Earlier this year, the Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) installed two practice disc golf baskets outside its Visitor Information Center which is located in the old cargo depot at 305 S. Depot St., just off Morris Street.
“We try to share with our visitors things that are made in Dalton and grown in Georgia,” said Margaret Thigpen, director of tourism for Dalton and Whitfield County, who runs the CVB and the Dalton Convention Center.
Prodigy Disc, a Whitfield County-based disc golf equipment manufacturer, donated one of the baskets and sold the other to the CVB.
“They (training baskets) get a lot of use,” Thigpen said. “They are not only used by our visitors, but by our locals, especially those who live in the Belk building.”
“We took that idea and developed it,” Thigpen said. “We thought it would be great to have something all over downtown. We worked with the DDDA (Downtown Dalton Development Authority), Prodigy, Dalton Parks and Recreation Department and Whitfield County. Voila, we now have a par 2 disc golf course downtown.”
The course, which is open for play, has eight hoops at four locations: the Burr Performing Arts Park, Dalton Green, the county-owned green space across from the courthouse and the goods depot. Records will be on sale at the Freight Depot.
“To our knowledge, this is the only permanent downtown disc golf course in the country,” said DDDA Executive Director Candace Eaton.
“I think it’s a huge deal because it will bring a different market to downtown,” Eaton said in a city press release. “As they walk the route, they’ll see local downtown businesses or stop for lunch or dinner, or maybe grab a beer or shop.”
“From a tourism perspective, it absolutely opens up our downtown for visitors to have something more to do, to keep them there a little longer,” Thigpen said in the press release. “For all of our tournaments and events coming up in our community, just to have something else for visitors to do while they wait for their next game or event, this is a great addition.”
The Greater Dalton region has several large disc golf courses.
Whitfield County Department of Parks and Recreation’s Westside Park Disc Golf Course was voted one of the top four courses in the United States for 2020 by Connect Magazine readers. There are also classes at Edwards Park in Varnell and Heritage Point Park in Dalton.
Thigpen said it took about six weeks from the idea for the downtown course to the installation of the baskets.
“This is truly a cooperative effort between CVB, DDDA, Prodigy, the city and the county,” she said. “And I’m really proud of how we all worked together and how fast and smooth things were.”
Thigpen credited Prodigy co-founding member Will Schusterick with helping to make this course a reality.
“He was someone who was really willing to help us get there, and he did,” she said in the press release. “To have the permanent par 2 disc golf downtown, he can shape tournaments around it, and we can shape all kinds of different events around it, if you will, pub crawls and building up clubs. ‘teams – it really has a lot of uses for anyone and everyone, all age groups. I really think it’s a cool thing that will really touch all facets of our visitors and our community.
There will be a course dedication ceremony on Friday at 3:00 p.m. at the cargo depot.
The first tournament for the new course will take place the following day. The entry fee is $15 and participants receive a limited edition disc, downtown Dalton dollars that can be used at downtown businesses, a golf disc bingo card, a mini- Prodigy marker and other items. Departure times are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Participants can register at https://www.discgolfscene.com/tournaments/Dalton_Open_House_2022/register.