The plastic discs will fly like never before this week at Tiffin's Hedges-Boyer Park and five other Ohio courses, as they host the world amateur and junior championships for the Professional Disc Golf Association.
The tournament, organized by Mid-Ohio Organized Disc Golf (MOODGolf), begins today at Hedges-Boyer's course with the doubles competition at 9 a.m. The field events, which include long-drive and putting contests, are Monday at the Ohio State Marion campus. The various singles divisions begin competition Tuesday. The semifinals and finals are slated for Saturday.
Hedges-Boyer is the northernmost tournament location. Other host courses are at Aumiller Park in Bucyrus, Reservoir Park in Upper Sandusky, Marion's Sawyer-Ludwig Park, Delaware State Park and Alum Creek State Park in Galena. The semifinals will be in Upper Sandusky, Marion and Delaware, with the finals in Marion.
With 515 registered players from all across the country - and a few listed from Canada, Finland, France and even Russia - people like Clare Wertz, one of the tournament's assistant directors, have been quite busy in preparation. Fellow Tiffinite Rob Ledwedge is another assistant director.
"Every time we turn around, we tell ourselves 'why are we doing it?'" said Wertz, who also organizes the weekly Thursday night league that plays at Hedges-Boyer. "We're doing it for love of the sport. It doesn't get any bigger than what we're doing."
Hedges-Boyer is one of two courses - Sawyer-Ludwig in Marion the other - with two tee boxes or marked tee areas on almost every hole. Different divisions will play from different tee sets, Wertz said, and divisions that play the course more than once will use the different tee pads.
While Tiffin's course, which originally was constructed in 2005 has never been in better shape, Wertz said, Bucyrus and especially Upper Sandusky had some course flooding earlier this month, as they got soaked more often than Tiffin. Just more than a week ago part of the Reservoir Park course was a mud pit, but the PDGA posted Friday on its Web site that all six courses were ready for play, after inspection from tournament director Ken Rollins and PDGA director Dave Gentry.
"The parks department [in Upper Sandusky], they have gone out above and beyond to get it playable," Wertz said. "They went in and physically pumped water out."
Several Tiffin residents and regulars from nearby towns who play in the weekly league at Hedges-Boyer will throw in this week's tournament. Players must be registered PDGA members and pay a registration fee.
Jeremy Rall, who will be an Upper Sandusky High junior this fall, won the first-half winner of the Hedges-Boyer league. He will compete in the 19-under junior division.
"I'm not really expecting to win; I'd like to finish in the top 10 or so," 16-year-old Rall said. "It's cool to meet players from all over."
Rall said he considers his driving to be his biggest strength.
"My putting, I'm not as good at," he said. "I just have a lot of accuracy [on drives]."
Tiffin's Doug Miller will compete the 40-over division.
"I figured it would never be this close again, so why not give it a shot," he said.
"I've been playing about 12 years. I used to play at Norwalk when I worked there."
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