Thursday, March 2, 2005

Fielder’s Choice
By Barry Burleson

Beating out Birmingham

Perhaps we all need a bit of Benny Martin’s enthusiasm.

He followed Gov. Haley Barbour at the podium during last week’s Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon.

His excitement was contagious as he talked about the selection of Wall Doxey State Park near Holly Springs as the site of the McDonald’s 2005 Southern National Professional Disc Golf Championship.

The assistant park manager was particularly proud, and well he should be, that Holly Springs and Marshall County beat out the large metropolitan area of Birmingham, Ala. That’s right. As first reported in the January 27 South Reporter, it came down to two choices, Holly Springs and Birmingham, and we won.

The championship tournament will be held on Labor Day weekend. In addition to Mississippi, competitors will come from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and Alabama.

Last year’s championship saw 100 players in the professional ranks playing in the tournament. This year closer to 200 participants are expected, plus they bring family and friends, so Holly Springs and Marshall County could see 300-600 people visiting the area.

As park manager Lyle Richardson told me back in January, “It will be a big deal for Holly Springs and Marshall County.”

Wall Doxey State Park features two disc golf courses with 20 holes each. The sport is growing rapidly.

The park hosted the fifth annual Disc Golf Ice Bowl the weekend of February 5. I saw a promo for the tournament on the Southern National Disc Golf ( web site, and it said, “It’s at a Mississippi State Park, and they treat us disc golfers right,” plus another promo added, “More Wall Doxey State Park hospitality to enjoy.”

A recent talk I heard focused on building up our city, county and state, promoting and focusing on the positive. We need to all brag on ourselves, and Wall Doxey State Park gives us plenty of reasons to brag.

Treating folks right and good ole’ Southern hospitality are hard to beat, and as Holly Springs and Marshall County eye growth, those are two of the most important traits that will boost that development.

Many ask, what is disc golf?

Disc golf is a lot like traditional “ball” golf, except players use specially made plastic flying discs instead of balls and clubs, and throw them for ‘par’ at an above-ground target instead of a hole in the ground. There are different types of discs used for different purposes, much like ball golfers use different clubs.

The object of the game is to throw a golf disc into the target, typically a “Pole Hole®” basket (a steel basket over which chains hang), in the fewest number of throws. The player begins by ‘driving’ from a designated tee area and continues toward the target, throwing each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. Finally, a successful ‘putt’ sends the disc into the target. The most satisfying sound a disc golfer can hear is the ‘ching!’ of a disc crashing the chains before dropping into the basket.

For more on the big Southern National Professional Disc Golf Championship coming to Wall Doxey or more information about the park itself or disc golf in general, call 252-4231 and ask for Benny Martin or Lyle Richardson.

Martin and Richardson and the staff at Wall Doxey are “high on Holly Springs and Marshall County.” We all need to jump on the same positive bandwagon.

I’ve been considering buying some golf clubs to get some much-needed exercise. Maybe I need to purchase some plastic flying discs instead.

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