A sanctioned disc golf tournament is scheduled to take place in Laramie today for the first time.
The JackalOpen 2018, presented by UniWyo Federal Credit Union, is set to kick-off at 8 a.m. today at LaPrele Park on the Spring Creek Disc Golf Course. The course re-opened last fall after undergoing a renovation.
Players competing in amateur and open divisions will play two rounds of 18 holes today. Amateurs will be competing for trophies, while the open players will be competing for cash prizes. An after-party for those 21 and older will take place at the Cowboy Saloon.
Event director Brian Guice said anyone can jump into the open division if they want to test their skills against the top players and possibly walk away with some money.
“Thanks to a handful of sponsors, we’ve been able to add some money to that pool and hopefully entice some people from out of town and get more people out for it,” he said.
Guice, a member of the local High Plains Disc Golf Club, decided to organize a tournament after the course re-opened last year.
“We tried a tournament in December, and the turnout went really well,” he said.
More than 70 players have registered for the JackalOpen, with the vast majority coming from outside Laramie. Guice said competitive disc golf players often travel the region playing tournaments. In Colorado, he said, one can find a tournament somewhere almost every weekend.
“We’ve done this to get the attention of people from out of town who otherwise would have never come here to play previously,” he said.
High Plains Disc Golf Club led the effort to update the Spring Creek Disc Golf Course, with funding provided by the Albany County Recreation Board. The original course, built in 2004, was confusing and hard to navigate for anyone not familiar with the layout, Guice said.
Players circled the park twice in a figure-eight pattern to play a single round of 18 holes, and they walked almost a quarter-mile between some holes.
Also, because some holes shared the same basket, the course wasn’t suitable for tournament play.
“We had a bad reputation,” Guice said. “People would come and play the first three or four holes, and they would get frustrated and leave and never come back.”
Changes to the course included redesigned basket placements and new tee pads, signs and maps.
The tee pads are level, 14 feet long and six feet wide in the front.
Disc golf is a sport played much like traditional golf, except with a flying disc instead of clubs and a ball. Players aim to throw their disc from the tee pad to a basket using as few throws as possible.
Unlike its counterpart, disc golf courses are usually located at public parks and are free to play, with a small investment required for equipment.
Holes are designed to incorporate the natural features of the course, such as trees, shrubs and bodies of water. A good course will require players to make throws of a range of distances and using a variety of techniques to curve around obstacles.
The Professional Disc Golf Association is the governing body of disc golf. Members of the association receive a rating, which allows them to compete against other players and gauge their own progress, Guice said.
Guice said he hopes the tournament will grow the sport of disc golf in Laramie. Club members host regular league matches and led a disc golf camp for young players earlier this month.
“It’s a lifelong sport,” he said. “All you need is one disc. With that you’re able to go outside and enjoy a fun form of exercise at Laramie’s newly redesigned course for free.”