When Parker’s Pasture Disc Golf Course opened in 2019, it provided Covington’s 160-acre Central Park with one of its showpieces and gave Newton County residents and their families another healthy, cost-effective avenue for outdoor recreation.
by Gabriel Stovall
Once Greg Mote was bitten by the disc golf bug, his enthusiasm for the sport became contagious. A lifelong Newton County resident and an avid soccer player who still likes to hit the pitch on occasion, Mote was not unaccustomed to working up a sweat on an athletic field. He has three sons—ages 12, 14 and 19—who all play soccer, and their competitive nature keeps him young. However, when Mote discovered disc golf through his sons, it rekindled the flames within.
“It began when my oldest and a bunch of guys who are his friends got together to go play before leaving to go off to college,” Mote said. “Really, it was a gang of these guys and their fathers going out and playing it. I’d never heard of it before, but when I got the chance to play it, I was hooked.”
Think of disc golf as part ultimate frisbee and part golf, all on an open plane that closely resembles a golf course. The throwing motions are often similar to the discus event in track and field because the golf discs are smaller and heavier than traditional frisbees. Just like with traditional golf, the goal is for players to reach a basket or “hole” in as few attempts as possible. Therefore, the throws a player needs to reach each target are tallied and measured against par. Just as there are different kinds of clubs that are used to strike a ball in golf, there are various types of discs in disc golf—drivers, mid-range and putter discs—used in relation to a player’s proximity to the basket.
Mote remembers his first experiences with the sport when even his younger sons were running circles around him on the course.
“I was going out there and just heaving this thing with all my might, and it would go maybe 20 or 30 feet,” he said. “Then the kids would come up and just launch the thing, and it was like, ‘Why are y’all outthrowing me?’”
Soon, he learned the art of the throwing motion. Players can either throw forehand or backhand, and the power and speed of one’s throw comes more from the thrust of the hips and the flick of the wrist than the arm itself. Once Mote started seeing results, the sport drew him in further.
“It’s so beautiful and very well kept. It’s built like a golf course, but it’s almost like a walking trail, as well. There aren’t trails, but you can walk. It’s a wooded course. My wife walks the dog while I play. It’s an amazing venue.”Greg Mote
“I’ve only been playing for about three months now,” he said, “but I’d say I’ve probably gone to play about 30 or 40 times in the last two months.”
Accessibility has been a driving force in his increased activity. Parker’s Pasture Disc Golf Course—which was constructed in Central Park between the East and West wards in Covington—opened in late 2019 and provides a perfect setting to take in or participate in the game. The 18-hole course was designed by Brian Yoder and Kevin McCoy.
“It’s so beautiful and very well kept,” Mote said. “It’s built like a golf course, but it’s almost like a walking trail, as well. There aren’t trails, but you can walk. It’s a wooded course. My wife walks the dog while I play. It’s an amazing venue.”
Parker’s Pasture is free to play, providing a cost-effective option for families. In fact, the only cost associated with the local course involves the discs. Basic discs run from $10–$30, according to Mote, but more professional discs can cost upwards of $100. They can be found at infinitediscs.com, some Walmarts and various sporting goods stores. Mote has done his part to get the word out.
“Once, when we were driving home, we saw some guys out in the front yard of a house in our subdivision throwing cornhole, and then some were tossing the frisbee,” he said. “I pulled up to the side of the yard, and I told the guys, ‘Y’all know you can take this to a whole other level, right?’ That’s when I told them about the course. They were like, ‘Shut the front door!’ I think they’ve been out just as much as we have over the last couple of months.
“If more people knew about Parker’s Pasture, even if they weren’t wanting to play the game, they’d love it,” Mote added. “Just by word of mouth, people are beginning to understand how fun this game is.”
Tournaments for both recreational and professional players continue to spring up as the sport grows, including those hosted at Parker’s Pasture. Mote has one regret: that he did not discover the game sooner. While he does not sound ready to turn away from soccer completely, it seems safe to say that Parker’s Pasture will see plenty of Mote, his family and his friends moving forward.
“I miss soccer, and I’m definitely going to be going back to playing non-competitively,” he said, “but I’m telling you, during the summer, even early morning, going out to the course is a workout and a half. You really sweat and you’re really exerting energy throwing the disc around and walking the course. I love the game. It’s evolved so much, and I’m excited to see how it continues to grow.”
Parker’s Pasture Disc Golf Course is located at 3171 Pennington St. SW in Covington. For more information, contact the City of Covington at 770-385-2000.