Interest in disc golf seems to be exploding in the Southern Idaho region, based on the popularity of annual tournaments and weekly events, and the growing number of people who are picking up the sport.
“Disc golf has been around since the 1960s, but it’s amazing how it’s really picking up in popularity,” says Mike Stradley, owner of the Disc Golf Distribution Center in Twin Falls. “It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.”
Stradley used to sell disc golf equipment out of his mini-van more than five years ago, but over the last four years, he’s had his own storefront with steady and growing sales. The Twin Falls Classic tournament, to be held on Aug. 20-21 this year, filled up in three days with 180 people, including local disc golfers, and participants from Virginia, Michigan and North Carolina.
The affordability of the sport is one reason it’s growing so fast. “Most disc golf courses are free. It costs only $16-$25 for a set of clubs (driver, mid-range disc and putter), and you can go out and have a blast all day long,” Stradley says.
And then there are many courses to choose from in the Southern Idaho region. The 21-hole course at Lake Walcott State Park, with its stately cottonwood trees and nice lawn, is considered to be one of the best disc golf courses in the state of Idaho. The city of Twin Falls has two 18-hole courses, one at the College of Southern Idaho and one in Rock Creek Canyon. Magic Mountain and Pomerelle have 18-hole courses up in the mountains, and then Buhl, Hazelton, Rupert and Burley all have 9-hole courses.
There is a local disc golf club, called the Southern Idaho Chuckers, that holds events several times a week. This week, the club is gathering on a Tuesday night to play Lake Walcott. A pot of cash, $500, is at stake for the winners. The club is open to new members. See the Southern Idaho Chuckers Facebook page for more information.
Another sign that the sport is growing is that some of the local disc golf players in the Southern Idaho region are sponsored athletes, Stradley says. He’s seeing doctors, lawyers, teachers, blue-collar workers and women playing in Twin Falls. Plus, he’s seeing youth players at the CSI course, located across the street from his shop.