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Sumter disc golf club hosts tournament as interest in sport grows

The Sumter City Disc Golf Club is hosting the Shoney's Summer Sizzler Disc Golf Tournament at Dillon Park on Saturday. 80 registration spots are available.

SUMTER, S.C. — Disc golf is a growing sport in Sumter, and this weekend there is a tournament happening at Dillon Park.

“If you've played golf with the ball, you can play golf with a frisbee,” Sumter City Disc Golf Club Vice President and Treasurer Hobe Scholz explains. “The sport of disc golf in general has grown and with that, our club has grown a lot in the last few years.”

Now, Scholz is gearing up for the first ever Shoney’s Summer Sizzler Disc Golf Tournament, which Tournament Director Stephen Smith is helping host.

“I love disc golf,” Smith smiles. “And I want to know everything about it. And I want to be as involved as I can in as many aspects as possible so that I can get other people to come play disc golf with us and they can enjoy it just like I do.”

When Smith moved to Sumter a year and a half ago, he started going to Dillon Park to play disc golf alone. As the weather warmed up, Smith says he met more people who loved the game.

“There's a great melting pot of all sorts of different people, different perspectives. You know, just humans. I love disc golf. It brings so many people together that would never usually hang out somewhere on their own, but they come here and they're together. We're just throwing,” Smith explains. "It’s my first tournament I’ve ever done. And so these guys are definitely going to have to help me out. Like I said, it’s a growing and learning experience out here."

Smith says it helps form friendships with people like Anthony Byrum.

“Every time I come out here you meet new friends and everybody's probably got the same idea you do,” Byrum shares. “Everybody's out here to chill and have fun and just enjoy.”

It’s a sport that functions like regular golf, just with different frisbees instead of balls and clubs.

“It has low barriers to entry right? Discs don't cost much, it's free to play in public parks,” Scholz says. “So in that sense it's a real easy sport to get to love.”

It’s an activity that provides players the chance to connect with nature while getting in exercise.

“I love the fact that you go to different courses and it's just like different terrain,” Byrum shares. “You know, you can go play in the mountains, you can go play by the beach, you can go play here in Sumter and they're all different and they're all beautiful.”

Byrum tells me he was the inaugural winner of Dillon Park's first ever disc golf tournament. Since then, Byrum says he's watched the sport grow locally.

"We didn't even have a course with baskets. So just to see this land kind of transform from a place with no baskets into what it is now is just amazing to me because I mean, there's so much more here than it was then," Byrum remembers. "And it just shows just the amount of work and money that has come into it."

This weekend’s tournament is happening on Saturday. There are about 10 spots remaining, and there will be prizes for the winners and players’ packs for all participants. To register, you can visit DiscGolfScene.com.

"The Shoney’s management gave us some money to help pay down the cost for entry so it's a cheap tournament for people to enter. We've got some trophies for first place, we've got a juniors division for the first time out there," Scholz says. "We have a great partner for equipment with Innova, which is out of Rock Hill. That's their East Coast distribution. And then Puff-n-Go is a local vape shop that sells discs here in town and they've been a great support as well providing some prizes and things."

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