By CARLY OMENHISER | Dothan Eagle
NEWVILLE, Ala. (AP) — It's known as “golf with shotguns” to many, but to Ravenwood Sporting Clays owner J.D. Sadler, it's just plain fun.
Sadler recently transformed 43 acres of land near Headland in southeast Alabama into a shooting enthusiast's paradise and the only of its kind in this area.
Sporting clays has been around in the United States for years and Sadler said it's become the fastest, most popular form of sport shooting in the country.
“I lived in Chattanooga (Tennessee) for about five years and that's where I was introduced to sporting clays and just fell in love with it and got hooked,” Sadler said.
The sport is very similar to golf in that shooters travel from station to station and shoot a series of targets. By the time they finish the course, they will have shot at 100 total targets.
The Ravenwood Sporting Clays course has 14 different stations positioned throughout the property that offer a wide range of angles, distances and speeds for shooters.
The course is landscaped with about a mile of graveled path for the course's fleet of golf carts to make their way from station to station over creeks and past ravines.
“We hired the number one course designer in the nation to set the course and lay it out,” Sadler said of course designer Heyward Cunningham.
From start to finish, construction took about eight months. It included clearing out a lot of underbrush, leveling the pathway, setting the gravel, constructing the stations, pavilion and impressive clubhouse.
The clubhouse has a gift shop and seating area complete with fire pit as well as a semi-professional kitchen for catered events. An outdoor viewing area has seating available to watch others finish the course.
Construction finished up last week and Sadler said he's excited to open the doors to the public this week.
“This is an outdoors area. There's a lot of people that like to dove hunt and quail hunt,” Sadler said. “If you go dove or quail hunting there might be a lot of birds or there might be few birds. But somebody that likes to shoot can come here and be guaranteed a challenging time, a fun time, and they're guaranteed to shoot as much as they want to shoot.”
General Manager Tyler Peters said the course also offers a great opportunity for beginners to learn how to properly shoot a shotgun.
“This will give dads and children an opportunity to come out here and shoot and enjoy themselves. They may go into a dove field and a kid . may look forward to it all day, and may not get to shoot,” Peters said. “Well his dad can bring him out here and he can shoot all he wants. We'll teach them the safe way in a controlled environment.”
Lessons will be offered for beginners, but Sadler said they also plan to occasionally bring in professionals to offer classes.
The course is located on U.S. Highway 431 in Newville and will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 – 5 p.m. on Sundays. It's $45 to go through the course for non-members and $35 for members.
Sadler said they do not sell guns, but do have ammo and shotgun rentals.
“We're extremely excited, and it helps that the interest has been overwhelming,” Sadler said. “This is just something additional that this area has to offer . Anybody that likes to shoot shotguns will enjoy it.”
Information from: The Dothan Eagle, http://www.dothaneagle.com