McAllister Disc GolfHickory – This Labor Day weekend is a great time to celebrate 20 years since the Grand Opening of the original Disc Golf course at Glenn C. Hilton Jr. Memorial Park.

The course has grown and changed over 20 years but it has always been an excellent tournament course. The Hickory Classic Disc Golf Tournament will again be played over Labor Day weekend, from 9am to early afternoon, both Saturday and Sunday, at Glenn Hilton Park. Though registration has closed for participation, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the sport and watch as both amateurs and professionals play and compete for first place and prize money.

The game is similar to golf except that it is free sport and the players throw a disc instead of swinging a club. There are even discs that go right, left, short or long. The player chooses his disc depending on the shot. As in golf, the course consists of holes, but these “holes” are actually metal baskets that catch the discs.

Back in the summer of 1997, John McAllister completed the disc golf course and established the Unifour Flying Objects (UFO) Club.

McAllister, a dentist in Viewmont, caught the disc golf bug in 1995 after he played for the first time in Washington, DC. When he moved back to NC, he wanted to bring the sport to Hickory. He had a vision to improve Hickory and worked tirelessly until his vision was realized.

On his own, Dr. McAllister approached the Hickory Parks Dept. and the Hickory City Council for approval. The city agreed to pay for half of the disc golf course but only if McAllister could first construct the first 9 holes and prove its appeal and use. McAllister spent every weekend for about 1 year (1996) designing and clearing the “fairways.” At that time, Glenn Hilton Park was such an underused park that McAllister could store his chainsaws, wood chipper and other tools overnight in the woods and no one ever knew about it!

Having conceived, designed and cleared the land for the first original 9 holes, Dr. McAllister showed its success. The sport grew in popularity, folks of all ages came from near and far to play and many new disc golfers joined the UFO Club.  The city recognized the success of McAllister’s disc golf course and provided money for the completion of the course. Again, Dr. McAllister worked tirelessly to design & build the next 9 holes to complete it as an 18 hole course.

Currently, there are a lot of citizens groups making positive changes in Hickory and many who are looking forward to the improvements expected by the Bond Referendum. Dr. McAllister was one of the early pioneers who saw a way to improve Hickory and single-handedly made it happen

For more information, email to:  warobert@gmail.com. Glenn C. Hilton, Jr. Memorial Park is located at 2000 6th Street, NW, Hickory, 28601.