A NEW HOBBY
The Denison Park disc golf course offers a place where
a group of friends can unwind as they wind up
REPORTING BY LAUREN THOMAS
As his friends watch his form, senior Derik Lisi throws his disc at hole one on Oct. 25. “My favorite part is probably all the challenges, and it’s almost like a man against himself. It’s a different type of sport where you’re not facing someone else,” Lisi said. “It’s just you competing against yourself.” photos by Alexis Woodcock
For senior Logan Bunch, disc golf began as a family affair. “I started playing four years ago with my dad, and we just started playing at Denison because we thought it would be a cool new hobby, and then I got senior Derik Lisi into it, and then he got the rest of the guys into it,” Bunch said.
Paralleling its namesake, disc golf is played on the same number of holes as golf, with a nearly identical rule set. “It’s a lot like regular golf; you have your drivers, putters, and stuff like that. You start off of a tee pad, and then you normally throw your driver, then you throw more of a mid-range, and then you actually throw it into the basket,” senior Jacob Freeland said.
Like many sports, disc golf comes with its own quirks and traditions. In this case, it’s backpacks full of frisbees that define a player’s experience. “We have buckets of frisbees. You just collect them over time because you don’t use the same disc for the
whole round,” Bunch said. “It’s like golfing where you need a different club for different shots, so you just end up collecting them and then you don’t want to get rid of them.”
Beyond Denison Park, the sport has taken many players to other courses in Upstate New York and Pennsylvania, though it took Lisi a bit farther. “This fall I went to Leicester, Massachusetts and I played the number two course in the nation. I played 10 courses up there over the span of a weekend, Lisi said. “It’s about six or seven hours away. I went with 10 guys from the Corning Disc Golf League.”
“I’m going to New York City next year for college, so it’s going to be hard to find a lot of disc golf courses around there. But I can always see myself coming back and playing disc golf, because it’s something that is just so fun and I enjoy so much. I definitely want to keep it in my life for as long as I can.”
Nikolus Nickerson, 12
Senior Lucas Rossington has also experienced playing at far away courses. “I went out to California this summer, not to play disc golf but to visit family, and there just happened to be a disc golf course nearby, so I played there,” Rossington said. “It was a lot different because, in California, the courses are more wooded so you have to be more technical and hit the line you’re trying to hit. At Denison, where it’s very open, you can hit a bigger gap and not worry about the accuracy of it.”
Though they remain friends, competition is not lacking within the group. “I think the social aspect draws me in more because with that comes competitiveness against each other and competing to see whoever gets the lowest score,” Chamberlin said. “Sometimes if I’m bored I’ll go out by myself and just try to get better at it so I can beat my friends when I do play with them,” Rossington said.
A common theme among the players is the value of the friendships they have made through disc golf. “You become friends with everyone and get closer with people, so you learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Bunch said. “I’ve definitely made a lot of good friends that I normally would not have made. I’ve met people that are 25 years old that I would have never been as close with them as I am now through disc golf,” Lisi said.
With the games often taking hours to complete, players have to stay focused even when things go wrong. “There’s always going to be times where you have a bad shot or you lose a disc. You just have to roll with those adversities and keep going, because the round isn’t over and the game never stops,” senior Nikolus Nickerson said. “You have to deal through all the frustrations and the difficult times, and always keep on throwing.”