Par for the course: Gibson County Draws Disc Golfers Worldwide

by Janice Barniak, contributor

Disc golf is fast becoming a popular and enjoyable outdoor activity for all ages and skill levels. Over the past few years, three courses have been developed in Gibson County with the help and expertise of the Dads Fore Disc Golf organization. Two of Gibson County’s disc golf courses will host national amateur championship play in 2022, but there’s something for all levels at each course and it’s easy to get started, said nonprofit Dads Fore Disc Golf organizer Steven Waites.

For newbies, getting started is easy and cheap—buy a $20 three-disc starter set at any sports store or online and head out to any of Gibson County’s three courses.  Gibson County courses are detailed on the free app UDisc, which offers maps and tips from other disc golfers about how to navigate the greens.

For brand new disc golfers and children, head to Southside Park in Princeton, for a nine hole warmup that will teach you the ropes. You’ll stand at the markers and aim at the metal net, trying to get as low a score as possible, preferably under par.

Waites said it’s a friendly community. If you run into other disc golfers, give your socially distanced wave or ask for pointers—but if you’re trying to pass as a pro, don’t use the ‘F’ word — which is Frisbee! Longtime golfers know Frisbee is a copyrighted, specific toy not used in disc golf.

If you’ve played before, skip the Southside warm up and head to the county’s Princeton Country Club, one of the few disc golf courses in Indiana where you can rent a cart to disc golf.  “It’s a wide open whip-it, rip-it style,” Waites said.

The challenges in Princeton are in power and range; if you want to fit in with the disc-golf crowd, you’ll talk about your power shot—a high speed shot, or your fairway shot—the shot that takes you a long distance towards the basket.  “The best selfie at the country club,” Waites said, “is at Hole 8, one of the highest points, where you’ll put your spin on the disc as you overlook the beauty of the entire rest of the course.”

On the other hand, Gibson County’s nature-lover’s disc golf course is at Haubstadt’s Johnson Township Park, only finished last year but already one of the best reviewed courses in southern Indiana.  Reviewers tout how easy it is to find discs despite it being a wooded course. They also like its good use of water hazards and a few fun opportunities to birdie.  Here, the challenges are all about accuracy off the tee—a great contrast to the wide open country club course.

Plan to start the course in the afternoon so that you can hit Hole 18 at dusk.  The slope is slightly uphill; and you’ll have an inspiring photo as well as a serious sense of accomplishment as you emerge from the lengthening shadows into a wide open, sunset finish.

Want to make it a weekend? Plan to enjoy a meal at Indiana’s oldest restaurant, The Log Inn, take in a race at Tri-State Speedway, and make a stop at Dewig Meats in Haubstadt, a butcher shop that’s grown into one of the Midwest’s largest meat markets.

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