By Jeffrey Meyers
At almost any park in Bowling Green, you can spot people throwing discs at chained baskets. This is disc golf, and WKU has a team for it.
Disc golf is a sport where players throw frisbee-like discs into baskets, attempting to score below par. Players often own many discs that glide in different ways, and it is the player’s choice to judge which disc to use and how to throw it, depending on how far the player is from the basket and what obstacles there are.
The WKU disc golf team has 18 members, including 12 competitive members who go to tournaments, according to club president, Ryan Messenger.
“I’ve been a member of the team since my first semester here in 2019,” Messenger said. “That fall, we competed in a national qualifier at Liberty University, and we qualified for nationals in 2020 but that got canceled because of COVID. I’ve been competing since I’ve been here.”
Club secretary A.J. McGillivray said that there have been plenty of opportunities for club members to compete this year.
“We had a fundraiser last week and back in November of 2021, we had a collegiate disc golf qualifier, and we got second place in that, so that gave us the opportunity to go to nationals in North Carolina,” McGillivray said.
Club vice president Michael Netherton explained how there are several different methods to these competitions.
“We have teams of four and we’re competing against other collegiate teams,” Netherton said. “They do what’s called an alternate shot doubles with teams of four, so two people will throw and they take the best shot and then the next two people will throw from that shot and that’s how they do the tournaments.”
WKU’s qualifier showed promise for the future of the club, Messenger said.
“It was called the Big Red’s Collegiate Qualifier,” Messenger said. “It was the first time WKU’s hosted a national qualifier, it was a learning experience for sure. It was really successful, we hosted 54 competitors. Kennesaw State from Georgia won that tournament and we got second, and our tournament received two bids for the national championship, so since we got second, we still got the bid.”
As the president of the club, Messenger is hopeful for the continued growth of the chapter.
“Since I became the president in Spring of 2021, we’ve grown from five members to over 18 members in the club and 12 competitive members who actually travel for tournaments,” Messenger said. “I’m
excited to see how we stack up in these bigger tournaments because I think we have a lot of potential to do some really good things.”
In the sport of disc golf, there is an added challenge with different weather and course conditions.
“I try to par most of the holes that I can, so staying even or a few over par is a pretty decent score for me,” Netherton said. “A bad day would be in the woods every other shot and shooting way over par.”
The club meets every Tuesday and Thursday, and at these meetings, there is friendly competition within the groups.
“I really like the club, it makes everything more competitive,” McGillivray said. “Even our casual rounds are pretty competitive. Some people really don’t like that aspect, personally, I do.”
Messenger said he would like to see continued growth within the club.
“You can follow us on Instagram at @wku_disc_golf and if you’re interested in disc golf, you play disc golf or if you know anybody that might be interested in disc golf, we meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can contact us, and we’re open to any and all players. Whether you’ve played your whole life or never played before, we have discs you can use, and plenty of people to teach you. Anybody’s welcome.”