New sport glides into Turkey through Incirlik AB

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Located just behind the base's bowling alley waits a unique sporting ground within the grove of trees, evidenced only by numbered bricks, chains and wire baskets.

Rattling chain-links followed by a cheer is a common sound on the disc golf course here at Incirlik AB. The sport has gained popularity in the U.S. over the last decade, spawning a professional disc golf association, companies that produce a wide selection of discs, and now Turkey's only PDGA registered course.

Still for those unfamiliar with the sport the name might offer some clues as to how the game is played. First Lt. David Liapis, 39th Air Base Wing public affairs officer, compared the game to the more traditional golf.

"Instead of a ball you have a disc; instead of a hole you have a basket with chains that will ideally catch the disc," said the 12-year disc golfer. "You still have tee pads and par. It's just the general concept of the game, but for those of us who are not very good at the traditional way or want to try something new we might take our hand at throwing a frisbee instead."

Discs and maps of the course can be checked out for free from the 39th Force Support Squadron outdoor recreation to those interested in trying out the sport. If people would rather try their hand with a regular Frisbee a copy of the map can be found on the 39th FSS website "here" . It can also be found on the Incirlik Disc Golfers Association Facebook page.

"Our Facebook group currently has19 members, but it's only been live for two weeks," said Liapis. "I believe that shows there's an interest here. What I really like about this sport is that it brings together people from all different backgrounds."

The hope is that more Airmen and families here will take an interest and help build the community and infrastructure for the sport, said Liapis. Airmen who are taking advantage of the course are already making that happen and have expressed how much they like it.

"I'm going to buy a set (of discs) and keep coming out," said Master Sgt. Dave Fitzgerald, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordinance disposal superintendent, during his first disc golf game. "It's a good, different type of athletic competition. It's fun; I enjoy it."

Whether played for competition and challenge or people and conversation, the disc golf course on Incirlik AB holds something for everyone.

"It's a family-friendly and inexpensive game," said Liapis. "It's where you can get out and spend time together playing. Overall it's just a great sport."