For the last 3 months, Jeff and Jessica Cowen have been installing an 18-hole disc golf course on the Kudzu Cove Cabins property at 1576 Buck Island Road.
It’s a beautiful piece of property and the disc golf course takes advantage of all it has to offer. There are open shots in the bright sunshine, shots through tight lanes in the woods and even holes with water hazards. There are uphill and downhill shots and even a large hill people who have played the course like to ascend to take a long shot at a nearby hole.
One hole is on an island in the middle of a pond.
A “Double Flip” charity tournament to benefit the Guntersville High Crimson Guard band will be held on the new course today (Saturday) at 10 a.m. The cost is $5 and beginners are welcome.
Disc golf is a pretty simple sport. It’s golf but played with Frisbee-like discs. The “holes” are hanging baskets with chains. Land a disk anywhere in the basket and you’ve completed the hole.
You don’t just play with any old Frisbee. There are “utility disks” that you can play an entire course with (the Buzz disc is one) but people who get serious about the sport have specialized discs just as there are specialized golf clubs. There are driver, mid-range and putter discs. A complete set of discs is nowhere near as expensive as a complete set of golf clubs.
Jeff and Jessica have both played for years. Like other enthusiasts, they’d wanted a course in Guntersville for some time.
“This opportunity just fell in our laps,” Jeff said. Kudzu Cove owner Frank Harbin wanted to add another recreational amenity to the property and allowed Jeff to build the course.
“This is the first course I’ve ever designed,” he said.
But expert disc golfer Jeff Blazer, who has played 230 courses, told him it will likely become one of the top 5 courses in the state once completed. Every hole will have 2 stations for the basket, meaning the layout can be changed just like a tour level ball golf course.
A “putting course” will small baskets is being developed in a shady area near the cabins. Cabin guests have already been using it.
The Kudzu Cove course is thought to be only the 3rd disc golf course in Marshall County. There’s a 9-hole course at Lifepoint Church in Albertville, Jeff said, and an 18-hole course in the City Park in Arab.
Disc golf is designed to be a sport almost anyone can enjoy. Jeff and Jessica’s daughters, Shelby, 10, and Cinda, 8, both play and they're pretty good. (Shelby outhrew this reporter during the interview for this article.)
“We did a clinic at the State Park,” Jeff said. A woman in her 70s hit the basket with a disc and said, “I could get addicted to this.”
She also mentioned that it would help her “get her steps in” since most disc golf courses are walked. Pedometers and counting steps are big for people trying to watch their health.
You can play the sport with a $5 disc. Most disc golf courses are free to play or have a very modest fee if there is a charge.
Jeff recalled playing in groups in Huntsville that included a NASA engineer and a homeless man.
“No one thought anything of there being a NASA engineer and a homeless guy playing together,” Jeff said. “The sport is a great equalizer.”
He said there are stories out there from people who say disc golf saved their lives. It can be very therapeutic for someone who is hurting.
“It’s the flight of the disc,” Jessica said.
To that end, the Cowens have formed GripLock Disc Golf Ministry and they hope to soon offer Christian mentoring to youths using disc golf. The baskets in the putting area will be perfect for that purpose.
“We’ve talked about how we could put the Roman Road scriptures on each of the baskets when having a session with the kids,” Jessica said.
The Roman Road, of course, explains the Christian plan of salvation primarily using scriptures from the New Testament book of Romans.
The Cowens are part of Creek Path Baptist Church.
If you can’t make it to the tournament today, there will be other opportunities. They’re planning to start holding it the second Saturday of every month in conjunction with the EAA’s second Saturday breakfast at the airport. The tournament will benefit whatever group is serving at the airport.
The Cowens just hope to spread their love of disc golf to the Guntersville community. They think it’s the kind of thing that could take off and lead to some informal leagues being formed.
You can learn more about them and the course by visiting their Facebook page, GripLock Disc Golf Outreach.