Clay Target Shooting at Honey Lake Plantation
I feel a blend of emotions whenever I enter a sporting clays stand. Part of me is enthusiastic to see the clay targets launch out of the trap in a flight pattern representative of a game bird. The other part of me feels like a coiled spring, ready for action. I’ve taken to wearing gloves because my anticipation causes my hands to sweat, and I’m excited, focused, and optimistic, all at the same time.
If I’m first I’ll call to see a presentation so I know how to handle the target. I’ll shift my stance, move my feet, and register the movement in my head. I then get ready to call ‘pull.’ By the time I hear the trap, the clays are flying in the air. Sometimes they go away, sometimes they come towards me, and still other times they fly on an angle. When they are in-flight my spring uncoils and I swing my shotgun to catch up to the target. After the stock reaches my face and the butt is on my shoulder I move the barrels ahead of the target and squeeze the trigger. If they break I smile and if they fly away unscathed I scratch my head. Shooting clays is too much fun to get worked up about, even after a string of misses. Whether you’re a beginner or an Olympian there is always room for improvement, and that’s what keeps me coming back.
It’s no surprise to find a variety of clay target games at Greenville, Florida’s Honey Lake Plantation. The games began around the same time that the Red Hills plantation life came into existence, that time being the late 1800’s. Charles Portlock of Boston made glass balls for target shooting in 1867, and there were a lot of different versions of the sport. In the 1880’s, a fellow by the name of George Ligowsky watched kids skimming clam shells on the water’s surface. Lightening struck and Ligowsky fashioned saucer-shaped targets out of a mixture of clay and fired them in brick kilns. They flew great, were difficult to break, and the wonderful world of clay target shooting was off and running. I bet if you comb the grounds at Honey Lake Plantation you would find remnants of those targets deep in the soil.
Unless you were a history buff prone to searching for buried treasure like arrowheads or paint pots you wouldn’t do something like that. No, there is too much other fun to be had at the Honey Lake Plantation shooting courses. Life-long sportsmen and owners Bob and Jon Williamson have seen to that. The variety of games they offer is industry-best, and the diversity ensures that rank beginners through experts are pleased.
The plantation’s sport shooting multi-plex offers manicured courses in close proximity to each other. Some guests start off with a round of trap. In the game, five stations throw clay pigeons in varying degrees of going away. Since the angles are gentle it’s a great way to warm up. After a round and a sip of sweet tea or lemonade, shooters can shift their focus to skeet. In this game, targets are thrown from the left or from the right, and shooters stand at one of eight stations that provide a different view of the same target. Ready for a real challenge? Then head over to the Five Stand. Here, clays are thrown in a variety of different angles, with some incomers, some outgoers, and all points in between. The flight patterns imitate a game bird in flight, and you’ll hit some and miss others.
The granddaddy of the Honey Lake Plantation shotgun games is the sporting clays course. Sporting clays offers the unpredictability of live bird shooting….without the feathers. What makes sporting clay shooting so fun is that different sized targets fly at a variety of distances and angles. The sport began in England in the early 1900’s, was introduced to the United States in 1980, and now is one of the hottest sports for men, women, and kids. The Williamson’s created their course in conjunction with the industry-leading Howell Shooting Supplies from Alabama. The Howell’s have been creating sporting clays courses since 1985 and they combine different flight plans with various sizes of clay targets. They’ll mix standards, minis, battues, rabbits, and chondelles to expertly mimic game in flight. Shooters walk through the woods (you can also ride a golf cart) and stop at the stations along the way.
At Honey Lake Plantation, 12 stations present left-to-right crossers coming from high towers, driven pheasant presentations that come from high elevations and drop down, and quartering shots that resemble a flushing quail. The course is set in a scenic and beautiful part of the plantation, with mature pines, Live Oaks, and broomstraw creating a natural ambiance in between stations. Shoot a round of 50 or a round of 100, the choice is yours. Instruction is available as are rental shotguns and all other necessary gear.
Stay in Comfort
Honey Lake Plantation represents a new trend where sportsmen can enjoy the highest-quality of outdoor experiences along with comfortable guest suites with private baths, high-cotton count linens, down pillow tops, and stunning views. Gourmet meals are prepared daily by the plantation’s executive chef, with a tremendous amount of vegetables, produce, eggs, and herbs being grown or harvested from the plantation’s Victory Garden. Guests also find full spa treatments which range from a plethora of massage therapies, body treatments, a state-of-the-art exercise room, pool, and whirlpool. Honey Lake Plantation is where tradition meets elegance. And after one visit, you’ll find a reason to return.
Visit Honey Lake Plantation Sport Shooting Complex to book your sportsman’s outdoors adventure.