Jul. 2—STEWARTVILLE, Minn. — There's always a first time for everything and, for some, Saturday was their first go at playing disc golf.
A disc golf tournament debuted at Stewartville Summerfest on Saturday, July 2, 2022, after the work of organizer Scott Boelman, who said he had about a month to throw the event together.
One family, the Burmans, drove from Rochester to Bear Cave Park with three rookie disc golf players. The parents, Mindy and Mike, had played a couple of times before, but "not anything competitive," Mindy said. With them were their kids, 13-year-old Aidan and 11-year-old Sophia, and a friend, 13-year-old Owen Lent.
"It's just something fun to do with them," Mindy said.
Though it was their first time playing, Aidan, Sophia and Owen said they enjoyed playing.
"Yeah, I'd probably (play again)," Owen said. "Something to do in the day."
The experience didn't come without some hiccups though, like the times the disc went awry into a cluster of trees. Or the time Sophia's disc flew too high and landed high in a branch. Or when a few frisbees ended up in the bottom of a ravine off hole nine.
There was also the confusion with the rules. Like most newbies to any sport, the group played in a way that made sense to them, with the person with the nearest disc to the start played first.
After observing the group in front of them, they decided to read the rules on the back of the card they scored on.
"(Scott) mentioned some like PDA rules," Mike said.
"Person with the lowest score throws first," Mindy read.
"Oh, sorry," Mike said. "I've been cheating the whole time."
Boelman, a student at Minnesota State University, Mankato, didn't expect everyone playing would be a professional. Actually, he said he was glad families came.
At least 70 people signed up to participate. Boelman chose to group the teams differently than how teammates are usually assigned.
"Normally, they do random people in groups and stuff like that, like it's all random," he said. "For me, as a fundraiser, fun event, it's like if you want a group of four friends, yeah, I'll put you on the same card."
Boelman is fundraising to replace the baskets at each hole and change the tee signs to include a visual of the course, updated par numbers and a sponsor, with a QR code linking to the sponsor's website or information. It's an important project to him because, according to his mom, Kerri, the course at Bear Cave Park is his favorite.
Boelman started playing frisbee golf during the COVID-19 pandemic because, like many people, he didn't have anywhere to go and participate in activities. He started playing by throwing around on his family's driveway.
"He's gotten big into it," Kerri said. "In fact, the day after high school graduation last year, him and a buddy took a road trip all the way out east and went to all these different disc golf courses and played them."
Just by organizing this tournament, Boelman exposed people to disc golf who may never have played otherwise. Maybe those players will come to love the sport as much as he does.