Q: In your experience, what makes for a great clay target facility?
A: When shooters talk about a great clay target facility, they are usually referencing a number of different things they look for. Many want beautiful, well-kept grounds and equipment that works every time. Others are interested in really good targets to shoot.
In reality, a great facility is certainly about those things, but it is also all about the quality of the people who work there. The folks at The Clays as Lone Oaks Farm fully understand that clay target shooting is entertainment for the customer, so the little attention to detail qualities that provide the shooter with a first-class experience are a very noticeable as the project comes together.
Q: You’ve been involved in creating The Clays at Lone Oaks Farm from the very beginning. What were your thoughts when you first visited Lone Oaks Farm about the potential for a new clay target facility here?
A: I’ve been blessed to have designed many of the top rated shooting facilities in North America. When I first visited this property, I was elated to see how beautiful the grounds on the farm looked.
When I went to the site on the Master Plan designated for the shooting facility, I knew immediately that I had a very special piece of property to work with. As a clay course designer, I am always looking for the perfect piece of ground that offers wooded shots, open field shots and lots of variable terrain. The Lone Oaks Farm site has all of those characteristics. It also had the perfect location for the clubhouse, adequate parking and a combination of shooting games like trap, skeet and 5-Stand. This property has World Class written all over it.
Q: How would you describe the vision behind the design of The Clays at Lone Oaks Farm?
As I talked to all involved in the Lone Oaks Farm shooting sports project, I knew that the vision I had of designing a world-class facility was shared by everyone to a person. The focus on youth shooting, fun and education are the benchmarks for the future of a facility like The Clays at Lone Oaks Farm. And after I’m long gone from the project, I am confident that the vision we started with will carry forward for generations to come.
Q: How has youth shooting grown in the past few years, and how do you think The Clays will serve young shooters in our area?
A: Not many people realize that the clay target sports are the fastest growing scholastic and collegiate sports in the nation. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of kids are shooting on teams tied to their school systems in 4-H Shooting, the Scholastic Clay Target Program, Boy Scouts of America, the A.I.M. program through the Amateur Trapshooting Association.
These programs are very structured so when kids get involved, they are coached first in gun safety and then how to break clays in flight. The clay target sports are by far the safest of all scholastic and collegiate sports in America, as with tens of millions of rounds of ammo being shot, not a single incident or accident has occurred nationwide.
In Tennessee and the surrounding states, youth shooting programs are huge. There is no facility like The Clays at Lone Oaks Farm in the region, so the youth shooters in the area are going to have a top of the line facility to practice and compete on in the future.
Q: What are some of your favorite features of The Clays?
A: In reality I think the very best feature of The Clays at Lone Oak Farms will be how everything has been designed for those who visit it. From the time a shooter or group drives into the property, the ebb and flow of shooter traffic from the sign in at the Pro Shop to the shooting games and out to the clay course will be very smooth.
Shooters have multiple shooting opportunities available to them and the facility is set up for shooting sports education on the various venues around the property. The fact that there is adequate shade for comfort, a covered pavilion for individuals, families and group events, and what I expect will be a great grille featuring burgers, hotdogs and more will just make a day at The Clays most enjoyable. The people in the West Tennessee region are very fortunate to have such a remarkable facility to enjoy.
Q: Do you have a favorite shot on the sporting clay course?
A: Honestly, there are many great shots on the course, but I do have two different shooting stations that really stand out as special to me. The first is #10 which is situated on a deck overlooking a small free standing pond. There is a beautiful willow tree on the South side of the pond and across it is a gently rising grassy meadow. The pond will really not come into play, as the target presentations will be across it, but it is just a very pretty setting that can offer some very intriguing shot presentations.
The second station is the last one – #14. This station is draped by a huge oak tree and the ground in front of the station actually rolls in three or four different directions. This kind of terrain allows a myriad of different shots to be presented. You know, golf courses are often judged by their finishing hole. Station #14 at The Clays at Lone Oaks Farms may well be talked about that way in the clay target world too.
Outdoor Shooting Facilities Designer and Consultant
Marty Fischer is a designer and consultant for outdoor shooting facilities worldwide, primarily clay target (trap, skeet, sporting clays) facilities. To date, he has designed more than 150 public and private clay target facilities throughout North America, and he was once referred to as “perhaps the most sought after gun club designer in America” by the Knoxville News-Sentinel newspaper in Tennessee.
In a recent article in Garden and Gun Magazine about the best sporting clays courses, six of the nine named facilities were Marty Fischer designs. In 2012 the magazine selected one of Fischer’s sporting designs as “Best of the Best” – Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club near Atlanta.
He is also a nationally recognized shooting instructor with 35+ years of experience, host of Marty Fischer’s Wing & Clay Nation radio, an outdoor writer, author of two books, “The Gun Digest Book of Shotgunning” and “Limbhangers and 4-Letter Words.” He is also the host of five instructional hunting and shooting videos.