Disc golf tourney nets $850 for veterans

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

CALERA — The inaugural Veterans for Vets disc golf tournament was held at Calera’s Oliver Park on Saturday, Feb. 20 and raised $850 toward the nonprofit organization Alabama Veteran.

The sport, which has built a reputation of being highly inclusive and family-friendly, has skyrocketed in popularity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, due in part to the ease of social distancing among competitors.

Seventy-six players registered for Saturday’s tournament and were divided into four main categories—recreational, novice, women and veterans. Gameplay consisted of two rounds and 18 holes.

“Disc golf in general has blown up with the pandemic,” Tournament Director Anthony Davis said, “because people can go out and interact with people and still keep socially distanced while enjoying nature and the camaraderie.”

Davis started playing the sport in high school, but his interest was rekindled last year when he started playing the course at Oliver Park. Like many others, he craved social interaction and competition during the worst days of the pandemic and found that disc golf could meet that need.

Fellow enthusiast Christine Hoffman said the sport has experienced a 70-percent growth rate during the pandemic alone.

“I just started playing this year, and I’m addicted,” Hoffman said during Saturday’s tournament.

The sport mimics traditional golf in much of its lingo and rules but replaces a golf ball and clubs with regulation discs of different sizes and functions. The discs are called “putters,” “mid-range” discs and “drivers.” Players tee off from a tee box and throw the discs at targets—which are most commonly above-ground baskets made of metal and chains.

“It’s not like a normal frisbee,” Davis said of the regulation discs, which are required for gameplay but are significantly less expensive than traditional golf equipment. “A new disc is maybe $20.”

Davis hit his first “ace” during Saturday’s tourney, which is comparable to a hole-in-one in golf. But he spent more time talking about the success of the overall tournament and the local businesses and groups that made it possible.

“We were able to raise a lot of our funds through selling raffle tickets for items like dyed discs from Darkside Dyes and bags of coffee from Adventurer’s Coffee,” he said. “We had a ton of help from Calera Parks and Recreation. We were also able to raise money with hole sponsors from businesses like R.O.E Hobby and Games, plant, and Creations Galore and Moore. If anybody is looking to get discs in the area I recommend R.O.E Hobby and Games (Calera) and Dynamic Discs Iron City (Homewood).”

The tournament winners were as follows:

Recreational category: first place, Arri Torres; second place, Lawrence Hinkle; third place, Anthony Butts.

Novice category: first place, Matthew Scoggins; second place, David Scoggins; third place, Thomas Gay.

Female category: first place, Mabrey Marsalis; second place, Sydney Roberson; third place, Sophie Fast; fourth place, Carolyn Pevey.

U.S. veterans category: first place, Ed Hoffman; second place, Kevin Keith; third place, Winston Slaughter.

For more information about disc golf and to find out about upcoming events, visit Shelby County Disc Golf Club or Disc Golf Birmingham on Facebook. Both groups are private but anyone may request to join.