Disc rift creates opportunity for players
SUMMIT COUNTY – Tuesday’s inaugural Copper Mountain disc golf tournament marked another shift in the changing face of disc golf in Summit County.
In one year, local competitive outlets have jumped from one biweekly tournament series to three. With the traditional Frisco AB Ski and Sport series every other Wednesday at the Frisco Peninsula, the first-year High Country Disc Golf Club series on alternating Wednesdays at the Peninsula and the brand new Tuesday night Copper league, local players have more options than ever for competing.
“Instead of every other week, it’s every week now,” said Silverthorne disc golfer Matt Thomas. “It’s helped me out for other tournaments, for the real tournaments.”
What became such a boon for local players began as a rift among tournament organizers.
During the offseason, the High Country Disc Golf Club, led by president Kevin Metzler, began organizing its own Wednesday night league. The second-year club had worked with AB Ski and Sport and tournament director Lori Davis the year before, but, without consulting Davis, the club decided to break away with its own series this summer. Both series have been playing since early June.
Metzler could not be reached for comment, but club member Frank Johnson, who helped start the Wednesday night league six years ago and is the driving force behind Copper’s Tuesday night league, explained some of the reasons the club wanted to break away.
“It should be run by a club, not a store or a business,” Johnson said. “That’s how tournaments survive. That’s how disc golf survives, is through clubs. Unfortunately, AB Frisco is pretty stubborn. (They) didn’t want to become part of the club.”
The two Wednesday series have, for the most part, peacefully co-existed. The majority of local players enjoy both. But some members of High Country Disc Golf refuse to play in the AB series, and Metzler and Davis have not spoken this season.
“It’s a stupid little battle,” Johnson said. “I think eventually everyone will work together and combine to run all the leagues. The problem is, people are trying to make money off it, and it’s not really a money thing.”
The leagues have settled into two different niches. The High Country Disc Golf series, with its $10 entry fee, has attracted the county’s professionals, while the AB series, charging $5 for amateurs, has been a magnet for less-
“As a pro, you’re more likely to like the High Country Disc Golf (league), because there is more pros playing in that one, which mixes it up,” offered Frisco’s Chad Granato before teeing off Wednesday at the third event of the AB Frisco series.
The Copper series, meanwhile, is offering $3 registration for amateurs and $5 for pros. Twelve players showed up Tuesday. Turnout for both Wednesday leagues has hovered in the 20s and 30s.
Davis was originally upset about Metzler’s decision to start a separate series, but she’s pleased with how things have played out.
“In retrospect, he kind of did us a favor,” she said. “I’m not sad about how anything has turned out, except for maybe the personal portion of it, because he didn’t really talk to me. But he did us a favor, because we’ve got a lot more amateurs this year, and that’s what it’s about.”
These days, Davis’ animosity is directed at the town of Frisco. Last week she received paperwork saying the town will charge $350 next summer for the right to use the course exclusively each tournament. This year, she pays the town $3 per player.
Davis said she would be unable to run the tournaments under those conditions and hopes to persuade town officials to reconsider the policy.
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