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Montgomery County disc golf course sees improvements ahead of October tournament

Mark Hay throws a disc at the Burbine Memorial Forest Disc Golf Course
Lucas Willard
Mark Hay throws a disc at the Burbine Memorial Forest Disc Golf Course

A disc golf course in rural Montgomery County is seeing upgrades ahead of a tournament scheduled for next month. Officials hope the popular facility will continue to attract players to the area.

Mark Hay stands on a platform under the shady canopy of the Burbine Memorial Forest in Charleston. He holds a brightly-colored flying disc in his hand…

“This is kind of a tricky hole to start on, because the gap isn’t very big, but we’re throwing down through the trees…”

This is the first of the 18-hole Burbine Memorial Forest disc golf facility, which was first proposed by Hay to local officials in late 2019, and opened in October 2020.

The goal of the game is to toss a disc down the course – in this instance, between hardwood trees – and into the basket at the other end, in as few throws as possible.

Before Hay, a member of the Capital Region Disc Golf Club, pitched the idea, the forest was something most residents just drove past.

“This forest wasn’t really used before. There’s a handful of hunters that would use it during the year, but now it’s used throughout the year. And you see people, not even disc golfers, walking the trails that are established here,” said Hay.

On Wednesday, officials gathered in an expanded parking lot at the facility. Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort, a Republican, announced a number of improvements for the disc golf course.

“Just recently we passed a resolution at the county – and I’d like to thank our county legislators – for $100,000 to expand the parking lot, which can now hold 40 to 45 cars, depending on peoples’ parking abilities, and a shed has been delivered for a bathroom facility which is going to house two incineration toilets,” said Ossenfort. “We are also further going to install a kiosk that will allow for menus and other tourism information, and we plan to bring in a pavilion and picnic tables.”

The improvements were announced just ahead of the planned “Blues at Burbine” disc golf tournament. Last year’s inaugural tournament brought amateur and pro disc golfers alike, and officials want to see the annual tournament grow.

Nearly 80 people are signed up to play in the October 22nd event.

Ossenfort said he was proud of all the community members who have helped make the upcoming tournament – and the course itself – a reality.

“We want to make this one of the best courses in the Northeast, and I say, ‘Why the heck not?’ One of the best courses in the country. And keep pushin’ and pushin’ and pushin’ and having more tournaments, better tournaments and getting some pros in here and really showcasing this area, because I think once you come to this area, once you come to Montgomery County you realize what a great place it is,” said Ossenfort.

As Wednesday’s event was wrapping up, two disc golfers were making their way across the parking lot after playing a round.

Cody Stephenson says he enjoys how the course is tucked into the wilderness and says a round of disc golf is a way to get a workout and have fun at the same time.

“It’s real exciting. They actually did a really good job. They have a lot of new equipment, they got a broom at every station and stuff. They take care of it.”

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.