CHARLESTON — If you build it, they will come.
That line resonates with a well-known 1989 baseball film starring Kevin Costner, who plays a farmer who transforms part of his Iowa cornfield into a baseball diamond.
The Montgomery County Legislature can be credited with the same thought when it authorized the creation of a disc golf course within the Thomas H. Burbine Memorial Forest on Corbin Hill Road in Charleston.
The investment, which was approved for $9,500 and not to exceed $13,000 last August, was completed and opened to the public last October. On Saturday, the county legislature’s move was celebrated as 72 members of the Professional Disc Golf Association [PDGA] took part in the first-ever Blues at Burbine two-round tournament.
“It’s a chance to show off the course, it gets people out here this whole week,” tournament director Mark Hay said. “They’ve been practicing for the tournament and then you hope they are like ‘I want to come back and keep playing it.’”
Marcia Focht of Vestal made a return trip to the Burbine course for competition after a practice round last month.
“It is so beautiful and peaceful,” Focht said. “My husband, who doesn’t play, sometimes accompanies me on a practice round. He thought this was one of the nicest ones he’d ever been too.”
An avid competitor, Focht had a plan to compete at Burbine on Saturday.
“I try and fill every single weekend with an event. I saw this on the [PDGA] map and I realized I had never played this course, so I signed up,” Focht said. “It’s got excellent tees, tee pads, very good signage so you know what you’re doing, where you’re going. It seems like it’s very fair, even though there are a ton of trees — that just makes it challenging.”
Focht captured the advanced women’s title with a score of 143, 29-over par.
Hay was confident that the Montgomery County investment would pay off — almost immediately.
“The baskets were put in on Oct. 20 last year and when the last basket was put in, we had people here playing from Utica,” Hay said. “We posted on Facebook that we were installing baskets that weekend and they were coming out to play Central Park in Schenectady. On the way back they stopped to see if we were done yet.”
The Burbine Forest Disc Golf Course’s 18-hole set-up, designed by Hay, covers 5,676 feet, and has its own set of natural challenges.
“Anyone can throw a disc or a Frisbee out in a wide open [space],” Hay said. “You might have different challenges or the wind and things like that, but the trees are what create the lines and [the] hazards. It’s why people like woods golf … shaping those shots around the trees.”
“Sometimes you have to get the disc to bend to the left, sometimes you got to get it to the bend to the right. Depending on how you throw a disc, you can get it to shape around the trees. And that’s kind of the allure of playing a woods [course] is hitting that perfect line and getting it to shape around the trees.”
For complete results and more information, visit www.pdga.com