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Feeling sporty: Disc golf growing in popularity in Hudson

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015 1:35 pm  |  Updated: 1:36 pm, Thu Jan 15, 2015.

By GINA STORY Special to the Record

HUDSON, N.C. – On a beautiful, crisp December afternoon in Hudson’s Redwood Park, children run and play in the playground, a group of boys shoot hoops on the basketball court and in the lower part of the park, located near Hudson Middle School, several group of kids laugh and joke. Amidst the birds chirping and the laughs echoing from children a shout is heard: “Mr. Dugger, it’s stuck in the tree.”

Without hesitation, Terry Dugger, quickly strides toward a group of children who have gathered staring up into the branches of a small tree in the middle of a grassy area.

Dugger – with a quick explanation of the rules – tosses a disc on the ground and gives the tree a hearty shake and down tumbles a small disc – most commonly known as a Frisbee.

“That was easier than the one I had to dig out of the creek earlier,” Dugger said with a smile.

Dugger, a science teacher at Hudson Middle School, is the founder and leader of the newly formed Hudson Middle School Disc Golf Club. On this sunny afternoon, Dugger and 15 of his students from Hudson Middle School made the walk from the school to Redwood Park for their weekly meeting.

Disc golf, also known as Frisbee golf, is played on a course with baskets or catchers that act as holes. Players start at a tee and attempt to throw the disc in the catcher in the least amount of throws possible. While the game is sometimes called Frisbee golf, it is hard to play with a traditional Frisbee because they are too light to make the long-distance throws required to traverse the course. Just like in regular golf, each hole varies in distance from tee to goal and have various pars. Disc golf discs come in drivers, mid-ranges and putter discs to allow for different throwing distances. Discs can be found locally at Sawmills Hardware and Foothills Disc Golf in Hickory.

Dugger got involved with disc golf as a fun way to exercise.  

“I was needing to do more exercise, and I had played golf before and I had played disc golf back in college, so I decided to do that for my exercise, and I fell in love with it,” Dugger said.

Dugger decided he wanted to bring that love to his students. The Hudson Middle School Disc Golf Club had its first meeting in October. The group meets on Wednesdays after school and one Saturday a month. The club has a portable nine-goal course they set up in the school’s front yard or they can walk from the school to Redwood Park to play on the park’s permanent course.

The group has grown since its inception, and Dugger thinks it because disc golf isn’t like other after-school sports.

“I think they really enjoy the social aspect of it,” Dugger said, adding that competitors can talk casually as they traverse the course. “It doesn’t take away from the game.”

Disc golf also gives students who aren’t good at traditional athletics a chance to take part in a sport.

 “I still can’t catch a Frisbee, but I can throw one and walk and go pick it up and throw it again,” Dugger said.

Corey Kincaid, a seventh-grader at Hudson Middle School, has found real joy in disc golf.

“It’s really fun to play and it gets you exercise and anybody can do it,” Kincaid said.

He enjoys his time participating in the Disc Golf Club’s monthly tournaments so much he decided to enter a large tournament in Morganton. He was the youngest competitor at the tournament and to recognize his dedication and interest in the sport, a pro player at the tournament gave him an autographed disc.

“It felt really good. He gave me a disc and told me to keep practicing,” Kincaid said.

It is Dugger’s hope the idea of a Disc Golf Club will spread to the other middle schools and eventually students will be able to compete against clubs from other schools.

“We’re looking to try to grow the sport,” Dugger said. “My understanding is that the county bought discs and some disc catchers for all four middle schools in our county, and we’re hoping that come spring, all four middle schools will have Disc Golf Clubs.”

In trying to grow the sport and encourage other schools to join in, Dugger hopes disc golf will make an impact on students that will last far beyond middle school.

“It’s a sport they can do for the rest of their lives,” he said. ” It’s a sport you can really do and enjoy.”

- Hickory Daily Record

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