DALTON, Ga. — In just one day, Whitfield County Parks and Recreation Department employees counted around 60 cars parked at the disc golf course at Westside Park.
"Almost all of them were from outside Whitfield County, playing disc golf here," said rec department Director Brian Chastain. "One night, we had over 80 people out here playing."
And the park won't even officially open until Saturday, June 15.
Chattanooga resident Mike Robbins was playing at the course Thursday, in a slight drizzle of rain.
"The disc golf community in this area is so eager for new places to play," he said. "We are just thrilled to have a new course to play, especially one this nice. I'm here three, four days a week. It has the best tee pads I've ever played on. I love to get outside and exercise. It's better than going to a gym."
Chastain said the rec department had been planning a disc golf course for about three years.
"We knew that disc golf is picking up in popularity in this area," he said. "We've had a lot of people ask about it, so we decided to put a course in. We chose Westside because we have the most land available to build a nice course."
Chastain said that things really came together when Will Schusterick found out about their plans. Schusterick is a former No. 1 disc golf player in the world and three-time winner of the U.S. Open. He is now co-owner of Prodigy Disc, a Whitfield County-based manufacturer of disc golf discs.
"I offered to help them out and make sure this would be a place that people would love to play, a course that could hold professional tournaments," he said. "So I came out here and laid it out for them. It's a beautiful piece of property."
Chastain said Schusterick really stepped up to help make the course first rate.
"He donated benches, signage," Chastain said.
The course was built by the Whitfield County Public Works Department.
"It took us about six weeks," said senior supervisor Mark Parris. "I think it turned out really well."
The course is the second in Whitfield County. There is also one at Dalton's Heritage Point Park. Chastain said the popularity of the Westside Park course has officials starting to make plans for yet another course.
The recreation department will hold a ribbon cutting for the course at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, followed by a professional tournament.
"People should come out and watch and see how disc golf is played," said Schusterick. "It's a sport that anyone can get into. It doesn't matter what age you are, if you are a boy or a girl. It's a sport that parents can play with their kids. It's a fun activity. You meet a lot of different people out on the course and there's just a real community aspect of it."
The grand opening of the Westside Park disc golf course will be Saturday, June 15. There will be a ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. followed by a professional tournament kicking off at 9:15. The public is invited. Westside Park is at 1519 Mount Vernon Road, Rocky Face.