Tellico Village residents will have a new outdoor sport to try in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tellico Village Recreation Department started the first disc golf class July 22 at the Wellness Center after receiving serious interest from community residents.

“We had a packed class, and this was our first one and it was full with a waiting list,” Simon Bradbury, Tellico Village Property Owners Association recreation director, said. “We taught people the basics because there’s a little bit more to it than just chucking a disc out there. There’s a putter, there’s a mid range and there’s a long range so we organize it into our class.”

Bradbury was pleased with the response in the initial class.

“I introduced it to folks and every time we do something in recreation, I want to do a test and see how it works,” he said. “I don’t want to go asking for a lot of money to put something out if we don’t know that it works, so I thought, ‘I’ve got some portable disc golf goals, and I’ve got space so let’s do this.’ This is part of our strategic planning was using resources accordingly. Right now we need things we can do more outside, more space for people, things you can do for fun and this doesn’t cost anything.”

Disc golf is a growing sport in the United States. Small discs, ranging from drivers to putters, are thrown into chained baskets to simulate a hole, and the person with the lowest number of total throws is the winner.

Villager Mike Wright has some experience playing disc golf and decided to give the class a try.

“They were able to set up these portable goals for us, and Simon was good in that he had Steve (Zell, teacher) join us,” Wright said. “He’s obviously been playing quite a bit, and so he’s helping us with our technique. There’s different ways you need to grip the discs, so it’s almost like playing golf in the sense there’s a driver, there’s a mid range, which is like your five-iron, and then you have what you call your putter.

“You have the pars just like you do in golf, so most of these are set up as a par three,” he added. “Most of it is about technique, and the grip can change depending on how far you want to the disc to go and how accurate. He put us in teams and it’s pretty much the same etiquette as you would have in golf.”

Villager Terry Nyenhuis heard about the sport and decided to try it for the first time.

He said disc golf will be a good way for people to get active while remaining safe during the pandemic.

“I had a good time,” he said. “When I was in college back in the early 1970s, frisbee was a big deal, but I haven’t done anything like that since today. With this COVID-19 that’s going on, this is something that I can get out and do by myself or with a group and can maintain our distance. I read a lot about it on the internet before I came out here, and I have even ordered some discs. I hadn’t really thrown one until today, so I realized I need to start short and work up to it.”

Bradbury has set up several portable chain baskets on the Wellness Center campus for play or practice. He hopes to construct a permanent course if interest continues.

“I think this is the perfect environment for this kind of activity,” he said. “The people here this morning loved it and had a real good time. It’s fun, it’s social, you’re spaced, you’re staying outside, you have a goal in mind and it’s competitive. Right now we’re going once a week and the feedback I’m getting is people want more. If every week they’re showing up, we’ll add more. This is something that people are wanting. It’s a low-cost way of being active and staying outside. I absolutely think there’s a lot of advantages to having that here.”

The class will meet at 8 a.m. Wednesdays at the Wellness Center. Sign up online at https://tvpoa.as.me/schedule.php.