Bag and tag: Group starts disc golf leaguePublished 11:06am Thursday, June 19, 2014
Fergus Falls resident Jesse Thorstad likes to approach the green the same way fellow golfers do, estimating the slope toward the hole, determining the strength of the putt and how fast his shot will break.
But the difference between Thorstad’s shot and another golfer’s is that Thorstad isn’t breaking out a club to get him into the hole, but a new disc to throw to make par.
Thorstad and 24 other individuals have hit the greens of the M State disc golf course for the inaugural season of the Fergus Falls Disc Golf League.
Fargo-native Todd Fiechtner created the league. Fiechtner, a disc golf enthusiast, moved to Fergus Falls in March of 2013. Fiechtner’s love of disc golf had taken him across the country as he has competed in several different tournaments across nine different states. He loves the added challenges that each course brings, he said.“It’s crazy how different every course really is,” Fiechtner said. “I’ve played through forests with 10 foot tunnels and crazy elevation change, I’ve played in the desert where it’s pretty much wide open with a lot of low brush so it forces you to throw different than we do here. I’ve played in the mountains, throwing off of cliffs. I may be biased but I love the style of game that is here in Minnesota, plenty of trees, water, and awesome people.”
Fiechtner began to see other people playing the game during the summer and talked with them about playing in a regular weekly league. After setting up a successful tournament last Halloween, Fiechtner decided to go ahead with the formation of a league.
The rules of disc golf are very similar to the traditional 18-hole ball golf. Players traverse the course, attempting to get their disc into the hole in the fewest number of strokes.
“The “hole” is a metal basket on a pole with chains designed to help catch the disc as it enters the basket,” Thorstad said.
Members also carry a bag, much like regular golf, full of uniquely named drivers, mid-range discs and putters.
The league runs under a point and “bag tag” system. A bag tag system distributes a number to each player based on their rank in the league. A player may challenge another player in order to win their number. The goal is to hold the top tag at the end of the year.
Each member of the Fergus Falls league paid $35 at the beginning of the year and an additional $3 every week. The finances for the league are dedicated to end of the year prizes, funding course improvements/future courses and the rest will be donated to charities.
Fiechtner hopes to get the league certified by the Professional Disc Golf Association the league and has been in talks with city officials about creating an additional course in Fergus Falls.
The difficulty of the course at M State isn’t based on distance of the hole, but more on the hazards of tall grass, flooded paths and the forested areas. Members spend a considerable amount of time looking for discs after drives and battling through brush to deliver a perfect throw.
Thorstad and other fellow disc golf players dream of a day where they can play on a professional level course in the comfort of their own community.
“We really fantasize about a pro-level course being added to the grounds of the Regional Treatment Center. It’s beautifully maintained, and has rows of trees that lend themselves to beautiful disc golf holes. That would be amazing and could bring some nice tournaments to town,” said Thorstad.
With high hopes and aspirations for the league, Fiechtner just looks to continue providing an alternative sport that brings family and friends together.
“My biggest vision for this league is just to continue to grow and promote a safe, healthy, family friendly, and fun environment for people of all ages to come out and experience. To continue to get new people involved and help them evolve their game. And to help this sport that we love and help it grow,” said Fiechtner.
If you are interested in joining the league or looking for more information, you can contact Todd at email@example.com or by phone at 218-443-2716.