing water and drainage ditch hazards.
Allen Brown and Josh Pilgrim spent the better part of two years walking the park and designing the course.
“We wanted to make the course fun and playable while at the same time making it accessible for beginners,” Pilgrim said. “It took several months and we made changes along the way. We even changed a couple of holes the day before they poured concrete.”
The par 3 holes are generally 300 feet or less while the par 4 holes can range up to 700 feet.
The sport is a lot more involved than the casual observer might imagine. When you watch a tournament in action, the players are toting around a backpack with different discs in it, kind of like a golf bag.
“We have putters, we have mid-range discs, we have drivers. They all do different things and fly different ways,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said there is a huge disc golf tournament circuit across the Southeast and the local group is hoping to bring some of that action to Shannon in the future.
“It’s the perfect thing for anyone to do, young or old alike,” Wheeler said. “There are a lot of young people coming out and a lot of retired folks are picking it up as well. It’s a low-impact something to do while you walk.”
The course is free to play at the public park at 40 Minshew Road in Shannon.