History of Harford County Disc Golf
Back in 2001, Harford County Government learned about the growing sport of disc golf, and decided they would like to have a course of their own. While searching for the ideal piece of property, an old wheat field farm in Street eventually became available. They had found what they were looking for. Expert course designer, John Duesler, was brought in to design a “recreational” course to introduce the area to the sport. Installation by the Parks & Rec department began.
The Scarboro Hills Disc Golf Course opened in 2004. The first few years saw very little activity, as most people had never even heard of the sport. It didn’t take long for a few guys to get together, led by Jeff Ramer, to start a Random Doubles league on Tuesday evenings. When the days got short in the winter, they would then strap lights to their discs and play at night. Participation growth was slow at the start, averaging 4-6 guys a night. However, the few dedicated golfers were still looking for more excuses to play, so a second league day was introduced, Sunday morning Tags.
By 2007, a core crew of guys started to form amongst the growing number of golfers. Consisting of Jeff Ramer, Josh Lemly, Don Simonetti, Dave Dietz, Steve Campbell, Matt Dietz, and John Gallo. They decided it was time to host a Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) tournament. Not really knowing what was all involved, the assistance of the Calvert Flyers was requested. The Flyers, Jim Myers and Kevin Johnson, brought their experience and disc inventory to help out. The Inaugural PDGA Pro/Am, on November 10, 2007, was a cold and drizzly success with 41 players, and Jim Myers taking home the win.
The next year and a half, the crew spent some time attending other local tournaments learning what worked and didn’t work. Mid 2009, it was decided Scarboro needed to host another PDGA tournament. The first "Scorcher" was held August 29, 2009. It was expected to draw roughly the same as the Pro/Am. However, a popular tournament in Lehigh Valley, PA to be held the same day was postponed due to a flooded course from a hurricane. Players planning on attending that tournament, started looking for other events. A lot of them found the Scorcher, helping to fill the first of a continuous string of sell outs. The Scorcher has been a yearly event ever since.
Over the years Scarboro Hills has gone through some changes. It started out as a simple recreational course, one tee and one basket per hole. As the skills of the local players increased, they wanted to add some variety and difficulty. Additional tee pads and baskets were gradually added as materials and time would allow. A partial redesign of the course was agreed upon by the crew in 2009 to eliminate player safety hazards and lengthen other holes. Holes 11 and 17 were removed to add two holes on the hill between original 16 and 18. This created a brutal uphill walk between what was 16 & 17, which would later get another reroute. Hole 13 was moved to the top of the hill to create better flow. Scarboro remains one of the top 10 courses in Maryland because of the countless hours put in by its volunteers.
Disc Golf was becoming quite popular in the area. League participation continued to grow as Steve Campbell took over. More and more casual players were learning the sport and wanted to get more involved. In late 2010, it was realized that an official club was needed to facilitate and organize events. The Scarboro Hills Disc Golf Club (SHDGC) was formed by the founding board members, Don Simonetti, Brian May, Steve Campbell, and Dave Dietz.
A few months into 2011, the first official club event was held. Brian May organized the Let’s Throw Together (LTT) Charity Doubles Tournament to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. After two successful years, Brian needed to step down from tournament director (TD). Not wanting to see this event go away, Tyler Anderson volunteered to step up and be the TD of LTT. Being a huge animal lover, he wanted to switch charities to the Humane Society of Harford County. Unfortunately, before he could host his first event, he passed away in a tragic car accident. In his memory, the Let’s Throw For Tyler Together continues on by his parents Glenn and Annie. Combined, over $40,000 has been raised for these charities.
The core goals of the newly formed SHDGC is to grow the sport and teach it to people of all ages. They were able to accomplish this by funding and installing a six hole beginners course at the Churchville Rec Center in July of 2011.
The next few years saw an influx of new players, club members, and tournaments. The club has hosted numerous events throughout the years. Including charity events like Putting For Presents, Sol/Nyx, and Ice Bowls. Promo events from Vibram, Discraft, and the Trilogy. Even setting up a temporary course at Swan Harbor.
Area golfers were in need of another course. In 2014, Harford County took notice of all the good things the SHDGC was doing and granted them some funds and land to install a brand new course at the new Churchville Rec Center to be built down the road from the old one.
The SHDGC is now involved with more than just Scarboro, so they felt a name change was needed to reflect their growing responsibilities. The start of 2016 ushered in the re-branding as the Harford County Disc Golf Club.
The Fall of 2017, the city of Aberdeen contacted Dave Dietz for guidance in installing a new course on a small piece of property. With the help of Daddy Disc Golf, he designed a six hole beginners course at Victory Street Park with some technicality to keep it interesting for an experienced player.
After blood, sweat, some tears and even broken bones...the new course at Churchville Rec, named Mill Brook, was opened on July 14th, 2018. Huge thanks to the many volunteer hours put in by Mike Campbell, Steve Campbell, Barry Lemly, Josh Lemly, Dave Dietz, Matt Dietz, and a few others.
Year 2020, brought in the next generation of club officers. Long time officer Steve Campbell steps down as president. The club voted in three new officers; President Drew Ayres, VP Tom Atkinson, and Secretary Ryan Sokolis.
As the sport of disc golf continues to grow at an incredible rate, new players, members and officers have joined the club to help facilitate local events, promotions, course design and maintenance. You can read more here about the current direction of the HCDGC or attend one of our meetings to learn about how you can join and help grow the sport!
Written by: Dave Dietz