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Palmyra to host major disc golf tournament in March

by Mark Cheffey

Palmyra’s place in the burgeoning disc golf world continues to grow with the park courses set to host pro-am tournament this March.

Doug Meyers, park superintendent, said Palmyra’s two disc golf courses in Flower City Park and Well Family Nature Park are highly ranked in the state and the new tournament will only fortify its popularity.

“It’s going to bring a lot of people to Palmyra as well as a lot of attention to the courses and the park,” Meyers said of the one-day Flower City Open Saturday, March 19, that will be sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association, an organization that sanctions disc golf events around the country.

Online sign-up for the Palmyra Tournament began only recently, and has already drawn 48 entrants from eight states, according to Chase Gordon, a Golden, Ill. resident serving as the event’s director.

Gordon said there will be la imit of 180 participants, and it would be great to reach that number, but expects the final total to reach from 140 to 150 due to the event’s newness.

An avid player since he was 13, who was introduced to the sport by his father, Gordon said there has not been an event of this size in the region for some time, and that Palmyra turned out to be a perfect place for one, due to its popularity and because of local cooperation getting it started.

“It’s a dream come true for a tournament director,” Gordon said, noting the help he has received from Meyers and his staff in getting the event started.

Gordon said the Palmyra courses are some of his favorite to play due to the park setting, the layout of the holes and the variety and challenges it provides todisc golfers. 

He said the event to have a $4,500 purse the first time out, and should attract players both on the professional and amateur level and fully expects it to continue in the future and even grow.

“It’s going to be great for the area,” he said.

The event will be conducted with pro and amateur divisions playing two runs, one on each of Palmyra’s two courses.

Disc golf is a growing sport, and Gordon said new courses are popping up all over right now.

To provide an indication of the sport’s growth, Gordon said that from the 1970s through 2017 the PDGA had approximately 100,000 members, but that number has grown to about 200,000 in the time since.

That growth was sustained through the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, because players could continue to get outside and play while minimizing close contact with others.

Meyers said Palmyra’s disc golf courses were recently ranked fourth in the state putting them in the same league as some in Branson and Columbia.

“We’re up there,” Meyers said, noting the courses attract players on a regular basis and have hosted smaller tournaments until now.

Meyers credited many local individuals who have put “countless volunteer hours into making our disc golf courses so spectacular,” including Joe Knochel, Rick Knochel, Todd Damotte, Chris Fountain, Seth Terwelp, Jeff Duffy, Kris Campbell, Matt Thomas, Aaron Johnson, Andy Runquist, Thomas Kroeger, Ross Dames, Jeff Massman, Jacob Barnes and Ryan Barnes.