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Northern Maine Disc Golf Tour tees off

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BRADFORD – A different kind of golf tour is about to tee off in the region. Not with clubs being swung, but rather discs being flung.

The Northern Maine Disc Golf Tour (NMDGT) is a collection of disc golf tournaments that will play out over the coming weeks, with 10 events playing out at 10 different courses. The NMDGT will be kicking off its 2021 slate with a tournament at Two Clapps Disc Golf Course in Bradford on March 28.

Subsequent events will take place at: DR Disc Golf (Orrington); Hidden Acres (Old Town); Legacy Farms (Winterport); DND (Sydney); WACC (West Appleton); Sky Riders (Fairfield); Hapana (Trenton); Pandemic (Albion); and Maple Ridge (Westfield).

Each tournament features several divisions, determined by factors like skill level and age. Points are awarded for performance at each event, leading to the tour’s points championship, set to take place at Circle Two on June 6.

Disc golf is one of the fastest-growing participatory sports in the country, with a steady uptick over the course of the past few years before a big spike in participation over the last year. It’s an easygoing outdoor activity with a low barrier to entry, both in terms of play and of cost.

That growth is apparent in our region as well, with a number of new courses popping up in the area over the past few years.

Andrew Kahl is one of the people helping to drive some of that growth, He’s the owner/operator of Circle Two Disc Golf and the designer of the Two Clapps Course in Bradford. He’s also the tournament director for the Northern Maine Disc Golf Tour.

It’s a sport that grabbed him right from the start.

“I've been playing disc golf since 2013,” Kahl said. “Friends invited me to play a round at DR Disc Golf in Orrington where I didn't take it very seriously at first, I thought I was just going to play this once or twice and move on. It wasn't long until I had purchased 20-plus discs, I had already upgraded from my introductory bag, and I was playing up to 12 rounds a week. You could say I was hooked.”

Of course, with that kind of immediate infatuation, it’s no surprise that Kahl would consider taking the next step and putting together a course of his own in Two Clapps – a par-58 course that, among other things, features the hardest first hole in the state.

“You will find tight fairways, wide open fairways with elevation, water, forest and a lot of fun,” he said, describing the course named for his grandparents.

And then we have the Northern Maine Disc Golf Tour. Putting together an event like this is no doubt a complex endeavor. So why put in all that work?

“I believe that to grow the sport of disc golf in northern Maine, it would take bringing all of the courses together,” said Kahl. “Southern Maine has been voted as the number-one place to play disc golf in the United States, for very good reason.

“But once you get north of Augusta,” he continued, “the courses get further and farther apart. I am thrilled that we were able to put together a tour that’s 11 weeks in a row, with some local favorites and over half brand-new in the past two years. This is an amazing accomplishment for the greater Bangor area.

“I wanted to put the tour together to give players a new reason to check out their old favorites, travel around, enjoy the competition and help promote disc golf in a positive way.” 

Kahl’s not starting from scratch, though; he ran a shorter version of the NMDGT – five events over six weeks – last year. But he wanted to do more – and keep it as local as possible.

“This year I wanted to get to 10 events,” he said. “I wanted to try and stay north of Augusta so players wouldn't have to travel too far for each event.”

While the NMDGT is an opportunity to expand interest among those who are already somewhat engaged with the sport, perhaps you’re someone who has never played before and is interested in potentially giving it a try. If that sounds like you, Kahl has some advice.

“My best advice is always the same: just go play,” he said. “Grab a mid-range disc [a disc with properties between that of a driver and a putter; good for beginners]. Start there. They will not mask as many of your early form mistakes, this is crucial to building a great foundation.”

Kahl also extolled the benefits of participating in a disc golf league.

“Leagues may sound intimidating, but they are the backbone of disc golf growth, and you will find 99% of the people you meet on the course are willing to give you constructive criticism.”

Over the course of the spring, the Northern Maine Disc Golf Tour will be crisscrossing the state, visiting courses old and new, with players of many different skill levels competing and having fun while doing it.

For what it’s worth, I’ll be out there for some of these dates. Maybe I’ll see you out there. Be warned, though – I might nice you.

(For more information about the Northern Maine Disc Golf Tour or Circle Two Disc Golf, you can find their pages on Facebook.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 March 2021 05:45

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