Disc Golf championships coming to area
by Staff Writer
Ask some Lake Norman residents about the sport of disc golf and you might draw a few confused looks.
A unique pastime of many local residents, disc golf combines the games of Frisbee and golf. The rules are simple: Try to get your disc in the yellow-topped, chained basket in the fewest number of throws. Oh, and be careful not to lose your favorite disc in the lake, forest or other obstacle that may stand between the tee box and the basket.
The Lake Norman area is host to a number of top-level disc golf courses and has a loyal army of avid players. As a reward, the Charotte-area has been named the location of the first-ever combined Professional/Amateur World Championship happening from July 14-21, 2012.
The tournament is expected to draw over 1,000 people, according to a press release by the Charlotte Disc Golf Club.
Charlotte hosted the world championship in 1986 and 1987. It will be the first time that the professional and amateur world championships have happened at the same time and location.
Troy Fitzsimmons, director of Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Department, said he envisions part of the tournament being played in Bailey Road Park. The recent 9-hole expansion at the park’s course has suitable parking and is in an accessible location for the event, yet Fitzsimmons wonders about the difficulty the course has to offer.
Amateur disc golfer Mark Huether said he’s already looking forward to the upcoming tournament.
Huether began disc golfing nearly three and a half years ago after taking his dog for a walk around the town of Davidson.
“I was taking my dog for a walk and noticed all the little baskets around the area,” said Huether. “Later on I had a friend visit, so we bought some discs and then it just caught on.”
Since picking up the disc, Huether has competed in 16 tournaments, and in 2010, Huether won the singles championship in the Charlotte Disc Golf Club.
Huether says he and other disc golfers in the area are partly responsible for bringing the big tournament to Charlotte.
The Professional Disc Golf Association committee in charge of selecting the host cities said it would build a number of courses in Charlotte for the event. But he and other players have volunteered dozens of hours designing and working on courses in the area to make sure that all is ready for the tournament next year.
Huether recently redesigned the course at Bradford Park, adding on 9-holes to the Huntersville course. Huether also helped fellow disc golfer Stan Mcdaniel in building the 18-hole course at Nevin Park in Charlotte.
“The goal is to have the largest combined (pro/am tournament) ever,” Huether said. “Often there are not enough courses in the area to have the two tournaments at the same time.”
But given the number of the courses in the Charlotte area, the tournament should have no problem holding participants and attendees.
Bailey Road Park, Allison Park and Bradford Park will all be used during the tournament.