Rogersville is located between two popular disc golf destinations: Morristown, which has multiple courses, and Laurel Run Park near Church Hill, where a course was installed in 2015.
There’s also a course at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport.
Alderman Mark DeWitte, who recommended approval of the new disc golf course, said one goal was to try to catch some of the disc golfers traveling between those two destinations.
Another motive for installing the new disc golf course was to keep the park active and to make use of all the underutilized nooks and crannies.
DeWitte admitted, however, that the project wasn’t his idea, but was suggested by a friend, Cam Shwartz, of Kingsport, who is an avid disc golfer.
“He suggested to me that if we wanted to keep the park active, and keep the park safer, that disc golf may be something to look into,” DeWitte said. “If we had the right crowd in there roaming the entire park basically, it would keep some of the I don’t want to say riffraff, but some of the unwelcome guests out of some of the darker corners of the park.”
DeWitte met at the park one day with Parks Director Bryce Lackey, Shwartz, and a friend of Shwartz who designs disc golf courses, Tim Barr.
After walking the perimeter, they determined Rogersville City Park would be perfect for an 18-basket disc golf venue.
The design cost $1,000, and the city was able to acquire some high quality used baskets for $4,780.
“We still need to finish up with some concrete tee boxes, but the baskets are in, and it’s receiving quite a bit of play,” DeWitte said. “The intention is to seek some donations or sponsorship for the tee boxes, and that’s something we’re hoping to work on this year.”
Longtime disc golfers Patrick Henard and Jeremy Vaughn, both of Surgoinsville, usually play at Warriors Path or in Morristown, but they were enjoying the Rogersville course Monday afternoon.
Both agreed that it is convenient and challenging.
“It’s like five minutes from my house if you want to get in a quick game,” Henard said. “I like the baskets. They’ve got some really good baskets. They need some tee pads, but it’s not that big a deal. It’s still a really fun course.”
Vaughn added, “I like it. It’s got good technical shots. Long shots. It’s got it all.”
Lackey told the Times News he didn’t have any experience with disc golf until now, and he was surprised by how much it has been utilized.
“It’s a big hit,” Lackey said Thursday afternoon. “There’s six or seven carloads out there right now playing. At any given time, there’s somebody out there on the course, and of course, on weekends there’s generally a big crowd.”
Lackey said Rogersville’s course will hopefully begin to host tournaments and traveling leagues soon, which would play into one of DeWitte’s motives for promoting the project.
DeWitte said, “I don’t play disc golf. My intention was to get more people into the park. It’s amazing to me how people travel to play disc golf. They go from one end of the region to the other, stopping at every disc golf course they can find. That puts us between Laurel Run Park and Morristown as a good stop for them. It’s not going to be a huge tourism hit, but there will be some people stop there who wouldn’t normally stop in Rogersville.”