How I balance playing in College Disc Golf events with the trials and tribulations of being a full-time university student
February 23, 2023 by Jonah Lynne in Other with 0 comments
Friday, 1/27, 3:45 pm: My chemistry lab ends, and I hastily get back to my dorm ten minutes away. I grab my stuff, make my way down seven floors to the building lobby, then back up three flights of stairs to my car in the parking garage. I hop in and drive two and a half hours from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando to the New World Sports Complex in Jacksonville, where I’d be competing in my first ever college disc golf event, the North Florida Collegiate Classic.
Growing up, I always had pride in teams that I rooted for, and even more so for the ones I competed on. But I never thought I’d see the day I could call myself a college athlete. Yet there I was, donning the black and gold with my teammates in the sport that I now call my passion, standing in the footsteps of Raven Newsom, James Proctor, and Robert Burridge, all former college disc golfers. I am so grateful to represent my school in a way that I never imagined when I stepped into the sport.
Another teammate of mine, Brett Knowles, has a similar feeling about college disc golf: “I started playing disc golf when ultimate (frisbee) stopped like many people. Ultimate in my community never really picked back up so I kind of doubled down with disc golf … [and now] I get to represent UCF in my own unique way.”
Waking up on Saturday morning and seeing all the college disc golfers was a moment I will never forget. I could sense the excitement in the air with all the teams ready to play some great golf on one of the best private disc golf properties in the country. In the singles round, I was lucky enough to meet college disc golfers from different schools, compare my game to theirs, and learn about their journeys in the game.
What is unique about college disc golf, however, is the team aspect of the competition. The total score of a team, comprised of four players, is made up of their singles round scores averaged together, and team rounds, where the team of four splits into two pairs, with each pair playing best shot from the other pair’s lie. By the end of the event, the top teams would earn a spot at the National Championships in April. Among them would be our A team, who had a great event and was able to qualify!
Yet, what was most impactful on this trip was the time I spent off the course with my teammates. We decided to camp on the property to save money and have some fun on the course after hours, which the tournament and property staff graciously allowed. Little did we know that it would be 35 degrees overnight. Did this impact our performance on the course? Perhaps, but this time outside of competition brought us closer together in such a short time period, and it was an experience I’ll always remember.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. By the end of the tournament, I drove back to Orlando a better disc golfer, a friend to new people, and a thriving human being. I never wanted to leave my Monday morning lecture more than the day after I returned.
The College Disc Golf National Championships will take place April 5-8 at the North Cove Leisure Club, the site of the 2023 Blue Ridge Championship DPGT Silver Series event.