By Juan Ibarra/campus editor
Pro players visit to teach about disc golf
Ordinary college sports involve football, baseball, and soccer. However, disc golf is not usual spoken about in the same breath as other sports.
On the eve of the fourth annual “Links on the Lake” disc golf tournament on NW Campus, Professional Disc Golf Association world championship players Jay and Des Reading taught a free class for anyone interested in learning more about the sport.
Jay Reading walked attendees through the history of disc golf. He explained the roots of the sport and how it gained its popularity and also how he fell in love with it.
The couple went to the University of Northern Iowa and played sports on campus. Jay had football, and Des played softball. It was there they met and got involved in disc golf.
“When I discovered disc golf and realized the amazing power that it had of being a lifetime activity, I thought to myself ‘We need more things like this,’” Jay Reading said.
Disc golf’s accessibility was a large reason as to why the sport stood out as much as it did. After falling in love with the sport himself, Jay Reading took joy in teaching others the fun that could be had.
“This game being out in nature and socializing and having a good time, we just wanted to bring this game out to everybody,” Jay Reading said.
Des Reading loves how anyone can play the sport, regardless of whether they are playing professionally or having a fun round with friends.
The positives of the sport outweigh any potential negatives and help shed light on aspects many people may not think about with disc golf.
“In the end, I’m hoping families can recreate together,” Des Reading said. “As a society, we can save our green spaces, and all of those things make us better together.”
The champion couple travels around the world competing in tournaments and teaching longtime fans as well as new players about the sport.
While both players are in the disc golf hall of fame and Des Reading was in the top two slots every year at the PDGA World Championships for almost a decade, both athletes still hold a feeling of camaraderie for all players, whether they are old friends or new.
“Disc golf is very communal,” Des Reading said. “It’s been that way since 1993 until currently when we have over 6,000 courses to play.”
The disc golf community also has a competitive side.
NW Student Christiaan Cagigal has been playing disc golf for four years and has grown from trying the sport out on a friend’s recommendation to professionally competing.
“I decided to compete to see where I stand against other players,” Cagigal said. “I found nothing motivates you more than trying to beat 20 people in your division. You see your hard work paying off and have a good time while competing.”