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Disc golf growing in popularity

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WORTHINGTON — Until disc golf becomes a feature on ESPN, it might never hit the big time. That doesn’t keep the sport’s serious enthusiasts from singing its praises to anyone who will listen.

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Adam Vosburgh, of Worthington, is one of those enthusiasts. This week he is in the Twin Cities participating in the Professional Disc Golf Association’s Amateur World Championships, and though the World Championships are a far cry from the tournament being planned for Saturday in Worthington, to Vosburgh all disc golf is good disc golf.

“Once you throw and get that first initial flight of beaming to the right and coming back to the left, you kind of get hooked,” Vosburgh said this week.

To those of us who really don’t know what the heck he’s talking about, Vosburgh is describing a “flex shot,” and it’s one of many varieties of disc golf maneuvers that the top players — through trial and error — learn to master.

Disc golf, in fact, is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. It is especially popular in Minnesota, which has the third-most disc golf courses in the U.S., trailing only California and Texas. More than 600 diskers are entered in the Amateur World Championships, which began Tuesday and concludes Saturday at several locations in the Twin Cities area.

Vosburgh said he became enamored with disc golf in part because he loves the outdoors — in spite of the fact that he is allergic to common grass. This is why he always wears long pants during golf competitions. If he doesn’t, he might break out in “little bumps.”

This week, the Worthington native is performing on five different courses and taking aim at more than a hundred different “holes.” The world amateurs, he said, is by far his biggest tournament during his three years as a disc golfer, but he was encouraged on Sunday by his performance in challenge events.

Vosburgh led the putting challenge for about three hours, though he didn’t win.

At the world event, you’ll see all kinds of outstanding throwers. There is an 11-year-old who throws more than 50 miles per hour — which is great for an 11-year-old, but nowhere near the 85 mph that a professional from the Twin Cities area has hit. Vosburgh threw discs 58 mph in practice for the world tourney, but he’s quick to point out that success in the sport is largely built upon finesse.

It’s a lot like regular golf in that way.

“It’s more like regular golf than most people understand,” he said.

Saturday’s disc golf challenge and doubles disc golf tournament adjacent to Olson Park Campground has been organized as a fundraiser for the Worthington Area Foundation, which hopes to raise $20,000 in support of its general endowment.

Activities will begin at 9 a.m. with a disc golf challenge course and other activities for people of all ages and ability levels. Contest prizes will be available at the morning event, and in the afternoon an 18-hole random doubles tournament begins for people ages 13 and older. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.

Participants can register online at www.isd518.net/enrichment or by calling District 518 Community Education at 376-6105 no later than Friday. Those that do not pre-register are still encouraged to come out and enjoy the day.

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Doug Wolter
Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and six grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He self-publishes short stories in his spare time. One of his stories, "The Genuine One," is being distributed by a national publisher.
(507) 376-7328
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