Located in Banner Elk, NC, Lees-McRae College hosts a scenic 9 hole course in need of some love after its 2017 initiation…and Disc Golf Dash is on the job…literally!
After reaching out to the college and making a few contacts I found out there was an opportunity on campus to not only improve the course, but to also teach the Outdoor Recreation 110 Disc Golf course. At first, I was hesitant. Who am I to teach others? What if the students have questions I can’t answer? How can I balance this with my day-to-day work?
However, I do have a background in instruction, and obviously a passion for the sport. Why not take all the knowledge I have shared with my site readers and use it to help students gain an understanding and hopefully help #growthesport? Plus, this could be a great opportunity to get an insider’s perspective on making some improvements to my home course and see it taken to the next level. While I do appreciate having the access to this 9 basket beauty, it is in need of some minor changes to get it up to par.
Read on to find out more information on the Lees-McRae disc golf course…
The course begins near the Mill Pond Waterfall with tee #1 being 138ft and a par 3 shot. In fact, every hole is given a par 3. The course continues along the Mill Pond with 4 of the first 5 baskets having a water hazard to avoid.
You then cross Hickory Gap Nut Rd…more than likely the road you drove in on to park near basket #1. This will lead you to the remaining 4 holes located around the Williams gymnasium. Basket #9 is located back towards the Mill Pond to complete the “loop” and course.
You might have a hard time finding a more beautiful beginning to a course. You’re literally standing next to a waterfall, and the soothing sounds of running water that flow down the Elk River.
While playing you’ll inevitably play through a flock of geese and ducks (feel free to share some of those snacks, but no bread please). You might also get lucky enough to spot a river otter or two playing in the waterway.
The holes are short with the longest shot being ~250ft…giving the beginner a chance at par or better. The course is open to both students and the community alike. Although the mountain weather can be unpredictable I have yet to play a round and feel hot afterwards.
“Every problem is an opportunity in disguise” – John Adams
As mentioned above the first several holes are right next to Mill Pond. Without much of a warm – up area or time to gauge the mountain breeze, a beginner might find themselves fishing out their new disc golf discs. Be sure to check out our Best Disc Golf Retrievers if you plan to play here.
New tee’s please! Several of the baskets, including the first, don’t have designated tee pads. This can make your first visit a bit confusing. I found myself using the Udisc app to measure the distance from the basket back the designated feet from the hole and well, making the most of it.
Street crossings are not my favorite, neither is playing near them. Unfortunately this course has both. After basket 5 you’ll cross the street to hole 6…which plays right next to this same road. As a local I can tell you this street is not the busiest of them all, but you will need to keep an eye out for vehicles before throwing your next few shots.
In The Mountains, Of The Mountains, For The Mountains…
When I reached out to the college I had no intention of taking on teaching disc golf. My only goal was to discuss with someone the possibilities of moving some of the basket locations, improving the tee’s, and expanding the course. Perhaps it was the vision I had or the passion I showed, regardless, I am excited to see where this opportunity leads.
Lees-McRae College is interested in making some improvements to this course. I for one hope this comes true. While the course has some areas that could be updated, I hope you will take a chance to visit and play. Give us some feedback in the comments on what you would change. As Banner Elk is a great vacation destination, I believe this can be an asset to the community and college alike.
Until next time,