Oregon disc golf club finds success in the sport and each other
Two years ago, University of Oregon senior Jessica Boone decided to try something new after sitting next to someone on a plane flying back from Utah. They started to talk during the flight and eventually the topic turned to the club disc golf team on campus.
Boone was intrigued.
“My first practice, I was incredibly intimidated and I almost didn’t want to go,” Boone said.
She was nervous about not knowing anyone, not fitting in and having zero experience with the sport. But because the disc golf club is so welcoming and friendly to newcomers, like many before her, she fell in love with the sport.
“It turned out these are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” Boone said.
The disc golf club follows a set of guidelines, listed in order of importance. Near the top of the list is teaching people the sport, having fun and giving back to the community. Winning and being competitive at tournaments are lesser goals — though they have had plenty of success on that front, as well.
During week three of spring term the team traveled to South Carolina to participate in the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships. Both the men and women’s team did well, finishing fifth and second, respectively. The women’s team was just a single stroke away from taking the championship.
“We were really happy with that performance — it was the best we have done since 2011,” club president Nathan Ryan said.
The fact that Oregon is even able to field a women’s team is impressive, as some collegiate teams struggle to find female participants.
One of the big tasks the club has been working on is trying to fundraise to help construct a new disc golf course in Eugene. The project has been in the works for about four years and the plan is for it to be completely open to the public and free to use.
To fundraise, the club helped to run tournaments in Eugene, sold discs through its partnerships and hosted an annual tournament on campus over spring break — one of the most popular. The club reserves every piece of grass on campus and sets up a temporary course for people to come and use. It serves as a unique opportunity to throw Frisbees in unusual places.
“We have a beautiful campus,” Ryan said. “Being able to play our favorite sport through it without people being constantly through the walkways is pretty awesome.”
The beauty and nature surrounding the sport seems to be a big selling point.
“I really like being outdoors,” sophomore Connor Belisle said. “It’s something to do while you’re hiking. A lot of courses in Oregon are really beautiful, with a lot of trees, meadows and valleys.”
Belisle has been a member of the team since his freshman year. He joined already having experience with the sport and having started his own disc golf club in high school.
However, most of the members on the club are like Boone, new to the sport yet drawn by the people and joy of throwing Frisbees.
“We really think if we can get someone out and play with us just one time,” Ryan said. “They will really enjoy themselves, meet some awesome people and they will have fun.”
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur
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