Disc golf enthusiasts schedule winter tournament

Published 7:26 am Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Enthusiasts say disc golf is heating up in Austin, so much so that even snow won’t cool the sport down.

That’s because a disc golf tournament is scheduled for Dec. 12 at Todd Park — the third time a winter event will be held at the park in the last four years, event organizer Jason Linnett said.

Linnett, who runs JJ Disc Golf in town with business partner Nik Johnsen, said he’s excited for the tournament.

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“People like to come out and challenge themselves,” he said. “It’s so much different than the rest of the year.”

Linnett expects 20 to 30 people to come out and whip their discs through the cold.

Players will play two 18-hole rounds, with a lunch and warm-up break in between.

Like in regular golf, disc golf players are scored based on how many shots it takes to complete a hole.

Of course, instead of using clubs, players throw a variety of different discs. And the “holes” are actually hanging baskets with chains that catch discs as they fly in.

Linnett and Johnsen said winter tournaments offer new challenges to players because of the slippery ground, strong winds and the possibility of losing a disc in the snow — but they’re fun nonetheless.

“A lot of people enjoy it,” Johnsen said.

And a lot of people seem to be enjoying the sport in general — Johnsen and Linnett said the Wednesday league they’ve ran for three years has jumped in popularity.

“It’s been fun,” Linnett said. “Really busy, and I have a blast doing it.”

This year’s Wednesday league wrapped up its season last week, but Linnett and Johnsen will remain active with the Southern Minnesota Disc Golf Association.

The SMDGA, which is described as a “collection of amateur and professional disc golfers,” puts on a number of tournaments and looks to increase the sport’s popularity in the region.

Linnett and Johnsen are helping put on an Oct. 10 tournament at Todd Park, along with the SMDGA and the Professional Disc Golf Association — a group that runs tournaments across the country and keeps track of professional rankings.

Linnett said the Oct. 10 tournament will be the only professional event in Austin this year.

For more on the two disc golf organizations, visit www.smdga.com and www.pdga.com.