DISC GOLF…A Hole in One or Two

by | Apr 1, 2011 | Features

The three-person scramble began at 9:15 a.m. at the Pleasant View Disc Golf Course north of Russellville and finished at the newly- completed Old Post Road Park course on the city’s south side. Both courses are 18-holes.The River Valley Disc Golf Association, comprised of approximately 50 members, “stepped up” this year to assist Greg and Paula Roberts of London who conducted the first such event last year to honor their son Matthew. The 15-year old lost his life in March 2009 while attempting to swim across a small body of water located near the Pleasant View course, known locally as the “strip pits” of the Illinois Bayou.
“Last year, the Roberts family conducted the tournament on their own, organizing and coordinating with sponsors. It was a huge endeavor on their part,” said Matt Loyd, president of the River Valley Disc Golf Association. “Because we felt strongly about the family and their involvement in disc golf, we wanted to help honor Matthew and assist with the tournament.”
Last year’s tournament, the first, was held during what Loyd described as “yucky” weather – windy, wet and cold… but the weather did not put a damper on the event, which drew 93 participants – yielding 31 three-person teams.
“I wasn’t familiar with a 3-person scramble before having played mostly singles,” said Loyd, “but the first tournament was awesome. Everyone had a wonderful time and the enthusiasm spread.”
This year’s tournament was publicized mostly by word-of-mouth among players, through the club’s FaceBook page, and by postings at Poppa Wheelies Bike Shop in Russellville and area bulletin boards. It drew 129 players (43 teams) from as far away as Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, and from across the state of Arkansas. Participants were responsible for organizing their own three-person team, said Loyd. Cost was $20 per person/$60 per team. Tournament play is divided by different divisions, from novice to professional.Blue tees Pro White tees Am

The made-to-order weather couldn’t have been more cooperative as Loyd stood atop a picnic table to address the large crowd who had gathered early for the mandatory player’s meeting.
After thanking the Roberts family and other volunteers who worked hard to get the Old Post course finished in time for the tournament, Loyd reviewed the rules.
“Don’t go into the water to retrieve a disc for any reason,” players were told repeatedly. Knowing Matthew Roberts drowned as an indirect result of the family playing at the Pleasant View course kept the reminder top-of-mind for players.
Pope and Johnson County Marine Search and Rescue provided assistance during the tournament for the event in 2010 and again this year, said Loyd. Money resulting from the sale of raffle tickets was donated to the rescue teams who supplied a recovery boat and team members during the tournament.
After completing the 18-hole course at Pleasant View and grabbing a quick bite of lunch, tournament participants re-assembled at the new Old Post Road course.
Pleasant View was established by the City of Russellville Recreation Deparment in 2007 as the “loosely-organized” local disc golf club began. The Old Post Road Park course is a result of a partnership agreement between the River Valley club and the Corps of Engineers. The proposal for the joint land use was submitted to the main Corps of Engineers office in early spring 2010.
“It basically got hung up for six months in red tape before approval was granted,” said Loyd. “But while we waited, we worked to speed up the process, planning as much as we could, securing sponsors for the baskets,” said Loyd. “So, when the approval was granted, we were ‘on go’ and ready to move forward.”

Volunteers who supplied “an impossible to determine amount, in the thousands, of “man-hours” to ready the Old Post course included club members Doug Housley, Steve Bennett, Mark Lykins, Matt Simpson, Glenn Souza, Gary Collins, Brandon Weaver and Eric Rutherford.

“Steve Bennett probably spent as many, if not more, hours working on the course than I did. He personally sponsored two holes on the course, too,” praised Loyd. “Mark Lykins worked tirelessly on preparation, the concrete pads and forms.”
“When the club didn’t have the funding to purchase the concrete for the pads, Mobley Construction (with manpower from their employee Glenn Souza) donated 100% of the concrete for the Old Post course.”
“ATU student Brandon Weaver, who had been saving up for a Spring Break trip, decided instead to donate the money toward sponsoring Hole #15. He was there to work every time we were,” added Loyd.

“Club member Eric Rutherford, a band teacher from Paris, drove back and forth to help. Matt Simpson was there a lot, too, giving up any free time he had to get the course ready.”
“A lot of credit goes to Gary Collins who brought his own tractor to help with the ground work. Without all these volunteers and business sponsors, we simply would not have had the course ready in time,” stressed Loyd.
Each hole at the new Old Post course cost $340 a piece (for the basket and shipping.) All of the concrete for the tee pads was donated by Mobley Construction of Russellville. The forms were loaned to the River Valley Club by the Diamond State Disc Golf Association who also donated time to show them how to use the forms.

“This new course is really a state-wide effort,” said Loyd.
Loyd attributed the further success of the recent tournament to additional supporters, many of whom provided drawing and raffle items such as discs, hats, caps and apparel including: Western Arkansas Flying Disc Association, Ft. Smith, and Diamond State Disc Golf Association, Little Rock.
Feltner’s WhattaBurger donated $500 for the WhattaBurger, WhattaDrive Long Contest. Chris Eads won the contest, determined by one throw on Hole #12 at Pleasant View, with a toss of 506 feet. Eads also won the contest in 2010.
Loyd also wanted to express his gratitude to his wife, CaraJean, for being so supportive of his time and dedication to the game of disc golf. Loyd, along with countless volunteers, spent thousands of hours to prepare the Old Post Road course in time for the tournament.

“She is so unbelievably understanding about my commitment to a ‘silly game’ and puts up with me,” laughed Loyd.
Club officers, along with Paula and Greg Roberts, had different assignments day of the event. With everyone’s help, the tournament ran smoothly.
Profits from the 2011 Memorial Scramble will be used to help fund future tournaments and activities to increase awareness of the sport. For those interested in joining the River Valley Disc Golf Association, annual dues are $10 year for returning members; $15 for new members.
Members are invited to participate in weekly Saturday and Sunday tournaments (weather dependent) where members play for “bag tags” to move up in their local rankings. There is no fee for the Saturday play and anyone may play. The Sunday Doubles Tournament fee is $5 per person. One dollar goes to the club while $4 goes to a payout to winners. The schedule and location are posted at Poppa Wheelies and online via their club’s FaceBook page.
Club officers are: Matt Loyd, president; Doug Housley, vice president; Mark Lykins, treasurer, and cabinet members Brandon Weaver, Gary Collins and Bobby Mullen. More than 50 members are currently involved with the club but Loyd predicts the membership will grow to more than 100 by the end of the year. The group consists of individuals of all ages and skill levels and hail from all walks of life.
A “War on the Shore” singles two-day tournament is scheduled for July 23- 24. Registration information is available locally at Poppa Wheelies Bike Shop, 510 S. Arkansas, and on the Professional Disc Golf Association webpage at pdga. com. Information on these and other club activities are available on the River Valley Disc Golf Club’s FaceBook page.
The PDGA is the governing body of disc golf, of which the River Valley club is a member. It conducts championships, gives awards, and offers memberships to enthusiasts, as well as posting tournament information and a local forum for a mere $20 per year dues.
“Russellville is a ‘disc golf’ mecca, with two of the best courses in the state. We have two championship-caliber courses right here in the River Valley” summarized Loyd.
For information on sport of disc golf, a tournament schedule or club contact information, visit the River Valley Disc Golf Association’s web page or call Loyd at (479) 264-4469.


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