300 players from around the world will converge on Alamance County this week. “It’s like the female Super Bowl for disc golf.”
By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
A record number of participants for the U.S. Women’s Disc Golf Championships will compete this week at Cedarock Park.
Nearly 350 players are registered for the tournament.
“Just due to the growth of women’s participation in disc golf,” tournament director Chuck Connelly said of the expanded field. “They’re coming from all over the world, including the best female players. Getting 300 (female) disc golfers in one place is pretty astronomical.”
“It’s a good get for us. It’s basically an equivalent of the U.S. Open.”
– Jason Thomas, owner of The Fat Frogg in Elon, a tournament sponsor and volunteer
“If you think about it, the [organizers] could have taken this anywhere in the country. This is a big deal for us. The female Super Bowl for disc golf.”
– Steve Shaw, park superintendent for Alamance County Parks of event at Cedarock Park
Three courses will be used, including a newly designed third layout, on the grounds at Cedarock Park, which is operated by Alamance Parks. The Alamance County location won the bid to be the host site.
“It’s a good get for us,” said Jason Thomas, who owns The Fat Frogg bar and grill in Elon and is a tournament sponsor and volunteer. “It’s basically an equivalent of the U.S. Open.”
The USWDGC has been held annually, except for 2020 because of the pandemic, since 1999 and is considered one of the major championships. Madison, Wisconsin, was the site of last year’s tournament.
“If you think about it, the PDGA could have taken this anywhere in the country,” said Steve Shaw, park superintendent for Alamance County Parks. “This is a big deal for us. The female Super Bowl for disc golf.”
With the addition of the third course, Cedarock Park became more suitable because the courses are all in the same park, Shaw said.
The Burlington Area Disc Golf Club has been instrumental in the process as well.
Registered entrants for the pro divisions have come from Canada, Estonia, Finland and Norway. Cristal Flores of Graham is among the entrants.
Other divisions have entrants from Latvia, China, and Puerto Rico. Dominique Preudhomme Martin of Burlington is entered in the Women’s Amateur 4 class. There are 24 divisions.
Connelly, who’s from Sanford, has been organizing events for more than a decade at Cedarock Park. He said the new course adds to the lure for disc golfers.
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“It’s definitely a professional course,” he said.
Shaw, who plays disc golf as an amateur and is a member of the Burlington Area Disc Golf Club, said the growth of disc golf has been widespread the past few years.
“Disc golf has been around for a long time,” Shaw said. “During COVID, it really kicked into another gear and that brought in a lot of new players.”
Cedarock Park has been the site of numerous disc golf events, but this has more tiers, Shaw said. For instance, spectator areas have been created and spots to accommodate camera angles for broadcast purposes needed to be considered.
Three days of practice rounds (Monday through Wednesday) are followed by the four-day tournament running Thursday through Sunday. Play begins at 8:00 a.m., with some of the premier divisions starting in the early afternoons. Rounds generally take about 3½-4 hours.
It’s a ticketed event for spectators, with admission $15 on Thursday and Friday, $20 on Saturday and Sunday, or a weeklong pass for $50.
Connelly said the total purse is around $100,000, with about $10,000 for the pro champion.
Other area groups are assisting in operations. The Burlington Recreation and Parks Department is helping with equipment and the Mebane Arts and Community Center was the site of Wednesday’s “Pioneer Ladies of Disc Golf” panel and a pre-tournament player dinner and meeting.