LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS —
Due to record-breaking rainfall this past spring and summer, and limited funding for grounds maintenance on Lackland, the Lackland Outdoor Adventure Center's disc golf course had become unplayable.
Eagle Scout Candidate Ty Huckaby from local Boy Scout Troop 620, the son of Todd Huckaby, 93rd Intelligence Squadron, wanted to restore this recreational gem to its former state, for all to enjoy.
The LOAC established an 18-hole disc golf course on what used to be the old Kelly AFB golf course.
It was an ideal location, as disc golf is played very similarly to its ball golf sibling, except with flying discs and a metal basket instead of a hole.
According to experienced disc golfers like John Mattingly of the 37th Communications Squadron, who has been playing since the 1980s, it was one of the best courses in the entire country when it was opened in 2005.
The course designers made full use of the beautifully landscaped fairways and obstacles such as ponds, streams, and mature trees.
Two years later, the course had become virtually unrecognizable.
Nobody was able to play the course this entire summer because of the dense vegetation that had taken over the fairways.
Daniel Gonzalez and Zephrim Peterson, 93 IS, tried to play the course in May, but could only play the first five holes.
"The grass was up to our knees, even in the best spots," said Gonzalez. "Other parts of the course looked like a jungle. We spent way more time looking for lost discs than actually playing. So, we gave up,"
In order for Boy Scouts to earn scouting's highest rank, they must plan, organize and lead a significant community service project.
Ty, who is an occasional disc golfer himself, chose this project as a way to give back to the military community.
He understands very well the heavy burden that the current operations tempo and deployments place on military servicemembers and their families.
His father missed a lot of Ty's growing-up years because of his duties in the Middle East as an Arabic linguist and aircrew member.
Ty rallied the support of his fellow Boy Scouts, volunteers from the Lackland Disc Golf Club, and the LOAC to reclaim a large part of the disc golf course "gone wild."
On Sept. 15, he and 16 other volunteers spent the day weed whacking, mowing grass, trimming trees and marking tee spots. At the end of the day, they had returned nine holes to a playable condition.
Afterward, most of the volunteer workers stayed to play a round of disc golf together, the first round played on this course in more than four months.
Martin Paprock of the 959th Surgical Operations Squadron and President of the Lackland Disc Golf Club has continued this effort and has since added four more holes playable.
Ty is currently building benches and directional signs that will soon be installed on the course to make it even more user-friendly.
The course, which is located next to the LOAC headquarters, is open for play seven days a week and is free to play if you have your own discs.
The LOAC also has discs available for sale and rental. They can be reached at 925-5532/5533.
Further information about the Lackland Disc Golf Club can be obtained from Todd Huckaby at 671-6900.