Disc golf is for everyone and anyone. People of all ages and abilities who can enjoy a hike through fields and woods can enjoy disc golf. The rules mirror ball golf, but with specialized discs thrown toward a basket from a marked tee pad. Fewest throws wins.

The High County has a home course. A fantastic, albeit challenging, 18-hole course complete with open field throws, heavily wooden areas and tee pads for amateur and pro level play is tucked in Ashe County Park in Jefferson just a few miles from downtown.

The park takes the course one step further by providing scorecards and tee pad markers complete with disc golf tips and information on the flora and fauna in the area played.

The course is roughly a 1.5-mile hike, if you throw straight. Part of the fun is the difficult shots trying to play around trees, through the tiny gaps, and the pond on hole 3. The specialized discs are made to arc, or hyzer, in flight to help get out of these tricky spots.

Disc golf is also an inexpensive sport to learn. Most of the disc golf manufacturers, such as Innova (a partner in the Ashe County Park) offer a three-disc starter pack including a driver for the long distance tee shots, a mid range for the second shot up to the basket, and a putter for the short-range basket shots. Like any sport, it can snowball from there after you have been bitten by the disc golf bug into a custom bag or backpack, and a plethora of discs all designed for flight path, throwing style, and just plain ol' looks preference.

Locally, Mast General Store offers a selection of discs. A new person could start with a single mid-range disc and play the whole course (if you avoid the pond) with one to give it a try before committing to a full set.

Kids may also earn free gear through the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program. The program aims to get kids and families “unplugged” and reconnected to nature. Rounds played at the Ashe County Park can be registered at www.kidsinparks.com for the chance at free gear for future games.

With easy rules to learn and a solid hike to enjoy, the only thing you have to lose is a few discs.

Melanie as a born-again Hillbetty attempting to revive her Appalachian roots. She lives in Creston with her two dogs and 21 chickens.

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