The first of many

Oct. 28, 2012 @ 09:14 AM

It may not have the following of actual golf, but disc golf is on it’s way to becoming an extremely popular outdoor activity for players of all skill levels, even in Rutherford County.

South Mountain Christian Camp offers a full 18-hole course just up the road in Bostic where they held the first and second rounds of the very first Dale Sollars Autumn Classic on Saturday. Third-round play will take place today at 2 p.m.

Nearly 30 partiipants registered for the event for a mere $20. The cost of registering went towards a players pack that included several items as well as a lunch and prizes for the top finishers.

Sollars, who designed and installed the course, also designed the courses on high school campuses such as Crest, Kings Mountain, Burns and even the course at Isothermal Community College.

The most impressive aspect of his contributions, however, is that he offers his services at no charge.

“I said I’d design the course and help install it, for free,” said Sollars. ““I’m not in this to make money. I’m in this to promote the sport of disc golf.”

South Mountain Christian Camp Executive Director Steve Collins gives infinite credit to Sollars.

“Sollars knew how to design and install a course so once we hooked up with him he was really the driving force,” Collins said. “He put in hundreds of hours to make this course a reality.”

The course has come a long way in Collins’ 15 years as a part of the camp.

“We used to just have numbers attached to trees and have kids throw frisbees at them,” Collins joked.

But after a trip to an “actual” disc golf course, Collins knew it was right for his camp.

“The experience was so much better with real targets and real discs,” Collins said. “I was content with what we had but when I played a real course it drove me to put a real course in here.”

When it came time to make the course happen, Collins approached Sollars for the design and found businesses to sponsor holes at $300 apiece to cover installation.

After it was all said and done, the course turned out beautifully. Holes vary in length, obstacles and even aesthetics.

“You want to have a variety of holes,” Sollars said. “We have a few trouble trees, a few holes in the wood, a few long holes, uphill and downill. Just like regular golf you want it to be interesting and fun. But instead of sand traps we have trees.”

“Unfortunately, a lot of courses are just stuck back in the woods somewhere but we really used a lot of our prime property and dedicated it to this course,” Collins added.

On a given day it costs just two dollars to play the course for an entire day. While most public courses are free, tax-payer money doesn’t help fund the camp’s course.

“Really for us it isn’t about making money,” Collins said. “We just want this property to be a blessing to other people and this course really helps us towards that goal.”

The tournament, which was promoted by Collins online and Sollars at various tournaments, serves as a way to spread the word about the course.

“Once we had the course in we knew wanted to have tournaments and want people to know that the course is here,” said Collins. “We hope to see this grow every year while the course is still in development. We’re always looking for ways to make it a better experience.”

Sollars, who owns his own disc company, Red Dirt Discs, served as the tournament director and relished his role.

“It’s an honor to have my name on this tournament,” Sollars said before the second round kicked off.