The growing sport of Disc Golf got a boost in South Florida when a tournament took place on Saturday, Nov. 17, at Palmetto Bay Village Center.
Hosted by the Miami Disc Golf Association (MDGA) and starting at 9:30 a.m., the event attracted area residents interested in learning more about the sport. Outgoing Vice Mayor Brian Pariser attended and threw the first disc into the basket to begin the tournament.
“We had about 36 players,” said MDGA president George Alvarez. “We had periodic groups of families who would come, and we gave them free discs and some free lessons from the World’s Disc Golf Champion, Paul McBeth, who was here. It was set up throughout the whole property. It was in and out around the buildings and open areas, in the woods, around the lake and different areas. To walk the whole thing is roughly two and a half to three miles.”
Rookie of the Year Ricky Wasocki also was there to help promote the sport of Disc Golf in Miami.
Not just a one-time event, the Disc Golf course is intended to be an ongoing feature at the Palmetto Bay Village Center and other locations around South Florida.
“We’re creating these courses to go into local community parks so everyone can start using them and have a family activity they can play basically for free,”Alvarez said. “Once they buy their disc they can go play anytime they want and as much as they want. You don’t have to pay greens fees, it’s good exercise walking the whole course, and it’s a game, a sport, in which you’re trying to shoot the best score.”
Alvarez said that the Village Center location truly plays like a championship Disc Golf course.
“It’s the most challenging course that we have in Miami available right now,” he said. “We’re doing this as a wellness activity, which is great for the seniors. We work with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, local schools, Special Olympics, a lot of people. We have people in wheelchairs playing indoors.”
Alvarez said that Disc Golf, which started in 1969-70 in Berkley, CA, is the fastest growing sport right now. It’s in 33 different countries so far.
“I left Charlotte, NC, with a Disc Golf community growing there, 13 years ago to start International Technology sales in Miami,” Alvarez said. “Now they have over 35 courses and have just finished having the World Tournament there, which brought in tens of thousands of people in for one week.”
Alvarez said the sport could be an economic boost for Miami and local businesses. He said that McBeth and Wysocki loved the Palmetto Bay Village Center Course and feel it can have national and A Tier events.
“Our next event will take place at historical Virginia Key Beach Park,” Alvarez said. “This course has nine permanent holes and we are working on getting funding for 9 more baskets to have our tournament for Feb. 16 and 17. Any business or personal sponsorship is welcomed to help our sport grow in Miami.
“All we really want is for commissioners and mayors to help us to try to put more courses in where people can get off their cell phones and electronic gadgets and get back to nature, get into the parks.”
For information about Disc Golf outings, sponsorships or volunteer work contact George Alvarez at 786-457-6214 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook under Miami Disc Golf Association.