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Iron Blade

Disc Golf Tournament Set for Aug. 12

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  • From left, Brian Bingham, Recreation Leadership Professor Dan Caston, Kyle Hayhurst, and Seijin Campbell stand at the entrance to the college’s disc golf course.

  • Brian Bingham winds up for a throw.

  • Kyle Hayhurst preps to tee off.

  • Seijin Campbell sizes up an approach shot.

  • Recreation Leadership Professor Dan Caston releases a drive.

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Brian Bingham stands atop a tee box on the newly renovated Ferrum College Disc Golf Course. He checks the placard: 147 feet. Par 3. He sizes up the shot, winds up a couple times, and lets it fly down the fairway.

It curves around a tree that generally acts as a disc magnet, narrowly misses the bark, and sails peacefully beneath a canopy of pines that shade the course.

It skips softly on browned needles cushioning the forest floor and lands about 35 feet from the basket. Two short putts later, Bingham makes par. A smattering of forest birds and animals seem to voice their approval.

Bingham, a former Pro Disc Golf Association member, is in town with his golf buddy Kyle Hayhurst, a current member, and the two are on a bit of a disc golf tour. They left St. Louis a week earlier and are playing various courses in between.

Bingham’s eyes light up at the sight of the redesigned tee pads and manicured fairways.

“I played the course about five years ago,” he says. “It is so much nicer now.”

Since then, brush has been cut back, paths remarked, signage enhanced, and tee pads rebuilt. Pads that were once dirt are now raised, filled, and covered with artificial turf.

“Nice pads,” Hayhust says. “The whole course is nice.”

For this round, Bingham and Hayhurst are accompanied by newcomer to the sport 16-year-old Seijin Campbell as well as course manager and Ferrum Recreation Leadership Professor Dan Caston. Caston is leading the charge in the course renovations.

The course was built in 2008 but recently has seen major upgrades to accommodate both increased golfer traffic as well as an upcoming tournament. The tournament, to be held Aug. 12, is a C-Tier, PDGA-sanctioned singles tournament.

It is a one-day event with two rounds—one in the morning and one in the afternoon—and is being sponsored in part by Blade Gaming out of Roanoke. Tim Furrow, owner of Blade Gaming in Roanoke, is producing the event.

“We heard about Ferrum College’s recent addition of a disc golf class and that Dan Caston was putting in a lot of effort maintaining and updating Ferrum’s disc golf course,” Furrow says of the decision to sponsor the tournament.

The competition is being dubbed the “The Blade Challenge: Iron Blade Edition” and is the first tournament in a series designed to be low-cost events for all ages and skill levels.

“The theme of this specific event comes from Ferrum College having a newspaper/logo designed around an iron blade,” Furrow adds. “We figured this tournament would be a great way to kick off a reopening of the course.”

Caston says the tournament spurred much of the recent renovations.

“When they approached us back in January about the tournament, our course was not in good condition,” Caston says. “That kind of sparked us to take an initiative and make a complete overhaul.”

The “us” to which Caston refers is the Recreation Leadership Program on campus and Norton Outdoor Adventures (NOA), a campus resource for outdoor activities, information, instruction, and rental.

Aaron Conover, director of NOA, also had a hand in the course overhaul.

“Funding came from the Norton Outdoors Adventures Endowment. I helped with construction on some of the tee pads,” Conover says, “but it was mainly Dan and Mike (Paolicelli) who spearheaded it.”

Paolicelli is senior Recreation Leadership major.

“Part of Mike’s Recreation Leadership internship was doing construction on the course,” Caston says.

Bingham notes the upgrades are substantial.

“There were parts that were almost unplayable when I was here before,” he says. “But now it’s an enjoyable course. So much of it is shaded, and the sun isn’t beating you down the whole time. There are also some challenging holes.”

All holes are par 3, with the longest being hole 3 at 419 feet and the shortest coming in at 135 feet (although it is straight uphill).

Three alternate holes are being added to the course for the event, bringing the total to 21.

“That means we can have up to 80-85 contestants,” Caston says, “and we have a very deep pool for placement. So, if you get first place, you get this. If you get second, you get this, and this, and this—it’s pretty deep into the field.”

Winnings will be determined by the amount of people participating, and Blade Gaming is also contributing prizes.

There are 17 divisions for the event, ranging from a Mixed Pro Open to a Mixed Junior division. Entry fees vary depending on the respective division. Cost ranges from $45-$55, and there is a $10 additional fee for players not registered in the PDGA.

“Our hope is creating a fun tournament day of disc golf with great prizes and a unique experience on a brand-new reopening of a course!” Furrow says.

Anyone who wishes to register for the Aug. 12 tournament may do so by clicking here.

For help choosing a division, click here for PDGA guidelines

Divisions are as follows:

$55.00–MPO–Mixed Pro Open

$55.00–FPO–Women’s Pro Open

$55.00–MP40–Mixed Pro 40+

$55.00–FP40–Women’s Pro 40+

$45.00–MA1–Mixed Amateur 1

$45.00–FA1–Women’s Amateur 1

$45.00–MA40–Mixed Amateur 40+

$45.00–MA50–Mixed Amateur 50+

$45.00–MA2–Mixed Amateur 2

$45.00–FA2–Women’s Amateur 2

$45.00–MA3–Mixed Amateur 3

$45.00–FA3–Women’s Amateur 3

$45.00–MA4–Mixed Amateur 4

$45.00–MJ18–Mixed Junior 18

$45.00–FJ18–Girls’ Junior 18

$45.00–MJ15–Mixed Junior 15

$45.00–FJ15–Girls’ Junior 15

A Grand Opening for the redesigned course is scheduled for Aug. 8. More information to follow soon.

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