Disc golf sweeps through Lake Norman area
by Staff Writer
DENVER – Adam Dummer approaches the first tee, picks up his driver and takes aim at his target in the distance.
Dummer, a 24-year-old Denver native, isn’t playing golf in its traditional form.
He’s playing disc golf, a sport that in recent years has grown in popularity.
It’s similar to traditional golf: courses have nine or 18 holes that are par three, four or five, and the main equipment used – driver, mid-range and putter discs – sound familiar to regular golfers.
But, it’s different.
Most golf courses have wooded area that players try to avoid. Disc golf courses are built to go through those same wooded areas, forcing players to adjust their shots around trees and bushes.
Another main difference is the price.
“You can go out and play a round at a park and it doesn’t cost anything,” said Dummer, who has played the sport since 2007.
East Lincoln High alumnus Michael Johansen has played the game since 1998 and estimates he’s gotten well over 100 players throughout the Charlotte and Lake Norman areas to give the game a try. Many of them now play regularly.
Johansen isn’t just a good disc golf recruiter. He plays at a high level.
He finished fifth in the 2010 U.S. Disc Golf Championships, and fourth in the 2012 Disc Golf World Championships, held July 14-21 throughout the Charlotte area.
Disc golf has been around since the 1960s but has grown in popularity in the past 15 years across the country and especially around the Lake Norman area.
Bailey Road Disc Golf Course opened at Bailey Road Park in Cornelius in 2010.It hosted the Amateur and Grandmaster tier of players during the World Championship in July.
“It’s good to have courses outside of Charlotte like in Denver, Cornelius, Huntersville and the private course at Davidson (College),” Johansen said. “Players don’t have to go as far to find a course as I did when I started.”
The 14 courses throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area that were part of the world championship in July hosted more than 1,100 players.
But the traveling professionals aren’t the only players local course constructors want to attract.
“People should realize that this is a sport you can play that gets you out of the house and keeps you active,” Dummer said. “My dad played golf for years, but now he plays disc golf with me.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s addicting.”