Bob Ley lives a double life. By day, he is a computer programmer, and by night he is a disc golfing fanatic. Ley first began disc golfing three years ago after he had undergone ankle surgery and was in the process of recovering. "I liked to be competitive, and I was trying to find something to do to start exercising again and get back in shape," he says.
After a quick search through the internet, Ley stumbled upon the website for the Charleston Disc Golf Club. On the site, he discovered that the club hosted doubles matches at a course in Park Circle on Tuesdays, as well as singles matches on Thursdays. Pretty soon, he began regularly attending the matches and started making a lot of friends. He was hooked. "Ever since I started, I haven't put the disc down," he says.
Today, as president of the Charleston Disc Golf Club, Ley is setting his goals high. "We're trying a bunch of new things," he says. "As a president, I try to make sure we're doing things to make the sport better." At the top of Ley's agenda is hosting a massive tournament at Hampton Park. "There needs to be a bigger tournament to really showcase Charleston."
Currently, there are three main courses in Charleston, but Trophy Lakes on Johns Island is Ley's go-to good time. "It is just truly the best disc golf course in Charleston and, some argue, in the state," he says. "It's a private course, so there's not a lot of foot traffic. People out there are out there to play disc golf." With longer holes, the course challenges its players to take their game to the next level. "If you shoot well there, you shoot well at other places," he adds.
When Ley's not playing disc golf in Charleston, he's hitting up out-of-town tournaments. Right now, he's gearing up for the Disc Golf World Championships in Charlotte, which takes place from July 14 to July 21 and hosts a total of 396 players from all over the nation.
By and far, Ley's favorite thing about disc golf is the attitude that surrounds the sport. "Most disc golfers have no problem in helping others out. They're just so open. They'll see something that you're doing wrong and tell you how to improve it, or they'll tell you when you're doing it right," he says. What's more, it's a sport that a family can get involved with. Ley regularly plays against teenagers who often give him a run for his money. In fact, a 17-year-old broke the record for the longest throw with a distance of 826 feet.
"Getting to hang out with my friends and just having a good time, at age 37, gives me something to be competitive at, to get out there and try to push myself to get better," Ley says. "I sit in front of a computer all day long. Getting out to enjoy nature and fresh air is wonderful."
Disc golf courses:
Park Circle Disc Golf
4800 Park Circle. North Charleston
Tidal Creek Disc Golf
West Ashley Park, 3590 Mary Ader Ave. West Ashley
Trophy Lakes Disc Golf
3050 Marlin Road. Johns Island
Blackbeard's Cove Family Fun Park
3255 Hwy. 17 N. Mt. Pleasant
Frankie's Fun Park
5000 Ashley Phosphate Road. North Charleston