Be a Tourist in Your Own Town- Thomas H Burbine Memorial Forest- Home to Montgomery County’s First Disc Golf Course
Disc golf is here in Montgomery County! A new course, designed by sport enthusiast Mark Hay, opened in the Thomas H. Burbine Memorial Forest, a 330-acre woods in the town of Charleston last fall.
Maintained by Hay and a dedicated group of volunteers, the course is drawing disc golf enthusiasts from the Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, and beyond. Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort is one of the first and biggest supporters of the project. “Not many folks even know Montgomery County has its own forest, and what we’re trying to do through initiatives like “Be a Tourist in your own Hometown” is to remind people of the great assets that we have,” Ossenfort has said.
Within the first moments of walking through the trees to the first hole, I can see why people would adore this sport. What a luxury to have this course right in Montgomery County.
Mark’s passion for the game is shown right after the first throw. And it is a good throw, right through the tall pines.
Disc golf is similar to golf in that it has 18 holes, and each hole has a par number as a goal to hit. There are different kinds of discs for different kinds of throws, such as drivers and putters, and the objective is to put a disc, rather than a ball, into a basket. All you need is a book bag and a small startup investment for the discs. When we get to the basket, it is music to your ears when you throw the disc and hear the chains rattle as you “sink” the disc. We all cheer each other on as we go through the course.
Principal designer and Disc Golf Enthusiast Mark Hay
You walk the 2 mile course. It was a pleasure to walk the course with Mark and hear his story and how he thought the Burbine Forest would be a serene and perfect spot for the game. Mark’s heart is truly here at Burbine, as he learned the game a couple years ago, and found a core crew of family and friends to turn this dream into a reality. They volunteer their time and effort to add professional design and tee boxes to the course. Where the course is a little muddy, volunteers take the time to design and build bridges. You can see and feel the dedication to make this course not only a favorite for players, but a pristine Montgomery County tourism attraction as well.
This is a socially distanced sport you can play all year long.
My favorite spot was hole 10. For the advanced player, you must throw the disc across a pond! It was great to see Mark make it over the pond, and share stories of players attempting to make it across. There are quite a few discs in the pond, so many that Montgomery County diver Aaron Robinson has used his skills assisting the course with disc recovery! The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department has been such a wonderful partner, and everyone appreciates Aaron his own time and using his own equipment to perform this task.
Aaron Robinson takes a dive in the pond for disc recovery! (Pictures from https://www.facebook.com/nymcso – Montgomery County Sheriff’s Facebook Page)
Mark Hay – making it across the pond on Hole 10.
Mark Hay, principal designer and advocate for the Disc Golf Course at the Thomas H Burbine Memorial Forest.
The afternoon was a perfect crisp fall day, and as I drove home, I realized I worked up a bit of an appetite, and dinner was still 3 hours away. I was driving past the Rustic Red House- at Glen Country Store (https://www.facebook.com/rusticredhouse) and it was a perfect moment for a nice cup of soup. All the menu items are homemade, and if you wanted something more, they have made to order meals and sandwiches (with boars head cold cuts). Also nice sweet treats to enjoy and take home.
Another local owned business and big disc golf supporter is The Stockyard Public House (https://www.thestockyardpublichouse.com/), which opens at 4pm Tuesday-Friday, and 1pm Saturday and Sunday. The Stockyard has great homemade meals as well, and live music on the weekends.
Wherever you travel from, whether the country roads or the NYS Thruway, there are many restaurants and shops to visit. For a full listing-please visit www.visitmontgomerycountyny.com
Thank you to Mark Hay and Morgan McClary for sharing this experience with me. I can’t wait to buy some discs and try again.
Director of Tourism Development
Montgomery County Tourism