Looking for a cheap, fun outside activity? Consider disc golf
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Ben Smith
Wanna get your kids off the couch and this summer? Have you considered disc golf?
Now’s the perfect chance for them to learn, as Tuscaloosa is hosting the third annual Alabama Junior Disc Golf Championship Aug. 5 at Cardinal Park near the Tuscaloosa National Airport.
Tournament Director Todd Bryant said the most important function of this tournament is its ability to create a new generation of disc golf players.
“The goal now is trying to actually fill a tournament with young people,” said Bryant. “We do that with adults all the time. But you know, the future for any sport is youth. Baseball is successful today because you have a bunch of kids playing Dixie youth. We need the same thing for disc golf. It’s growing, but we’re still at the point where some people just don’t know what disc golf is.”
Disc golf has experienced a boom in participation over recent years, and Tuscaloosa features courses at several Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority facilities.
According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, active PDGA memberships increased by over 50% from 2020 to 2021, with youth membership increasing 75%.
Much of this growth can be attributed to the sport’s accessibility. Compared to its course-fee laden and expensive club-toting namesake golf, a disc golf set is cheap and many courses don’t cost a dime.
Bryant said a lot of the more recent growth was spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People were looking for inexpensive outside recreation where they could play a sport safely and stay apart from people,” Bryant said. “It’s not a team sport, necessarily, but an individual sport. And (players) could go out and stay further than 6 feet apart, so they latched on to disc golf. People learned it was fun and affordable and family friendly. And it has just absolutely boomed.”
Tuscaloosa has four courses around the city: at Bowers Park, Palmore Park, Ol’ Colony Golf Course and Cardinal Park, where the junior tournament is happening.
The game works the same as golf, just replace the ball and clubs with discs. Instead of a tiny hole in the ground with a flag on a pole visible from afar, you’re aiming at a target that catches the discs.
The tournament is open to disc golf players of all skill levels who are 18 or younger.
Registration is $20 for participants 10 and younger and $25 for participants 11 and older. That registration fee includes two discs, a custom marker, a T-shirt, free rounds of disc golf and entry into the statewide disc golf putting championship.
The first round of the tournament begins at 9 a.m. Aug. 5. Registration deadline is Aug. 2.
You can learn more about the tournament or sign up to play right here.