FORT RUCKER, Ala. (January 29, 2015) -- One of the fastest growing recreational sports in the U.S. is gaining popularity on Fort Rucker, and the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation stepped up the fun quotient with its Winter Fling Disc Golf tournament Jan. 24.
Twenty three people braved the cold, windy outdoors for several hours of friendly competition and camaraderie at the tournament that welcomed people from surrounding communities, as well as those from as far away as Panama City Beach, Florida.
Participants competed in different categories, including advanced, amateur and junior, and trophies were awarded to winners in each category.
The winners in each category were (Not all last names were provided in the final standings.): Derek, advanced male winner, who shot a total of 99; Stephanie Woodard, advanced female winner, who shot a total of 133; Steven Gnau, amateur winner, with a total of 115; Oliver, advanced over 45 winner, with a total of 114; and Cad Outlaw, juniors winner, with a total of 173.
Although the tournament is ultimately a competition, for Randy Hiers, civilian participant who has been playing disc golf for about 30 years, said for him the sport is less about the competition and more about the fellowship.
"It's all about meeting people and you get to meet new people all the time," he said. "If I see someone on the course I'm going to come over and shake their hand and introduce myself. It's just great and that's what it's about."
Hiers, who started playing disc golf by throwing in parking lots, played his round with fellow disc golfer, Chris Whittle, civilian participant, and his wife, Ashley, who both drove up from Panama City Beach to participate.
The Whittles said the sport is a good opportunity for them to meet up with friends and spend a recreational day in good company.
Woodard traveled from Mobile to participate in the tournament with her father, Glen, and said it's a sport she's familiar with.
"I play a lot of the courses back at school and I just really enjoy it a lot," she said.
The course, located at Beaver Lake, is an 18-hole, 55-par course that follows the Beaver Lake trail, for the most part. It offers varying levels of difficulty with very basic holes with no hazards or trees, to more advanced holes with water traps and obstacles.
The rules of disc golf are much like the game of ball golf in that the goal is to use as few strokes as possibly to throw a disc from a designated spot into a basket.
Disc golf has been around for quite some time, but was formalized in the 70s, and began to gain most of its popularity in the 90s and early 2000s among the college crowd, and according to the Professional Disc Golf Association, which has more than 50,000 members, there are more 4,000 courses around the world.
Another one of the draws of disc golf is that it is a non-contact sport that is open to all ages, and playing an entire round of disc golf, 18 holes, takes anywhere from 45-90 minutes, depending on the amount of players, and costs little to no money.
People can visit the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility to check out a disc and give it a try. There is a $10 deposit required per disc. The course is open to the public. Disc check-out is open to authorized patrons only.
For more information, call 255-2296.