By Ben Johnson
Love the golf course but have a terrible swing? Have you tried throwing a disc instead?
Disc golf is one of the nation’s fastest growing sports, and enthusiasts in Birmingham hope the new Inverness Disc Golf Course in Hoover will bring in more players to the area.
“It’s a great sport to play because you get a lot of physical activity, and it’s a lot cheaper than real golf,” said Clifford Smith, an avid disc golf player.
Smith is the communications coordinator of Disc Golf of Birmingham, a club responsible for the disc golf courses in the area.
“The club basically does the upkeep of all the disc golf courses while also organizing and promoting different tournaments,” said Smith.
Disc golf is a lot like regular golf, except instead of using a golf club and golf ball, the player uses a disc to play. The player throws the disc at a basket that acts as the “hole.” The number of throws it takes the player to get the disc into the basket is the player’s score — and like golf, a lower score is better.
Alabama already has a thriving disc golf community. There are three other disc golf courses in the Birmingham area: one at George Ward Park off Greensprings Highway and two in Trussville. However, Smith said the DGB expects the Inverness course to bring a little more prestige to disc golf in Alabama.
“It was our goal to make this park one of the most premiere courses in the state,” said Smith. “We started this project about a year ago. We first went to the city of Hoover to convince them help us create this park. They agreed and then poured concrete slabs over the park. After the concrete was set, we began putting baskets in and clearing out brush in order to make a path.”
The DGB celebrated the opening of the new park with a tournament for both professionals and amateurs Sept. 8. According to Smith, the park has been officially open since last spring, but the DGB waited to make an official announcement until the course had been broken in.
“We needed to wait and work out the kinks of the park,” said Smith. “We had to make sure that all the pars were fair, that the paths were cut down and that the course was playable. It took a couple of months to work everything out, but now we’re ready for people to play.”
Smith said he is really proud of the work the DGB has done on the course, which he thinks is one of the best in the area.
“It’s such a picturesque course,” he said. “There’s lots of trees and a river that even runs through it.”
Smith hopes this new course will help attract more people to the sport.
“Disc golf is a lot of fun,” he said. “The discs cost only about $10-$15, much cheaper than a golf club, and it’s a great way to get exercise and enjoy nature.”
Inverness Disc Golf Park is on Inverness Parkway off U.S. 280. It’s open every day, and there’s no cost to play.
What: Inverness Disc Golf
Where: Inverness Parkway off U.S. 280
When: Sunrise to sunset every day