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Disc golf tournament hits target
Stephen Odom
Stephen Odom of North Augusta, S.C., fires a disc toward the basket on No. 18 at Lost Plantation Golf Club during the second round of Saturday’s Lost Plantation Charity Open Disc Golf Tournament. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 RINCON —  The City of Rincon’s first fling at disc golf is getting rave reviews.

Statesboro’s Phil Mullinax thoroughly enjoyed Saturday’s Lost Plantation Charity Open Disc Golf Tournament. He was one of 93 competitors.

“I loved the course design,” said Mullinax, winner of the Amateur Masters 40+ Division.

Tournament officials carved an 18-hole course on Lost Plantation’s back nine, taking advantage of nooks and crannies, especially wooded areas, that aren’t frequently used.

“I thought they did a good job of taking something that is really for golf and using the topography and everything it has to make it a challenging but fun course,” Mullinax said.

Chris Hannigan, the tournament director, dubbed the event, a CURE fundraiser, a success.

“You can play disc golf just about anywhere but the main thing is you want it to be fun,” Hannigan said. “When we designed this course, that’s what we had in mind. I think everybody had a good time.”

Hannigan gave James Dasher, a Rincon City Council member, some of the credit for the tournament.

“He is an ally and we are thankful to have someone with that sort of influence who could make this event happen,” Hannigan said. “Now that the event has actually happened, I think the success of it will stand on its own.”

Hannigan said the success “has a lot of layers.”

“The reception of the golf course was great,” he said. “The reception of Lost Plantation homeowners and the people coming out in their yards to watch was great. I hope the tournament did a great job of introducing the sport to the right people.”

 Disc golf is similar to traditional golf. Instead of using golf clubs and balls aiming for a hole, however, disc golf players use Frisbee-like devices and aim for a basket situated on a pole that extends up from the ground.

“It’s a great recreational activity that anybody can do,” Hannigan said, “and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to all the other sports you can get into. One of our objectives is to grow the sport in this region, this area. We think Rincon is a good target to have a new recreational thing to do.”

Mullinax, who tallied rounds of 61 and 57 (-7), has been playing disc golf since 2016.

“I’ve worked hard it,” he said. “I really needed something.”

Mullinax fell in love with the sport immediately after giving it a whirl.

“I live out in the country and have five acres of land,” he said. “I’ve actually built my own course on my land so I play a lot.

“It’s the number one thing that I do for exercise and recreation.”

Mullinax had become sedentary in recent years.

“I had always been involved in athletics but I had gotten to the point where I wasn’t real active,” he said. “I had gotten out of the habit of being active and I couldn’t really do anything that cost me a lot of money. This is a very economical sport.”

Mullinax hopes the City of Rincon or Effingham County will build a disc golf course soon. He visits the area regularly because his son plays soccer for Effingham United.

“I’m here at least three times a week throughout the fall and spring,” he said. “We are pseudo a part of this community. I’m familiar with the community and I love pretty close to Oliver, which isn’t that far.

“If a course was added in Effingham County, I would come over here and play it.”

In addition to his personal course and a public one in Statesboro, Mullinax has played in Atlanta, Pooler, Augusta and Valdosta. His out-of-state stops include Hardeeville, South Carolina, and Clearwater, Florida, and Tampa, Florida.

Most of the Lost Plantation players were from the Coastal Empire. Some, however, come from as far away as Columbia, South Carolina, and Daytona Beach Florida. One hailed from Seattle, Washington.

“We probably could have drawn more people but I capped the event at ninety,” Hannigan said. “We took it up to ninety-five at the last minute.”

Mullinax is a member of the Bulloch Disc Golf Club. It produced 23-year-old Collin Pike, winner of the Advanced Division with rounds of 52 and 57 (-17).

“Statesboro did pretty good for itself today,” said Pike, a former Georgia Southern University baseball player.

Bulloch Disc Golf Club member Christopher Pickens finished one shot (60-57) behind winner Joey Garrett (54-62) in the Recreational Division.

Other winners included Aaron Thomas (55-52, Open), Charles Van Duser (69-64, Pro Masters 40+), Bill Venter (55-56, Amateur Masters 50+), Matthew Otto (53-56, Intermediate), AJ Horey (72-77, Recreational Women) and Gracie Eno (81-77, Junior Girls).

The tournament produced $3,298 for CURE.

“I think this tournament will happen again,” Hannigan said. “That would be great.”