FORT WAYNE – Disc golf is growing in worldwide participation and Fort Wayne has been a part of that trend.
The 29th annual Three Rivers Open disc golf tournament was held Aug. 16-18 at Swinney Park. This was the first year the event spanned an entire weekend. Friday featured a professional clinic and a doubles tournament.
Tournament director Brian Miller was impressed at the turnout of the clinic.
About 50 people showed up, he said. There were a surprising number of people, though, that had never even picked up a disc before. Usually the clinics we hold are attended by people looking to get better. This time, we had to teach people the basics.
Miller has been a member of the Fort Disc Golf Club for many years and saw the clinic as an additional opportunity to help the group grow.
Last weekend’s tournament numbers exceeded last year’s participation. Last year’s tournament had 142 players. This year, there were 167.
The Aug. 17 advanced amateur event was won by local player Chris Strawbridge, giving him a bid to play in the professional tournament the following day. Strawbridge also won the professional event with a final two-round score of 24-under 113, a two-throw advantage over second-place tie Paul Oman of Evansville, Brent Koontz of Fort Wayne and Tony Ganger of Goshen.
Disc golf began in California in 1960s and spread throughout the country. It is now played in more than 40 countries.
Indiana has been a huge part in the sports’s growth, and Fort Wayne’s players are constantly at the top of statewide tournaments. Crown Point even played host to the world championships this month, and Peru has one of the oldest disc golf courses in the world.
Fort Disc Golf Club committee members Miller, Koontz and Jason Smith have been nationally and internationally ranked in the sport and have been an integral part of the growth of the sport in the area.
Miller first played disc golf at a picnic in Michigan with a group of friends, and it wasn’t until a few years later that he even knew the sport was in Fort Wayne.
The Fort Disc Golf Club was given approval to add another disc golf course to Tillman Park. This would extend the list of available public courses in the city. Shoaff Park, Swinney Park, and Moser Park in New Haven already have free disc golf courses, and there are many privately owned courses in northeast Indiana.
The Fort Disc Golf Club has league events every Wednesday evening at Swinney Park that are open to the public. The cost to participate without a club membership is $10.
The next major disc golf event in the area is an Ace Race at Moser Park on Sept. 28.
For more information about the Fort Disc Golf Club, contact Brian Miller at 715-2364 or go to www.fdgc.info.