, 2022-10-07 07:21:00,
The annual United States Disc Golf Championship is back.
The disc golf tournament is Oct. 6-9 at the Winthrop University Gold Arena. This is the 24th year the event has been held on the campus of the Rock Hill, S.C., university.
The United States Disc Golf Championship (USDGC) is one of the sport’s most prestigious tournaments, and has players from all over the world in Rock Hill. Almost 100 of the best male disc golfers in the world are competing.
The idea for the tournament came in 1997 when the final round of the 1997 Professional Disc Golf World Championships (PDGA) was held at Winthrop.
Jonathan Poole, now the USDGC event director, was working for Innova, a disc manufacturer and main sponsor of the USDGC. Poole said when he saw how well the Winthrop course was set up for spectators, he set the plan in motion.
“We started talking about creating a new major for the Professional Disc Golf Association,” Poole said. “We planned that mainly through 1998, and then we got a plan. Then we sort of worked our way up to October of 1999, and we ran the first one.”
Along with the USDGC, the Gold Arena also is hosting the Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship this weekend. Originally known as the Women’s National Championship, this year’s Throw Pink Women’s Disc Golf Championship (TPWDGC) is fielding 41 of the top female disc golfers in the world.
Disc golf has grown in popularity. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, that organization has grown from about 16,000 members in 2011 to more than 100,000 last year.
Disc golf even flourished amid the threat of COVID.
“There weren’t a lot of ways to get out and be active,” said Genevieve Young, the media manager for both of this weekend’s events. “We saw a huge bump in disc golf because it’s one of the few sports you can play where you can socially distance. We’ve slowly been getting involved in schools as well. The barrier to play is very low because your economic status doesn’t matter. Your background doesn’t matter. A disc is only five bucks, and that’s all you need to play.”
Tournament officials want spectators this weekend to enjoy the event.
“We’ve been building this championship village right in the middle of the course,” Poole said. “There’s music and this giant stage. We’ve got a 12-foot-tall-by-21-foot-wide video screen, and we’re streaming the live broadcast to the people in the middle of the course.
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