New Castle Christian Church minister Tommy Lanham loved disc golf so much that when he looked for a job he also looked for the nearest disc golf course.
“I was looking in February 2010 for a position and I looked for the nearest disc golf course,” Lanham said. “The nearest course was either Frankfort or Louisville. When I did the leadership class with Pat Wallace and the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, I convinced them to put in a course at Harry Hill Park in 2011 as our project.”
Lanham helps run a disc golf league at the park for the summer season and will do another league in the fall. Lanham’s interest in disc golf started with a maiden tournament open to beginners in Nicholasville in 2009. Lanham entered with no previous experience playing the game. His interests and enthusiasm outshined his tournament performance.
“I did horrible. I never had played the game before and I told my wife I was going to sign up for it,” Lanham said. “My nephew and I signed up to play the maiden tournament— a tournament for newbies. We went to Meijer and I bought some discs.”
Disc golf follows the basic rules of golf, but players use Frisbee-like weighted discs instead of clubs and golf balls. Players can use lightweight discs for putting and more substantially weighted discs for driving. The sport can cost a beginner as little as $5 for a used disc.
“I like to compete and I like friendly competition,” Lanham said. “You don’t pay to play and it’s a family friendly sport. Especially here at Harry Hill Park where we can see our children at every hole while we play if they do something else at the park.”
Lanham said the sport is accessible to anyone of any age. The disc golf league, now in its fifth week, is usually comprised of adults, college students and middle school aged children.
“You don’t have to be overly athletic to play and it isn’t intimidating,” Lanham said. “It’s great exercise and you can just enjoy playing the game.”
The league offers prizes like new discs to top league competitors and offers free disc golf clinics where people can learn about the sport and receive tips for becoming better players.
“Our goal is to establish a Henry County Disc Golf Association like Louisville, Lexington or Lawrenceburg has,” Lanham said. “We want to get more people involved. We’ve done a spring league before and had 22 people turn out for it. We play every Monday now, but I talk the idea around to see what works for everyone for the fall.”
The league scores on a handicap established by each individual player’s average handicap to make the game competitive for everyone. The league also awards points for competitors who finish a game including points for bringing a guest.
“The great thing about league and tournament play is you split up with three or five people in your group and we pair someone good with a newbie that is good at giving tips and help them develop their game,” Lanham said. “When we had a grand opening in 2011, we did a free disc golf clinic. If we find out there is more interest we will have those more often.”
Lanham said he and Daniel Lowry both walked the park when they decided to do the project for the disc golf course and included Henry County Parks Director Travis Buchanan.
“Daniel and I individually walked out the course with very similar ideas for where the baskets would be with a few variations,” Lanham said. “We included Travis so we would know where the baskets would actually work and not interfere with anything else at the park.”
Lanham and his group secured business sponsorships for each of the nine baskets that players throw their discs into on the course and hope to continue garnering interests from the public.
“We’ve had every age group I think except for maybe elementary age players in the league,” Lanham said. “It’s a great way for people to come out and have fun while getting some exercise.”
For more information about the disc golf league call Tommy Lanhan at : (502) 667-2981 or find the league on Facebook under the Henry County Disc Golf Association.