Hermiston hosts first professional event
By TAMMY MALGESINI
Area disc golf enthusiasts are excited as Hermiston Desert Disc Golf will host its first Professional Disc Golf Association event.
The Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation Open is Saturday and Sunday at the course, located at the Oxbow Trail, 1100 N.W. Elm Ave., Hermiston. A player’s meeting starts each day’s play at 8:30 a.m. The tournament also includes a merchandise raffle of disc golf discs, baskets, bags and other items donated locally. Proceeds from the event will go to the health foundation.
Presented by Dynamic Discs and hosted by the Umatilla Disc Golf Club, the event features three 18-hole rounds. The registration fee ranges from $45-$90. Players can register online by 8 p.m. Friday at www.discgolfscene.com.
The tournament is open to youths, amateurs and professionals. In addition to a number of locals who plan to play, Ginger Wilkinson, secretary-treasurer of the Umatilla Disc Golf Club, said participants have signed up from out of the area, including La Grande, Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities. The tournament is open to 72 players — as of Monday evening 53 were registered to play.
The amateur players will receive a player’s pack, which includes a disc, a dry-fit event shirt and other disc golf swag. As a B Tier event, tournament director Matt Richmond said $500 has been added to the payouts for professionals.
“So there is big reward for the pro divisions,” said Richmond, who is president of the Umatilla Disc Golf Club. “The am (amateur) divisions are paid out in what is called a ‘script,’ a money voucher to buy discs or merchandise from a club that is providing discs.”
The course’s inaugural tournament is taking place less than eight months since its dedication ceremony. Wilkinson said that shows that the sport of disc golf is growing.
“And like we said a year ago, if we build a course, people from all over will come,” she said.
The city of Hermiston plans to add another nine holes to the course during the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
The tournament, Wilkinson said, benefits area businesses as players coming into town will likely purchase things like food and gas. Richmond, Wilkinson and other club members are excited to show off the course and serve as representatives of the community.
Wilkinson encourages people to come out and play — regardless of their skill level. They can enjoy the camaraderie and sense of community, get advice on equipment and techniques, and engage in outdoor exercise.
“Disc golfers are really a close knit community for the most part,” Wilkinson said. “We love the challenge of a new course and players will come from far and wide to play this course.”
For more information, visit www.discgolfscene.com, search Facebook for “Umatilla Disc Golf Club” or call 541-314-5727.