By RAVEN MARAGH
Tucker Staley sat on a hill with his shirt off and drink in hand at Albert-Oakland Park, while watching the 26th annual Mid-America Open disc golf tournament with his friends.
Staley said he plays disc golf no less than three times a week and has been playing for about 10 years.
“It’s good to get out,” he said as he turned to his friend, Trevor Kilgore, who nodded in agreement.
The Columbia Disk Golf Club had several different discs set up for purchase as participants signed up for the tournament on Saturday and Sunday. They did, however, have some competition: Lars Nordgren is a traveling salesman for anything disc golf-related.
He stood behind the vertical table lined with hats, discs and chairs and explained that growing up his brothers would accompany him to the lake behind their house in Topeka, Kan., to collect discs.
After awhile, the neighbors would start coming to Nordgren and his brothers to borrow, and eventually buy, the discs. Now he sells merchandise from disc companies such as Innova and Discraft all around the U.S.
In Columbia, Nordgren says he likes “the good disc atmosphere” because people are able to come from places like Kansas City and St. Louis to participate.
This atmosphere gave the community an opportunity to share their park with neighboring cities and states, which provided a good way for people to exercise, tournament co-director Mark Ehlert said.
The golf club’s president, Keith Amerson, not only coordinated the set-up for the event, he made time to get out and enjoy the game on Saturday.
“It’s a good time,” Amerson said between throws.
For Staley and his friends, they continue to play disc golf casually during the week. He said he will leave the tournament-playing up to the “pros,” however.
“Every once in a while, you get a good game,” which makes it worthwhile, said Staley.