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St. Clair Shores

October 30, 2013

Nearly 300 disc golf enthusiasts converge on Shores for Ace Race

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The top disc golfers from across the state converged on Brys Park in St. Clair Shores for the Ace Race championships. Despite rain and cold, a record number of participants turned out for the tournament. Pictured is eight-time state champions Mark Ellis getting set for the competition.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores native and Ferris State University student Anthony Salamone has been playing disc golf for about three years.

Salamone and several other disc golf enthusiasts braved chilly, rainy weather to show their skills during the 2013 Brys Ace Race — a disc golf competition sanctioned by Discraft.

The Ace Race took place Oct. 19 at Brys Park in St. Clair Shores. Discraft, the authority in disc sports, calls the Ace Race a global event on its website.

Salamone was the winner of the event, tallying two aces (five points each) in the game that has similar rules to “club golf.” An ace is also referred to as a hole-in-one.

“I played like I would have any other day,” Salamone said. “If you take the game too seriously, you will lose. One thing I constantly remind myself throughout my rounds is to have fun.”

Competitions take place each year from August to November, according to www.discraft.com.

Event coordinator Eric McCahill said the event drew 260 competitors and scores of spectators despite chilly temperatures and ongoing rain. Large prizes were awarded to the top placers, McCahill said, but everyone who participated walked away with something.

“Two-hundred sixty players came out, which was absolutely awesome, given the rainy weather we had,” McCahill said. “We even had spectators that came to cheer (players) on. I’m proud to say we doubled last year’s attendance of 130 players, which was double the 66 players we had the year before.”

According to the Disc Golf Association, the rules of disc golf are similar to the rules used in golf, including the matter of courtesy. It is only fair that your opponent’s turn to throw be without distraction. Players are asked to not throw their disc until they are sure its flight or landing will not distract another player.

Each hole starts with a tee-off, followed by subsequent throws until players reach the basket. Scoring is the same as “club golf.” A stroke is counted each time the disc is thrown and when a penalty is imposed. Strokes are totaled to arrive at the game score. If completing in groups, the players with the fewest strokes wins.

McCahill said the Oct. 19 St. Clair Shores event was the largest this season. He said event organizers had a goal of breaking an all-time record of 309 players, which was set during an event in Minnesota.

Disc golf was added at Brys Park — a 24-hole course — in 2009. McCahill said everyone in attendance loved the course, and watching and playing the game.

“The amount (of players) doesn’t matter,” McCahill said. “Everyone had a great time, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Salamone said Brys Park is a great user-friendly course and one those new to disc golf could use to hone their skills. He said the St. Clair Shores park is the course where he threw his first disc.

“I, personally, love the course due to the fact of its location to my hometown,” Salamone said. “Brys is a much simpler course than others I have played. Its openness and flat terrain make a great combination for posting low scores.”

St. Clair Shores native Allen Fleming finished second, notching one ace and three metal hits — good for one point each.

Fleming, who now lives in Mount Clemens, has been playing the game competitively for five years and called Brys a well-designed course for the space it has.

Fleming, who said he’s played disc golf since 2006, said he was a bit stunned when he found out he placed second.

“On a day like Saturday, it took a little more luck than skill to score,” Fleming said. “I feel like I played well, but I was definitely shocked when I found out my one ace and three metal hits took second, and only two aces won it all.”

McCahill said the fun of the game has helped it gain popularity. He said it’s free at most courses, and players can meet others who are more than willing to help beginners with their game.

Brys Park is home to a league with matches that take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, according to McCahill.

“I used to live very close to Brys Park, and we would take our dog to the dog park there,” McCahill said. “I saw some people playing, decided to try it for myself and instantly got hooked.”

For more information on the game, check www.discraft.com. To find a league near you, check www.discgolfscene.com.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.