Whitley Branch Park closed Saturday for disc golf tourney | News
, 2023-03-17 08:00:00,
The popularity of disc golf continues to grow in the region, with London as the hub, as evidenced by another maxed-out professional tournament on Saturday, March 18 and the rising number of rounds played at Whitley Branch Veterans Park.
Due to the logistics of holding such a large tournament, Whitley Branch will be closed to the public this Saturday for the event.
A full field of 90 disc golfers is scheduled to participate in the “Thaw Down at the Branch.” The event is sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association and sponsored by London Tourism and Parks.
“Excitement for the tournaments at Whitley Branch continues to grow,” said Jordan Infield, a PDGA member who designed the course at Whitley Branch and is coordinating the Thaw Down. “We have a waiting list of golfers who want to play.”
Disc golfers from Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana and all over Kentucky have registered for the tournament and will compete in classes from professional to novice. Cash payouts will be offered to the pros, and amateurs will receive disc golf-related prizes, Infield said.
A large tournament bringing tourist dollars into London was one of the goals of installing the disc golf course at Whitley Branch.
“It’s a great tourism event for the city,” said Parks and Recreation Director Mackey Williams. “We usually have about 35-50 people playing every day to get ready for the tournament, so it’s just more than a one-day event. It brings in a lot of people. The park is doing its job for sure.”
Figures just released by a popular disc golf app show that Whitley Branch is the fastest-growing course in Kentucky for the number of rounds played.
Infield said he’s just learned of the top ranking, which shows the number of rounds played increased from 10,600 rounds in 2020, to 15,470 rounds in 2021 and another large increase to 21,225 rounds last year.
“It’s so encouraging to me to see how fast the sport has grown in London,” Infield said. “It indicates that London could be the fastest-growing area for disc golf in Kentucky, not in the number of golfers living here, just in the number of rounds played per capita. I’ve looked all over Kentucky and I haven’t found any courses with greater-year-over year growth than Whitley Branch.”
The park’s location near Interstate 75 makes it a prime…
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