For the uninitiated, the sport may seem like it's just a leisurely diversion enjoyed by groups of flip-flop clad young men with nothing else to do on sunny afternoons, but this weekend, players will get the chance to showcase the sport’s more competitive side as the local disc golf club and the town of Mountain Village put on the first annual Disc Golf Tournament.
According to local disc golf club member Mike Hover, this weekend’s tournament offers a chance for all players – from never-evers to the most dedicated disc golfers – to participate in the sport in an organized fashion. The tournament, which starts Saturday, marks the first organized tournament event ever planned for the Mountain Village’s Double Cabins disc golf course.
“The tournament is primarily an opportunity to get people together of all different skill levels and have a really fun time,” says Hover, who has competed in numerous disc golf tournaments in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., where the sport is popular.
The tournament is the flagship event for the burgeoning disc golf club, whose mission is to promote the sport locally. The club, currently comprised of six diehard local disc golfers, was organized this summer by Hover and Cade Lancaster in an effort to create a more structured environment for the area’s disc golfers, but also to draw in more potential players. The hope is that this weekend’s tournament will provide an inroad for new players, as well as help galvanize old players to become more involved in advancing the sport locally.
“Disc golf has a reputation of being just for recreation, but there is a whole other world out there, where people are actually playing the sport competitively and making a living doing it,” Hover explains, noting that many professional disc golf associations as well as amateur disc golf clubs are now springing up around the country.
Since Hover moved to Telluride in 2005, he’s watched both local disc golf courses (one in Telluride’s Town Park, and the more official Double Cabins course in Mountain Village) become increasingly busy. As to why more people are catching the disc golf bug has to do with its hospitable and inclusive nature. “I’ve seen 3-year-olds to people well past middle age out there playing… it’s a sport almost anyone can play, at almost any age,” Hover says.
The game is played like regular golf, using a disc similar to a Frisbee with one point/stroke counted each time the disc is thrown. The goal is to get three or less points/strokes per hole.
The tournament will be capped at 36 players per day, playing in groups of four. Each group will play two rounds of nine holes in the morning, and two rounds of nine holes in the afternoon, with a break for lunch. Competition will continue Sunday, and Hover says players are still welcome to compete, even if they can’t stick it out for all 36 holes.
He also encourages new and inexperienced players to sign up for the tournament, which thanks to support from Mountain Village, is completely free of charge. “There will be lots of disc golf club members out there both days, available to answer any questions about the game, give instruction or explain etiquette rules,” says Hover.
Each competitor will receive two Innova discs, a mid-range and a driver, to keep; there will also be tournament schwag like T-shirts and hats, as well as prizes for each division’s low scorers.
Registration for the event is from 8-9 a.m. Saturday morning, at the picnic table near the Double Cabin disc golf course’s first tee box (across the street from the Market at Mountain Village). There will be a players meeting from 9-9:30 a.m., and a shotgun start to the tournament at 9:45 a.m. Winners will be announced and prizes distributed at the completion of the tournament on Sunday.
“Most of all we’re just trying to promote disc golf and get more people involved, and hopefully get nine more baskets for next year,” Hover says of the coming weekend’s tournament.
For more information about this weekend’s disc golf tournament, contact Hover at 729-1984.