Austin-American Statesman
Disc golf in the fore-ground

May 7, 2006

Sada Cumber knew nothing about disc golf before Saturday. But the Austin visitor found his interest piqued when he received a surprise invite to the World's Biggest Disc Golf Weekend.

Once Cumber saw disc golfers in action, interest gave way to admiration.

"It's a joy to be invited," said Cumber, chairman of Austin wireless imaging company SozoTek Inc. "This is a game you can play as a family. I appreciate the commitment and the passion."

The most popular event on the international disc golf calendar kicked off Saturday at Zilker Park. It's been an annual local tradition since 1991, when disc golf legend John Houck drew a record crowd to the first gathering, also at Zilker.

Festivities this year are taking place in more than 50 cities in eight countries, according to Dee Leekha, chairwoman of this year's event.

Disc golfers played from 7 a.m. to dark Saturday and will keep the same schedule today. For $25, players play a round on the 18-basket course and receive a disc, a t-shirt and a mini: a tiny pink disc of the variety that golfers use to mark their lies. Organizers plan to donate profits to Caring for At Risk Youth, an Austin-based nonprofit that works to prevent violence, drug abuse and delinquency among students in the Austin and Georgetown school districts.

"Like many nonprofits, we're on a shoestring budget," said Adrian Moore, Caring for At Risk Youth's executive director. "This is very helpful

Houck had hoped to draw 1,000 players this year, though attendance Saturday wasn't as robust.

Hal McBroom, 56, an 11-year disc golf veteran, said traffic on the course was "about the same as a normal day at Zilker."

Several volunteers blamed the morning rain for the light crowd in Austin. At Steeplechase Park in Kyle, where a new 18-hole course was slated to host an event, rain and flooding forced a cancellation.
David Anderson, 49, wearing a T-shirt from the 1992 World's Biggest Disc Golf Weekend, credited Houck with spreading the game.

Behind him, Houck, a member of the Disc Golf Hall of Fame, autographed discs and fielded fan inquiries.
"This weekend is kind of a fun run for disc golf," Houck said. "We want people who've never played to come out and give it a try."

Copyright © 2006 Austin American-Statesman
photos not included in original article. top and bottom right photos by Mark Bowman.

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