Course designed for students, friends to share recreation, fellowship.
Photos and story by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — If you’ve driven past Paschal Golf Course recently, you might have noticed the installation of several concrete pads and chained baskets on an unused piece of land between the course and Durham Road.
Those are the “tees” and “holes” on a 9-hole disc golf course that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has set up for students, staff and invited guests.
Disc golf is a relatively popular low-impact, inexpensive sport that involves throwing small-sized Frisbee-like discs at the small baskets. The course opened Oct. 12.
“Everybody keeps saying they enjoy it. People that have played — I’m hearing good things,” says Mike Parry, the seminary’s Ledford Center supervisor who dreamed up the new activity with full support of the institution’s administration.
The land formerly belonged to the Paschal family descendants and was attached to their old family home on Durham Road. After a housing plan for the site fell through, the seminary acquired the land and the residence, which is being fixed up to be used as a guest house.
That left the sliver of green space with some of the same expansive views as the golf course itself.
“We wanted to figure out a way to get the community and students involved, a good opportunity for non-members to be able to play with members,” says Parry. “It’s a great opportunity to talk about Christ. Even amongst students, it’s also a great discipleship opportunity.”
Quoting Proverbs, he adds, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Students can go out and sharpen their theology and how they think about God and God’s word.”
It’s not a public course. But there are opportunities for outsiders to play, with the many seminarians that permeate the Wake Forest community. Any student, faculty, staff member and their families can play. Each member may also invite two guests to play, Parry says.
All they need to do is sign up at the Ledford Center, check out a disc, (or bring their own) and head back to the first hole, which begins at a downgrade in the southwest corner of the Patterson Hall parking lot.
The overall space is a bit tight, so while some of the holes are easy to navigate across an open field of grass, several go through or around trees to provide a little bit of a challenge.
The seminary also offers flag-football and Ultimate Frisbee, which are played on a separate field behind Patterson. Because it has its own course, disc golf can be played simultaneously as those other activities during daylight hours.
“I’d never played myself. I’m an Ultimate Frisbee player,” says Parry. “I had to do a lot of research on it, I took local disc golf courses into consideration, I wanted to make it at least comparable, make it a little technical. In a wide-open field, it’s hard to make it challenging.”
“To make it difficult … you use elevation, you try to find trees to kind of guard the baskets,” he adds.
On Tuesday, Ethan Crowder, a graduate student working on his Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies, demonstrated for The Wake Weekly how the game is played.
He brought along several discs, one for drives that can be thrown further, one for mid-range throws and a “putter” built a little tougher, as it frequently smacks into the chains.
Other players may have other specialty discs, though the game may be played with just one, costing about $8-$9.
The next nearest course is in Franklinton, which isn’t convenient for him with his work and school schedules.
“It’s really nice that they put this in,” he says.