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Taylor Lupton is ranked and loaded for disc golf

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- When Taylor Lupton was 16 years old, one of his friends asked him to try a new sport. And since that day seven years ago, Lupton has been obsessed with disc golf. "In high school, my best friend Derek (Sahr...

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- When Taylor Lupton was 16 years old, one of his friends asked him to try a new sport.

And since that day seven years ago, Lupton has been obsessed with disc golf.

“In high school, my best friend Derek (Sahr) was like, ‘Hey, come out and play,’” said Lupton, who is the head men’s basketball coach at Minnesota West. “His dad had gotten him into it, he played in college. He was like, ‘Come play this sport,’ and he gave me a disc. I’ve been hooked ever since.”

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A native of Sioux Falls, S.D., Lupton is currently ranked in the top 5 in the state of South Dakota by the Professional Disc Golf Association. But it wasn’t always that way.

“I was horrible, but I had a lot of fun,” Lupton said. “I would always go out and play with Derek, he’d been playing since he was 4. He kind of whiped my butt and still kind of does. I’m vastly improved from when I started in 2011.”

For Lupton, throwing discs is more than just a hobby. The trunk of his car is home to hundreds of discs. He plays in tournaments and leagues around the area and can often be found at the Worthington course, or right outside his office in the Center for Health & Wellness.

“I play a lot,” Lupton said. “Every day in the summer, I play like two rounds from my junior year in high school until now. I literally play all the time. And I have a basket at my house I putt on. I’ve kind of gotten obsessed. I love it so much I’m obsessed with it.”

For the basketball coach in him, it’s akin to his players getting in the gym for regular practice.

“I try to get out once a day if it’s nice, honestly,” he said. “Even if it’s just to throw around. It’s as if you went in the gym and just shot free throws.”

While a novice player may carry a disc or two on the course, Lupton carries many more, each one with its own specific function.

“I have a big bag and I probably carry 18 to 20 at a time. It’s like golf clubs, they are all different,” he said. “They have like categories they are graded on, speed, turn, fade and glide. They all would have different numbers and that’s just the basic of it. They all fly differently.”

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Standing at 6 feet, 4 inches, Lupton’s height may give him an advantage.

“I feel like I can get a little more distance,” he said. “That’s what everyone always says, too. A lot of practice and form is a big part of it. But it definitely helps to have a little longer arms. Some of the longest throwers in the game are short and stocky guys.”

As the tournaments wind down for the year and basketball season gears up, Lupton said he’s playing the best he ever has.

“I think the toughest part of the sport is being consistent,” he said. “It’s tough to go 18 holes and be consistent. Because if you mess up once in a top division, people won’t mess up. It’s tough and it’s fun. You’re mad, you’re happy, you’re sad, but in the end you’re just having fun.”

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