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Disc golf tournament coming to Clanton

Disc golf is a sport that is gaining interest regionally, and Clanton will be at the heart of its growth in central Alabama when it hosts the Frozen Disc Tournament on Jan. 23.

The tournament will be played on the disc golf course at Clanton City Park.

Eighty players will take part in the event with five different states represented. Eleven of the competitors will be women.

The action is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Jan. 23 with a two-round singles tournament, while a doubles competition will be held Jan. 24.

“COVID really sparked a jolt in the game of disc golf,” said D.J. Hines, who is helping organize the tournament. “It’s an outdoor sport that you can play socially distanced.”

Because of an increased interest locally, Hines said a disc golf summer league was started and after 45 people signed up for it, a fall league was then held.

“We had ages 60-plus to juniors, so it was well diverse,” Hines said.

He decided to help organize the tournament after talking with his friend Blake Muir, who also enjoys disc golf.

According to Hines, preparation for the event included having to reconstruct the layout of the course due to damage from the tropical storms that came through the area.

When they first put word out about the tournament, they did not expect to get such an interest from people from neighboring states.

“It really blew up,” Hines said. “We couldn’t believe it.”

He believes that the disc golf course is something that can be used to host more tournaments in the future and is an asset that can help show off what Clanton has to offer to those traveling into town for an event.

“This is something I think people can get behind,” Hines said.

Several local businesses have offered up ways to support the tournament, including Neighborhood Grill offering gift cards for players who get “closest to the pin.”

The Sports Shop in Clanton is located not far from the course and has some of the essential equipment needed to get started playing the game.

In many ways, disc golf is similar to regular golf, but instead of the goal being to get a ball in a hole in the ground, the object is to throw a disc into a metal-chained basket.

The Clanton course consists of 18 holes and is one of the few courses in the region. It has par-3 and par-4 holes, and each throw is counted toward that hole’s par.

According to Hines, one of the next steps in course improvement is getting concrete tee pads. It is something he has already discussed with Mayor Jeff Mims.

Also, as in traditional golf, players do not use just one disc on every shot, but have several discs of various sizes and weights that they carry with them in their bag.

“You build your bag based on how you like to shoot,” Hines said.

Although the spots in the tournament are already filled up, Hines welcomed any residents that wish to come out and be a spectator of the event.

“People would really gain an appreciation if they saw it in person,” Hines said.

The plan is to have disc golf summer and fall leagues again in 2021, as well as a par-2 event in May and a possible tournament in the summer in conjunction with the Peach Festival.