BY JOHN H. WALKER
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Tarboro residents could have a new activity and there could be a draw to bring more people to town if members of the Tarboro town council make the decision to do more than ask for additional information regarding a disc golf course proposed for Indian Lake Park.
Shirley Wainwright, her son-in-law, Brian Schweberger and former disc golf state association representative Kirk Yoo brought their idea to the council and, while it was the first time for the council to hear about it face-to-face, Wainwright and Schweberger both met with Parks and Recreation Director Cheryl Gay last summer with Schweberger and Gay walking the area around Indian Lake and Schweberger designed a proposed course on an aerial photo provided by Gay.
On Thursday, Schweberger said he had never heard back from Gay, after either meeting — Monday’s council session or last summer’s walking of the park.
Schweberger, who lives in Tarboro, is the current Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) U.S. Masters champion, having won the sport’s equivalent of the golf Masters in Burlington in May. He has designed three courses — Rocky Mount, Carthage and Goldsboro — and is one of more than 40,000 persons who are members of PDGA.
Disc golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of a ball and clubs, however, players use a flying disc, or Frisbee®. The sport was formalized in the 1970's, and shares with "ball golf" the object of completing each hole in the fewest number of strokes (or, in the case of disc golf, fewest number of throws). A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target, which is the "hole". The hole can be one of a number of disc golf targets; the most common is called a Pole Hole®, which is an elevated metal basket.
As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. Finally, the "putt" lands in the basket and the hole is completed.
Tournaments are held regularly, bringing as many as 140 disc golfers to a community and generating business for motels, eating establishments, gas stations and other retail locations.
There are nine courses within 50 miles of Tarboro, including Farmville, Williamston, Wilson and two each in Greenville and Rocky Mount.
As Yoo, a two-time NC Masters champion from Knightdale, was making his presentation, council member Rick Page helped clarify the tee box and holes and joined in by adding information as Yoo continued.
An 18-hole disc course would have minimal impact on public use of the park, both Page and Yoo pointed out.
The cost of an 18-hole course is estimated to be about $9,800 and both Wainwright and Yoo said they felt Schweberger’s sponsor, Innova, would be willing to help with the course.
Mayor Pro Tem Taro Knight asked Gay is she was aware of disc golf and she acknowledged she was, having heard presentations at various conferences. Gay said she hadn’t done anything additional in regards to the course because she knew there were budget concerns.
Mayor Donald Morris told the three that the council simply didn’t have enough knowledge about the sport or what would be needed to build a course and suggested they bring a detailed explanation to the August 12 meeting.
Knight was a bit stronger in the discussion, asking for the detailed information and layout to be brought to the next meeting, but advising Gay to get with the group to participate in the process.
“If this can bring people to town and generate revenue, we don’t need to sit on it another year.”