Disc Go Dis Way

New Team on Campus Helps Fill LAX Void
Senior Brodie Johnson, right, and Coach Dan Caston retrieve their discs from the basket and head to the next hole.
Senior Brodie Johnson, right, and Coach Dan Caston retrieve their discs from the basket and head to the next hole.
Grace Weaver
A flying disc comes to a land directly above the target as the team proceeds to the next challenge on the course.

“Did you mean to hit that tree?” jokes Brodie Johnson, senior, as he witnesses a bright green disc thrown by his opponent soar directly into the leaves above.

There always seems to be some light banter when the Ferrum Disc Golf Team practices along the on-campus course.

Disc golf is a sport that is gaining popularity. The original course here was built in 2008 along the corner of campus with the entrance at the Burrows-Skeens Tennis Courts.

The sport, however, gained little traction on campus until recent renovations, alongside the efforts of Recreation Professor Dan Caston, who founded and coaches the new team.

In the Spring of 2023,  the course gained the addition of competition-grade tee pads, or the giant block on which the disc is initially launched at each portion of the game, enhancing the course altogether. In fact, Caston attributes significant credit to the after-effect of the newly renovated course.

“We did a major renovation last spring, and that was what partly prompted the ‘team’ as they call us, and it nurses new energy around the facility itself,” Caston explains.

The course is called a “tree course” and weaves along the wood line of campus in an approximately 1.25-mile loop, with 18 holes total. Made to play traditionally with a team of four, the leisure game can be modified to cater to each participating group.

Caston prides on the adaptability and fun that disc golf provides for the community.

“All kinds of abilities can play in the same group, have a great time, and no one gets stressed out about it, even with the mental aspect,” Caston asserts. “We play a unique sport that you can do for the rest of your life at different levels of engagement.”

The diversity is evident as the disc golf team comes together each Tuesday and Friday. As a team of fewer than 10, there is little similarity in each member’s journey of finding the sport. Nonetheless, their bond seems thick. Nathan Peach, senior, is just one of many who feel this way.

Peach was recently a member of the Men’s Lacrosse team before the sport was removed from the athletic program.

“It all started as a missed opportunity that turned into a new opportunity,” he says. “I wouldn’t say that it’s a time filler, because I truly enjoy this, and it’s definitely a source of leisure on campus and a good excuse to be around. Everyone on the team is really nice, and it’s a good team atmosphere. We challenge each other every day.”

Joey Province, junior, agrees, adding the amount of satisfaction he feels as the disc clinks into the basket each round.

“Putting the disc in the basket is my favorite part,” Province states in a competitive tone. “That’s the first thing I liked about it. Now it is the opportunity to hang out with my friends. It’s pretty cool.”

Johnson offers a more humorous take on the matter.

The Disc Golf Team treks to the next location of their discs, filling the air with cheerful banter and competitive ribbing. (Grace Weaver)

“I like the colors of the discs and that they make me smile,” he says. “I am outside in the woods a lot, and I don’t mind walking, I guess.”

Johnson then adds that it keeps his athletic spirit alive.

“It keeps me from missing my old sport, and I like the sense of individual competition,” he says.

There is more to discs than just color that Johnson holds so dearly. As Caston explains, each disc carries its own flight characteristic and must be flown accordingly, increasing the challenge of the sport. He also notes that there are different methods of throwing the disc, such as the Tomahawk.

“The side-arm throw is the equivalent of hitting a baseball left-handed. That’s the movement, but you’re throwing it right-handed,” he says. “The Tomahawk grips the disc across the top, creating a spin with the thumb that launches a disc high into the air.”

As their participation numbers continue to rise, the team meets twice a week to improve its performance and to have a good time while doing it. The sport may be more complex than it seems.

“There are lots of little rules and peculiarities–that is the nuance of the sport,” Caston remarks.

While perhaps initially a challenge, the little rules and regulations are not enough to dampen the mood that comes alongside the experience of playing the game.

“I love being out in the woods,” comments Madison Cruz, junior. “It’s a really enjoyable and competitive environment. You just want to keep competing with yourself. It is super fun. I got into it last year, and I have absolutely loved it since I picked it up.”

The college’s disc golf course is open to the community, and it even has its own interactive scoring app. The team encourages any and all to come play the course.

Currently, a disc golf tournament is slated for March 16! Registration details will soon follow.



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