MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE)– East Tennessee is known for many things outdoors: hiking the mountains, boating in the rivers and now disc golf.
The city of Morristown was ranked fourth for the best small town disc golf courses across the country, according to Udisc.
For avid local players and city officials, this wasn’t exactly ‘news.’
“It just put a stamp on some things we already knew; that we are a destination station. People do love to play disc golf in Morristown, Tennessee and Hamblen County,” Craig Price, the city’s Parks and Recreation Director, said.
Price said the first course was built in 2007 by a well-known disc golf course designer HB Clark.
Clark then partnered with the city, county and state to build three more courses in the area over the next ten years. Price said the city has a course for every level of disc golfer.
“What do you feel like? Do you want to grip it an rip it at Cherokee or at Rotary? Or do you want to do the technical course down here at Wayne Hansard at Kiwanis? Or if you really want to go big time, go down to Panther Creek,” Price said.
Kiwanis Disc Golf Course, the Rotary Disc Golf Course, Cherokee Disc Golf Course and Panther Creek Disc Golf Course were all built by Clark.
Robert Smith started playing disc golf in 2015. After his first throw, he was hooked.
“I think I played 365 days. I didn’t miss a day. Rain, snow, it didn’t matter. We was out here playing,” Smith said. For him, the sport was a life saver.
“I was a widowed dad. I had kids come out to the park. The kids could play while I disc golfed. And it gave me something to do, enjoy and I met so many great people out here,” Smith said.
Smith said he’s been to several different courses around the country, but none of them truly compare to his home courses.
“(All of) which are nice courses, but as far as maintained, I don’t think you’ll find any better than here in Morristown,” Smith said.
Smith agreed that Morristown has a dis golf course for every level. He said Kiwanis is great for beginners to learn proper technique.
Price said that because of their great courses, and some push from the tourism department, the city became known as the disc golf capital of the state and started hosting the state championship, which is a PDGA US Nationals qualifying tournament.
Those tournaments bring in hundreds of visitors to Morristown from across the country, and the city usually sees a huge jump in revenue when they’re going on.
“On the tournament weekends, the local restaurants will, they’ll ask when those tournaments are coming up and so forth, especially the ones located in and around Frank Lorino Park,” Price said.
Price said he loved that the hard work local officials put in to making the courses great had been recognized. He said disc golf can be for anyone of any age or gender, and it’s a great way to spend time outdoors.
Price hopes they can build more courses in the future, but for now they’ll focus on maintaining the current ones.
Smith said disc golf was already growing pretty rapidly in Morristown, but the new national ranking will show more people why they should visit the city.
“If you’re wanting to vacation, you know, you got Gatlinburg and stuff like that, but you come to Morristown and you spend the day playing disc golf, you’ll never be disappointed,” Smith said.