By Michael Leavy
If you’re tired of lugging clubs around and following a dress code, disc golf may be the thing for you. And it’s closer than you think.
One of the top courses in New Jerey is near Morristown at Greystone Woods, in Morris Plains at Central Park of Morris County, on the former grounds of Greystone Park State Psychiatric Hospital.
The course recently hosted the Summer Solstice Tournament, where 72 players played two rounds for prizes. The Greystone Woods Disc Golf Club also holds weekly events.
The Professional Disc Golf Organization describes the sport this way:
A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target, which is the “hole.” The hole can be one of a number of disc golf targets; the most common is an elevated metal basket.
As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive throw from the spot where the previous throw landed. The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. Finally, the “putt” lands in the basket and the hole is completed.
Course designer and disc golf fan Jeff Mahler discovered the game when he was in college.
“I was on an ultimate Frisbee team in college and saw my first object course on campus. It wasn’t until after college and a friend of mine took me to the Rutgers campus and actually showed me the first basket I’d ever seen, and true golf discs,” said the Parsippany native, who now resides in Bloomfield.
Mahler was hooked and it just grew from there.
“A couple of years later, I was dipping my toes into tournaments. Thirty years later, I’m building courses and running events.”
Another player who got the bug is newcomer Dan McGuire of Mendham. He started in September 2018 and his interest is growing faster than the grass at Greystone.
“Dan found his way out here, figured out what was going on, all of a sudden he’s out here, he’s gung ho, and he’s helping with tournaments and putting together clinics for underprivileged kids through a charity he works with,” Mahler said.
Like all golfers, Dan and Jeff have some tips. They recommend smaller discs, as you can get more distance off the tee.
Tournament golfers Taylor Mandel and John McDuff recommend a pace of play that applies to all forms of golf– and maybe to life as well.
“You need to play slow and smooth,” Mandel said.
“Don’t try to do too much,” added McDuff. “Take the bogey if it comes.”
The Greystone Woods Disc Golf Club meets every Wednesday at 6 pm at the 18-hole disc golf course for a best-shot tournament.
All are welcome, and can put five dollars in for a chance to win prizes, or just play along to get more familiar with the sport.
The club also hosts a 10 am Sunday “tag round”– where you play to eliminate everyone else and win the lowest tag.