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New Look for Hole 18
There’s a new dock on Winthrop Lake. Sunbathers and fishermen beware… this is the new tee for Hole 18. A monstrous, 24-foot long by 12-foot wide wooden platform was installed on Monday (9/24) by Innova Disc Golf and USDGC volunteers.
Sitting about 30 feet behind the former tee pad, the new position hovers players above the water, creating a whole new look for the final tee shot at Winthrop.
One of the first USDGC competitors to get a look at the shot was Jeremy Koling, 26, who will be making his fourth USDGC start. “I think that it’s a very interesting idea. It definitely makes the hole, in terms of distance, it makes it much more challenging,” said Koling, who threw a big sidearm off the dock.
Supporting the structure are 24 posts ranging in height from five to eight feet, which are rooted up to two feet into the lake bottom. A 6-foot by 12-foot rubber tee mat will also be laid atop the deck.
Winthrop Gold Course Superintendent Michael Shugart, who led the project (pictured on cover), said the dock puts a new spin on the hole. “Hole 18 was already a great hole. This was just something to add that extra touch,” said Shugart, who has been leading USDGC course projects for several years.
Koling said hole 18 was not easy to begin with. Players had to negotiate an uphill tee shot that left them with a more comfortable distance for the approach. “Now you have to get two long shots,” he added.
Living not far away in Indian Trail, N.C., Koling hopes to get plenty more practice on the dock and the rest of Winthrop. Koling was one of several top pros disappointed to see the USDGC’s 2011 format change. The two year wait from the last traditional USDGC in 2010 was not easy. However, the wait has made “Big Jerm” more excited than ever about this year’s tournament.
It’s a time of year Koling always relishes with the world’s best disc golfers converging upon his home and his birthday coming a day before the first round. Coming off his first A-tier win of the year in Augusta and promising Winthrop practice, Koling hopes to put himself into USDGC contention.