World's best disc players coming to Marion

News Release Date: 
09.15.09 - 10.30.09

Marion campus to play host to national event 
By JAMES STEVEN • The Marion Star • September 16, 2009 

World`s best disc players coming to Marion

MARION — A flurry of events featuring flying discs will make Marion the place to be for amateur disc golfers from around the world next summer.

MOODGolf, with the help of a few select surrounding sites, is bringing the 2010 PDGA Amateur Disc Golf World Championships to north-central Ohio. Marion will be the tee box for the event that is expected to attract as many as 700 disc golfers of all ages.

Actually competitors of almost every age will head here, says Ken Rollins who is president of Mid Ohio Organized Disc Golf, the group which has worked for four years to bring the championships to Marion.

“We went to Augusta (Georgia, for the Professional Disc Golf Association`s fall meeting) a few years ago and basically made our bid on getting the world championship,” said Rollins. 

“Through some of the visits of the officials looking at this area and our courses and evaluating our core group, we were awarded the championship.”

Rollins was the big driving force in getting a disc golf course built at Marion’s Sawyer-Ludwig Park a few years ago.

That course and courses in Bucyrus, Delaware, Tiffin and Upper Sandusky, combined with the accommodations in Marion and at The Ohio State University at Marion Campus to secure the event.

Over the 7-day period from June 28 to July 3, competitors in junior divisions (age 6) to advanced legends (70-over) will be here vying for world titles. Along with the different age divisions for men, women, youth, mixed doubles and matched doubles, there will be skill contests.

“We are really lucky to have OSUM as our major meeting place, and it`s also the place where we will hold our field events,” said Rollins explaining the Sunday events will feature the putting, distance, mini-golf and skill shot competitions. After that, tournament eliminations begin leading up to Saturday`s finals where the world champions will be crowned.

Only amateur members of the PDGA in good standing will be eligible. The world championships for professional disc golfers will be held at a different time and venue. While the professionals play for a pay day, the amateurs play for prizes ... pretty good prizes ... and bragging rights.

And not only the most skilled of amateurs are limited to playing. The majority of the field will be determined by point standings earned from sanctioned events held through the qualifying period. When those spots are determined, the field will be completed from member’s open applications. Details about divisions and qualifying can be found through the www.pdga.com Web site.

Rollins, a disc professional and course builder who lives in Ashley and works at Marion Correctional Institution, has been playing since 1991 and has witnessed an explosion in the sport, one he hopes this area can capitalize on with this event and in the future.

From the around 20 courses in Ohio when he started, there are more than 100 now. Worldwide, there are more than 3,000 courses. 

He said it`s hard to put an exact figure on the number of recreational players there are around here, but the Sawyer-Ludwig course probably averages a steady 50 rounds a week. Events have been held at these five nearby courses all summer and attracting fields of 60-70 golfers each. 

Marion is an ideal spot to host the world championships, said Rollins, because it is within driving distance of the majority of the 30 states the event will draw from. He also expects a few players from Japan, Sweden and Germany will be heading here. 

“You just see it exploding,” said Rollins. “There are 41,000 members of the PDGA alone, not counting the people who just go out and play for fun.”

Assistant Editor: James Steven for The Marion Star and MarionStar.com, can be reached at 740-375-5146 or jsteven@marionstar.com by e-mail.