FORT LEE, Va. (Sept. 9, 2010)- If it ain’t available, make it happen.
That’s a bit of an informal take on the oft-used phrase “Build it and they will come” line made famous in the Kevin Costner movie, “Field of Dreams.”
But it could’ve just as well been the impetus behind an enterprising noncommissioned officer and his aspirations to construct a nine-hole disc golf course adjacent to the Fort Lee Skate Park.
Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Windes, a platoon sergeant assigned to Whiskey Company, 244th Quartermaster Battalion, 23rd QM Brigade, grew up playing the obscure but growing sport. He said he has visited other courses in the region but yearned to play the game on the installation.
“The closest course here is in Colonial Heights,” said Windes, a native of New Mexico. “I wanted to provide Soldiers with the opportunity to play here at Fort Lee.”
Fort Lee features a number of recreational facilities to include two fitness centers, a swimming pool, Skate Park, running tracks and ball fields. It also offers alternative recreational facilities such as the skate park and paint ball course. A disc golf course, Windes thought, which only require inexpensive discs and a bit of curiosity would appeal to the hundreds of advanced individual training students present on the post at any time.
“So I asked MWR if it would be possible or if there were plans already in the works for a disc golf course,” he said. “They said, ‘Hey, draw up proposal – try and design something and we’ll send it through the proper channels.’”
Windes came up with the design and the plan was approved two months later. More than 40 Whiskey Company volunteers supported the construction effort, helping to install disc baskets around the Fort Lee Skate Park and adjoining fields near Nowak Field and Williams Stadium.
The facility celebrated its grand opening Friday. Most of Whiskey Company, clad in physical training uniform, came out to support the event. They played disc golf, gulped down pizza, listened to hip hop and rock tunes and took turns climbing a 35-foot, newly-installed rock wall.
Matthew Haug, a recreation assistant with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, which manages the facility, said he thinks the disc golf course is a worthwhile addition to the park.
“I’ve talked to a lot of Soldiers and asked them what they wanted to see at Fort Lee,” he said. “Number one was paintball and disc golf was brought up by many people. They said it was a young sport, very relaxing and very environmentally friendly. I think it’s going to be a really nice thing for these Soldiers.”
Whiskey Soldiers took advantage of the course during the grand opening. About a hundred of them played in teams of four or five, laughing and joking their way through the course. Windes said that’s what he really wanted see: Soldiers having a good time and getting away from the stresses of being a Soldier.
“I think it’s great to see the camaraderie of the teams playing together,” he said. “I see a lot of smiles. It’s great.”
Disc golf, a sport that been around since the invention of the Frisbee in the 1930s, might be described as a marriage between golf and Frisbee-tossing. It became modernized in the 1960s and is scored like golf in which the lowest score wins.
The discs, which are smaller and thicker than Frisbees, are designed to travel longer and in a straighter line.
There are more than 3,000 disc golf courses in the United States. The Fort Lee course is located adjacent to the Fort Lee Skate Park located next to Burger King. Authorized patrons can rent discs at the skate park or bring their own.