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Frisbee golf makes debut in Hinesville
Ransom Wilkes-Davis helped build the new Eagle’s Nest Disc Golf Course in James Brown Park. Wilkes-Davis took on the challenge as his eagle scout project, raising the funds and designing the course. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

In his own words

Frisbee Golf by Ransom Wilkes-Davis

     Yellow topped metal baskets popped up all over James Brown Park, as Ransom Wilkes-Davis an ambitious Boy Scout, led a group of fellow scouts and volunteers from the community in the construction of Hinesville's first ever Disc Golf Course.

                Disc golf started in the 60's. The very first courses were made up of objects, like poles, trees, garbage cans, and fire hydrants. Then Ed Headrick the father of disc golf invented the first Disc golf Frisbee and disc pole target.  Today thanks to Ed Headrick's idea there are over 2500 disc golf courses in the USA. There are over 7,000,000 million people who have played the sport, and 24,000 avid disc golfers are members of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA).

                Ransom began this project almost a year ago. Ransom's three brothers and sister would go to nearby schools and parks and try to hit objects like trees, garbage cans, poles, and fire hydrants. They kept score like real disc golfers and competed among themselves. They first realized that disc golf was an actual sport when visiting Rocky Mount, NC, where they discovered real disc golf targets in one of the local parks.

Soon they had played at different courses in the Carolinas, and Georgia, and after research online they found out that Disc golf was a worldwide sport. During this time Ransom was trying to find ideas for his Eagle Scout Project, and he realized he could build a disc golf course in Hinesville.

                After getting his project idea approved he kicked off fundraising in August with a 100 mile bike-a-thon, where sponsors donated $1300. He then sold chocolate bars and used books online.  With those proceeds and local sponsors like Century Tel, Heritage Bank, and Stafford law group he met his goal of $3000. Finally LCRD provided the rest of the funds to reach his goal of $3700.

 A month before the project was to undergo construction, Ransom met with the president of the Savannah Disc Golf Club, his Scoutmaster, and Jimmy Martin the director of the LCRD to discuss the course design and layout. Ransom said, “I am excited about the increased park involvement and fun anyone from 6 to 99 can have playing the great sport of disc golf.” As Ransom said disc golf is for all ages, so come by James Brown Park and enjoy the 7,000,000 million people who have played the sport.

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If you’ve walked the nature trail at James Brown Park lately you may have noticed the oddly shaped cones with metal rings around them. No, they aren’t new bird feeders. They are, in fact, part of a new nine-hole Frisbee golf course now open to the public.

The course wraps around the length of the trail and consists of par 3, 4 and 5 holes. It’s open from daylight to dark and is free to use.

"Disc golf is one of those activities that we’ve known about for a long time," Liberty County Recreation Department Director Jimmy Martin said. "It was one of the items contained in the park system’s master plan study that was done five years ago."

Martin said it was identified as a potential activity that the LCRD could implement in the county’s park system. They were interested in developing the course but Martin said it was the work of one young man that made the course a reality.

"Around a year ago, a young man named Ransom Wilkes-Davis came to us wanting to do his Boy Scout project and create the course as his Eagle Scout project," Martin said.

"I was working on ideas for my Eagle project and I had started playing at some disc golf courses in South Carolina and North Carolina," said Wilkes-Davis, 15, and a member of Troop 410. "I approached my scout master (Joel Jacobs) with the idea and then I came to the LCRD and spoke with Jimmy Martin. He thought it was good idea and we started fundraising and in February, we constructed it."

Wilkes-Davis said he became a Frisbee golf enthusiast when he moved to Columbia, S.C. His father was transferred there from the military recently and the youngster said he still comes to Hinesville for his troop meetings.

"I decided that I wanted to build one here so that Hinesville would have one," he said. "We were passing by a park in North Carolina and saw baskets and targets and my dad was familiar with the sport. So we saw the course and we decided to play the course and we started researching other courses."

Wilkes-Davis said he’s been hooked on the game ever since. He said he plays on different courses roughly twice a month and while each course is different he considers himself an average player.

Martin said the young man paved the way and did most of the work with his troop squad.

"We went through all the procedural matters to get that approved and he went out and got sponsors and raised all the money," Martin explained. "He looked at different plans and along with us planned out the course."

Martin said they got help from the professional disc golf association.

"And he actually came out with his scout troop and other volunteers and installed the course," Martin said.

He added that several disc golfers have played the course and say it’s a good lay out.

For now you must bring your own equipment but Martin said they are trying to get some discs which the community can sign out and use for the day.

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