Disc golf’s ‘Ice Bowl’ may live up to name

By Kristina Jackson

Golfers might have to pack up their equipment for the winter, but the same doesn’t hold true for the Disc Fanatics of Kansas.

The local disc golf club will host its annual Ice Bowl, along with a ribbon, cutting to inaugurate the new expansion of the disc golf course at Fairmont Park.

This year’s Ice Bowl, co-hosted by the club and the K-State Lutheran Campus Ministries, will tee off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

It’s the culmination of a labor of love for the Disc Fanatics.

“It was a pretty good collaboration of ideas,” said Rick Petrie, a member of the group.

Members of the club have been working with Riley County on the course for about a year.

Eleven members of the club made up a team to design the new nine holes. They also remodeled the existing nine holes on the course.

Petrie said they tried to lay out a nice variety of styles and distances for each hole. The throwing distance ranges from 150 to 500 feet. Some require the player to curve a Frisbee one direction, while others require a dead straight throw.

“We came out and we had to sculpt our fairway,” Petrie said.

Aside from laying out a varied course, members also contributed by clearing the area of brush and logs. Petrie said that 25 members of the Disc Fanatics participated in workdays to clear the area.

Members of the group solicited sponsorships to help pay for the expansion.

They received matching funds from Riley County, but also solicited sponsorships from 15 local entities.

Fifteen individuals, mostly members of the Disc Fanatics, also contributed to the project.

Mitch Brenn, a mechanical engineering major at K-State and member of the disc golf club, also plays in the Disc Fanatics Sunday league – and admitted he had never heard of it prior to moving to Manhattan for school.

But after playing “frolf” with a friend at Warner Park, Brenn said he had a blast.

“I was hooked immediately,” he said.

Brenn said he thinks people are attracted to the sport because of the phenomenon of the disc flying through the air.

“Pros can throw a disc (the length of) multiple football fields,” Brenn said. “It’s amazing to see.”

Adam Johnson, a regular in the Sunday league, played casually as a teenager in Dodge City, but became more involved after moving to Manhattan for school, and joined the Disc Fanatics in 2010.

“I just needed to find someone else to play with,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he enjoys the friendly competition and social aspects of the sport, but also said it can be a lifelong passion.

“It’s a sustainable sport,” he said. “I’m going to be able to play until I’m 60 and I won’t be risking injury.”

Petrie said that although there is some competition, disc golf is more like a time to meet other players.

“You’re competing against the course as much as other people,” he said. “You just go and play with friends.”

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