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Local planner helping disc golf club take flight

A new initiative is underway to get a disc golf club started at Hinson Lake.
Deon Cranford — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — Tucked inside the woods at Hinson Lake is one of Richmond County’s newest sporting venues. It’s one that can give local sports fans some reprieve during the coronavirus pandemic.

Disc golf has grown in popularity in the area thanks to the construction of an 18-hole course in the fall of 2018 by Richmond Young Professionals. And now Chris McDonald, a Rockingham native, is hoping to help keep people and the park active during the summer months.

A 2013 graduate of Richmond Senior High School, and a current master’s student at North Carolina State University, McDonald is hoping to start a disc golf club. He got the inspiration from seeing the success of similar programs in Mecklenburg and Scotland counties.

“I first got into the sport about five years ago,” McDonald, an associate planner for the City of Charlotte, said. “Since quarantine started, I’ve gotten back into it a lot more thanks to a friend. Now I’m playing two or three times a week, watching YouTube videos, the whole nine yards.

“The idea really came to me when I realized there were hundreds of members in Scotland County’s Facebook page,” he continued. “I thought this would be something great for our community and get people outside during COVID-19.”

Currently there are roughly 75 people involved in the Hinson Lake disc golf Facebook group. McDonald is hoping to spark an interest and see that number rise, along with the activity on the course.

While he’s still throwing around ideas, McDonald said there are several ways people can enjoy the sport. He noted that abiding by any social distancing requirements shouldn’t be an issue, as players can shoot a round individually or safely play scrambles or captain’s choice like regular golf.

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On top of helping inspire others to exercise and find a new activity to get involved with, McDonald also sees the potential club as a way to unite the community and help give back to his hometown.

“If people want physical exercise, this is a great way to do it,” he shared. “For $25 you can buy a set of discs and go outside and enjoy a new sport. There are a lot of big positives with disc golf.

“About a month ago, I went to play a round with my brother, Cameron, and there was a lot of beer bottles and trash,” he added. “My fiance, Taylor, and I cleaned it up on a Saturday and it made me think the club could also serve as a way to help maintain the park and make our community and environment better.” 

As he looks to gain interest from local players, McDonald plans to meet with Rockingham city officials to see what needs to be done in order to incorporate the club with the upkeep and use of Hinson Lake’s course.

A likely timeline for the new club to get off the ground, McDonald said, is by mid August. He’s also thinking of having tournaments and plans to reach out to RYP for planning and support.

McDonald can be reached on Facebook and can answer questions pertaining to the new disc golf club.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.