Town Tattle: Holding a tight grip on summer
Despite the white powder that has dusted our peaks in recent days, a select few are holding on to the dwindling days of the summer season by gathering up on the hills to fly discs. On Sept. 29, the second annual Snowmassters Disc Golf Tournament will commence on the Snowmass Yellow Course and invite around 60 players from all over the valley to test their skill in a sport ruled by precision and accuracy. Serving a second year as tournament director, resident Brandon Hawksley, with the help of co-director Jeff Bryk, will host the daylong event as players compete individually for an ending cash prize.
Taking a timeout to talk about his involvement with the tournament, including how it evolved and the sponsors who help see it through, Hawksley expressed his anticipation for a big turnout with lots of fun with friends.
Snowmass Sun: What’s the turnout like for this year’s tournament? Are most of the disc golfers experienced?
Brandon Hawksley: Last year’s event drew 40 players of all abilities from up and down the Roaring Fork Valley. This year we are expecting upwards of 60 players, with the hopes of growing this into a large event drawing players from all over Colorado in years to come.
Players of all abilities are welcome to participate, as we will offer several divisions, including a recreational division, amateur division, women’s division and open (pro) division.
SS: How many years have you been playing disc golf? How did you become interested in the sport?
BH: I began playing disc golf approximately five years ago in my home state of Rhode Island. My interest in the sport quickly grew, as it was a more affordable and a less frustrating option to ball golf. I began traveling around New England playing new courses any chance I could get, and my passion hasn’t slowed down a bit since moving here to Colorado in 2010.
SS: Why did you decide to host the tournament in Snowmass? Have you had any tournaments on any other courses in the valley?
BH: The general morale of the local disc golfers is what really drives this event. I also feel that the Snowmass Yellow Course is one of the best courses in the valley, and the scenery is something you won’t experience at many others around. I run a doubles league in Snowmass on Monday nights all summer long, typically drawing 10 to 20 players a week. Last year’s event turned out amazing from all the generous support of local businesses, and this year’s event is shaping up to be the same. Sponsors for this year’s event include Mountain Bayou, Gene Taylor’s, Ski Butlers, Il Poggio, Aspen Sports, Aspen Brewing Co. and the list continues to grow. This event wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of all these businesses.
SS: What in your opinion is the most difficult aspect of the sport? Is there a strategy to playing?
BH: The most difficult aspect to the game is finding the time to practice and perfect the many factors involved in this sport. Like ball golf there are several variables that come into play, including body motion, weight transfer, release points and disc selection. Similar to golf clubs, there are many types of discs, including drivers, midranges and putters. The weight of the disc plays an important role in its flight.
SS: How competitive is the tournament? Does it cost to participate? Does the winner get a prize?
BH: I feel like the word “tournament” is very intimidating. This sport is as competitive as the player makes it. We will have the competitive individual looking to win, and we will have the players just looking to have fun with friends. The divisions created keep these players separate to ensure every person gets what they want from the day. I want to keep it as fun and stress-free as possible. The entry fee is $30 per person, and the first 60 entrants will receive a tournament stamped disc. We will also be hosting an after-party at Mountain Bayou with food and beverages after the round, also included in the entry fee. There will be cash payouts in all divisions to the top finishers.
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