EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNW) – Athletes from all over the world came to the city of Emporia for the biggest tournament of its kind, a sport exploding in popularity and places to play.
From a distance, it looks like any golf game, but these players tee off by throwing, not hitting, and the hole they’re aiming for is actually a basket on a pole.
It’s called disc golf, and serious competitors carry several discs for different distances.
“So you got your irons, your drivers and a couple of putters,” said a player from Wichita, unveiling his bag with nearly 20 brightly colored discs.
“The top players in the sport are throwing over 500 feet with accuracy so it’s pretty incredible to watch,” said Jeremy Rusco, owner of Dynamic Discs.
Rusco started the company that runs this tournament, when he was a college student at Emporia State University. Now, the four-day competition is the largest in the world.
“We have 47 states represented, I believe it’s 10 countries,” said Rusco. “People from all over the world that are spending an entire week in Emporia, Kansas, so all of our hotels are sold out. Our restaurants are jam-packed every night.”
And disc golfers will tell you, they feel the love from the community and on the course.
“I’ve played here for six years,” said Bill Nicholson of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “It’s just a lot of great people who come to enjoy the sport and have a great time.”
Others appreciate the level of play here, with multiple courses around Emporia.
“They’re tough. this one is pretty easy compared to most,” said Kevin Williams of Winfield, Iowa.
“Not only are playing against different people, but you’re playing against yourself,” said Mike Sellers of Rockhill, South Carolina.
Disc golf is scored just like regular golf, one point for each throw. You play nine or 18 holes, and the lowest score wins.
But disc golfers believe this sport has a definite advantage
“Certainly more affordable and a little bit quicker,” said Nicholson.
No surprise then, disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports, putting a new spin on hitting the links.