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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
The second ever Pike County Big Buck Classic disc golf tournament will be held this Saturday at the disc golf courses at Lake Pittsfield and Barry’s Bow Lake.
According to tournament director, Coy Bainter, registration for the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) sanctioned tournament closes this Thursday, Oct. 7.
“Normally we could allow walk-up registration,” Bainter said. “But because we’re using golf carts, it wouldn’t be fair if we ran out of carts for some competitors.”
The Pike County Big Buck Classic, a PDGA C-tier tournament, is open to both professionals and amateurs – with cash and prizes to be awarded to winners in several categories on both the professional and amateur side of the competition.
Participating disc golfers will complete the courses at Lake Pittsfield and Bow Lake over the course of the competition.
Tournament play is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at both courses. Awards and payouts will be presented at the Bow Lake clubhouse beginning at 4:45 p.m., depending on the pace of play among tournament participants.
The disc golf tournament, according to Bainter, is an effective way to bring visitors to Pike County. “We want people to come for the tournament, see the course, and then want to come back,” Bainter said. Bainter added that disc golf has turned into a reliable way of drawing visitors to the county.“It brings people in,” Bainter said. “We fairly regularly see people that have traveled two hours or longer to use the course. We commonly see visitors from Alton, St. Louis, Macomb and Keokuk. This summer, we had visitors come through from Wisconsin.”
In addition, Bainter said that interest in disc golf continues to grow locally and nationally, a trend that only sped up over the course of the pandemic.
“It’s one of the fastest growing sports,” Bainter said. “The pandemic brought more people into it. ESPN has begun to broadcast it, and there’s now a pro tour more like golf.”
Locally, Bainter said that interest has been strong among young people, who find the sport more accessible than traditional golf.
“Originally, I thought kids would start playing disc golf and it would lead into golf, but it’s been more of a standalone thing,” Bainter said. It’s easier for a kid to figure out how to throw a disc than it is to hit a golf ball.”
Bainter encourages the general public to come to Bow Lake to watch disc golf pros and amateurs compete in the Big Buck Classic.
“People can come out to Bow Lake and watch,” Bainter said. “They can sit on the porch and have a beer.”
Event details, including schedule and registration, for the Pike County Big Buck Classic are available at: https://www.discgolfscene.com/tournaments/Pike_County_Big_Buck_Classic_2021.
The Big Buck Classic is hosted by Picture Pittsfield and Bow Lake Disc Golf Course. Illini Community Hospital sponsors the event.