Nice write-up in the Willits News. Colleen Pappadakis, their local “stringer” braved the typhoon to come out and report on the event. You can read her report here but I’ll also print it below because it will be moved to the archives eventually and will, no doubt, be hard to find.
183 compete at KOA disc golf tourney
Last weekend’s 16th annual KOA Pro Am Jam, one of the most popular disc golf tournaments in Northern California, brought some 183 competitors to the Willits KOA campground.
Weather conditions wreaked havoc upon the tournament, but gusting winds and driving rain only made the course more challenging and exciting for record turnout of disc golf enthusiasts.
The event drew golfers from all around the West Coast.
1999 Willits High School graduate Levi Fagundes, who took up the sport just five months ago, took part in the tournament. “After playing three rounds with over 180 players, the KOA course had turned into a swampy mess. I was glad I didn’t have to camp,” Fagundes said.
It wasn’t long though before Fagundes found himself absorbed in the family-like environment the disc golfers created. “The whole atmosphere of the event is very friendly and fun,” he said. “Some of the players, even the pros, are very serious when playing, but that’s understandable.”
Gusty winds and scattered showers marked the first day of tournament play, although the sun peeked out a few times, allowing golfers to shoot with a dry disc. Although the winds were severe at times, players felt the rain created more of an obstacle than the wind. A wet disc and loose traction is a perfect combination for disaster, one said.
One of the biggest downpours in the Willits area in recent memory marred the second day of the tournament, catching many golfers in mid-round.
“I was preparing to
play hole six at the pond when the weather changed from light sprinkles to heavy drops,” said Fagundes. “In roughly 60 seconds we were all completely soaked.”
Players carry a rag in their disc bag to wipe off water, mud and grass off the disc before they throw. With the heavy rain, however, the only thing a rag could do was to clean off mud and grass. “The water wasn’t going anywhere,” said Fagundes, “and this made the rest of the day quite rough.”
Another 1999 WHS alumni, Mike Bennett, competed in the event, winning the Recreational Division. Bennett, who has been in the Navy since he graduated from high school, drove up from Fresno to play in the tournament.
“Mike and I saw a course when I was visiting him on the East Coast,” said Faguntes. “We played a few rounds and I became hooked. Next thing you know, I’m buying a bunch of discs. I then came to find there are quite a few local courses in our area.”
One of the best things about the sport is that it’s a relatively cheap hobby. Discs cost anywhere from $8 to $20, and most of the courses where golfers play are free.
“The whole experience for me was a lot of fun,” said Faguntes of his wet-and-wild weekend at the KOA. “I enjoyed the course, the people and the competitiveness.”
The United Flyers of Sonoma, one of the oldest disc golf clubs in California, hosts the annual event during the first weekend of June for both professional and amateur players. The competition draws participants from as far away as Hawaii and Florida.