Disc golf community wraps up tournament in Lubbock
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The disk golf community met up this weekend to compete in the 2021 Big Arms on the Brazos competition in Lubbock.
The competitors were put into groups of at least three players while they played three rounds in the span of two days. The players were broken up into different brackets depending on their age, sex, and skill level. This year competitors ranged from the age of 12 year-olds all the way into their 70s.
“It’s good for not only young kids, it’s good for older people,” said Dillon Vallance, a 15-year competitor. “I think we have someone at the tournament who is 71, I think just had a 71st birthday.”
Disc golf has been compared to the sport of bowling, as an inclusive sport that doesn’t have any specific level of athleticism or body type requirements.
Tournament director, Steven Storrie said, “Wide range of people. You’re not going to find one certain mindset. Short and tall, big and small. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what your hobbies are.”
Vallance said he picked up the sport as a way to keep competing after high school. 11-year competitor, Lisa Gallagher, who traveled from Clovis, New Mexico for the tournament said she picked up the sport to get out of the house.
“I was very excited by it,” she said. “It was, you know it’s athletic. I’m not sitting around doing nothing, watching tv and wasting my time. It gives me an opportunity to be outside all year round.”
Although the players are required to travel in groups, disk golf is another individual sport. However, just like in regular golf the elements of the outdoors can affect your play.
Gallagher said, “A couple small trees that really can cause a lot more trouble than you think. I know my next course I’m playing in May. There’s a lot of trees there and that’s going to be really difficult.”
And if the trees don’t stop your disc in mid-air causing it to tumble to the ground, the West Texas wind could provide too much air and force you to overshoot your hole.
“Out here in Lubbock, we have to deal with the West Texas winds of course,” said Vallance. “So that definitely doesn’t make it any easier.”
While a huge benefit of the sport is anyone can pick it up and play, it does take a specific skillset to become good. Technique is one of the main keys to being able to play the game. But the players say your mindset needs to be your biggest strength on the course.
Vallance said, “Going into a tournament you want to be calm and focused. You know, you don’t want to be too jittery or too nervous or anything. You just want to get out there, have fun and do what you know you can do.”
Just like any other sport, all the competitors have their mind on winning the tournament and taking home a trophy, but to the disk golf community spending time among their peers who they say as family, is just as important.
“It’s awesome. That’s probably my favorite thing about tournaments is just meeting you know friends that you haven’t seen in a while,” said Big Arms on the Brazos coordinator, Dustin Dulaney. “I played around with a couple of guys yesterday from Dallas and Tyler and it’s like I haven’t seen them in over a year.”
Following the Coronavirus outbreak last year, the group held a competition with strict CDC approved guidelines with a small group. But this year a total of 325 players showed up to compete in the tournament.
Vallance said, “it’s nice, it’s good to see all these familiar faces that I’ve known for years that have come from all over the state and all over the country really to play this tournament.”
Organizers were proud of the turnout, but also expected a big group this year as things continue to return to normalcy throughout the state of Texas, but also credit the locals with breeding a close-knit community.
“It’s really amazing to see that,” said Storrie. “Something that the Lubbock community should be proud of and especially the Lubbock disc golf community. They’ve put their heart and soul into this. And you know it’s just really awesome to see what they’ve been able to help put together out here this weekend.”
Across the different brackets, 19 players were crowned winners of the competition with plans already in the works for the next tournament.
You can learn more at https://www.pdga.com/
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