• August 7, 2020

RECREATION: Disc golf provides additional outlet for outdoor activity - Odessa American: Sports

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RECREATION: Disc golf provides additional outlet for outdoor activity

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Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2020 7:30 pm

If you asked Jubel Scarborough about playing disc golf five years ago, he says that he would have told people that the game wasn’t something for him.

Lots of things can change in that amount of time. Since then, Scarborough is one of several regulars who have become hooked on the game.

 “Disc golf is such a good sport,” Scarborough said. “It’s a good, family-fun sport for anybody to come out and join, play and have a good time.”

Monday was the latest example of that as Scarborough and a group of friends met up at Comanche Trail South Park for a round of disc golf.

With many sports being shut down or limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, people have started looking at a variety of outlets to stay active outside.

For Scarborough, that outlet became disc golf. There are some of similarities to regular golf that include birdies, pars and bogeys. The types of discs carry over some similarities in terms of how far each one flies and what to use in different situations like normal golf clubs.

Scarborough added that there are a number of health benefits to playing.

“It’s good exercise because it’s a lot of walking,” he said “If we played all 48 holes out here, it probably would add up to about 10 miles of walking.”

The sport is starting to grow and expand around the Permian Basin. Currently in Odessa, there are disc golf courses at Comanche Trail Park, McKinney Park and a nine-hole course at Dowling Elementary School. The newest course in the area is an 18-hole course located at Beal Park in Midland.

It’s also becoming more organized with local groups including Midland Disc Golf, Pin High Disc Golf and the Odessa Disc Golf Association. Those groups coordinate small weekly tournaments, known as ‘minis’ as well as other larger-scale tournaments throughout the year.

JDon Midkiff is a former vice president of the ODGA and says that he’s seen plenty of growth in the game in the past few months.

“It made folks get outside,” Midkiff said. “Not only did I notice that disc golf really grew but that there were more bike riders, joggers and families that got walking and it just made everyone in general get outside and not be cooped up.”

Midkiff’s been playing for nearly 10 years now and started after moving back to Odessa after previously living in San Angelo.

Like Scarborough, Midkiff said it also took him some time to get used to the game. It was a bit of an adjustment for the former Permian varsity golfer.

Competing in an out-of-town tournament quickly changed his mind and he went and bought himself a number of discs for his own.

Disc golf can be typically played with three discs, although a collection can grow to as many as 30 discs.

“I always thought that disc golf was silly,” Midkiff said. “But my buddies got me to play around that time and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

There was a brief stretch at the outset of the pandemic where the games had to be paused. With city parks closing, that shut down the number of chances to go play.

Once the parks reopened, however, the regulars came back along with several new faces.

“That was rough because that took our time of exercise and fellowship away,” Midkiff said. “After those 30 days, we got back and I was blown away by the amount of people that started coming out and playing.”

At the tournaments, both Midkiff and Scarborough said that everyone has been good about abiding by the guidelines including social distancing and limiting contact between groups of people.

Even with times being uncertain, the hope is that the game can continue to grow for people of all ages.

“Once you play it, you’ll love it,” Scarborough said. “We hope we can get a lot of people to come in and keep playing.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

Odessa, TX

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