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Just Throwing It Out There

An Economical Game that is Fun for the Whole Family

Article by Sue Baldani

Photography by Thomas Hall/Eagle Aerial Solutions

Originally published in Topeka City Lifestyle

Although disc golf has officially been around since the 70s, it’s become much more popular in the last few years due to the pandemic. “Kansas was one of the early adopters of the game,” says Terica Gatewood, who, along with her husband Sean, owns Play It Again Sports in Topeka. “The Ice Bowl [a disc golf tournament] was actually played here in Kansas for many years.”

So what is disc golf? “It’s just like golf, but instead of using a stick and a ball, you throw a disc,” says store manager and player, Jace Williams. “The goal is to get the disc in the basket with as few throws as possible. There are courses that have 9 baskets and 18 baskets, and there are several courses with multiple baskets per hole.

The discs, he explains, are pretty much all the same size. “There are some that are a little bit bigger, but they all have to be within a certain size to be legal to use in a tournament or competitive play.”

Jace started playing with some high school friends around 2014. “It was an opportunity for me to hang out with my friends and a way to get together and get out of the house,” he says.

He and his girlfriend, Allexis Menghini, who started playing in 2020, compete in the sport. Both former athletes – Jace played football and basketball, while Allexis did track and pole vault – enjoy the competition. “I’ve played in some professional tournaments, and it was cool to see the different levels for competition,” she says. “We’ve also played in some fundraisers that weren’t as high level, but still fun.”

Luckily, there are plenty of courses in Topeka, and the best way to find them is through the UDisc app. And, they’re free to play, so it’s an economical and enjoyable sport for the whole family.

Play It Again Sports has plenty of used discs that can also help keep costs down. “We offer new and used equipment, and what makes us special is customers can bring in any quality items they have, and after we evaluate them, we give them a cash offer or an in-store credit,” says Terica. “So, families can actually afford to get into a sport because there's used equipment available to them.” She says used discs can be found for as little as $6.99, and you only need one disc to play. Since the store employs athletes, they can help guide customers with choosing the right equipment.

Disc golf is an easy sport to learn, doesn't take up a lot of space, and is just a lot of fun. “It’s accessible to pretty much anyone, and you can play with all ages and abilities - that's a really cool part of the sport,” says Allexis.

“We've got quite a few kids here in town that actually do really well,” says Terica. “We have a junior league, so there are leagues people can join to get together with others.”

Adds Allexis, “Everyone on the course has been really friendly and it's easy to make friends.”

Playing also doesn’t take a lot of time. “There are some nine hole courses you could probably get done in an hour or less depending on how many people are in your group,” says Jace. “To play 18, it would be around an hour and a half to two hours.”

Like any sport, it takes practice to become great. “Don't give up, keep trying,” says Allexis. “There's a little bit of a learning curve, but it'll be addicting once you see yourself improve and keep making improvements.”

  • Allexis Menghini & Jace Williams

“It’s just like golf, but instead of using a stick and a ball, you throw a disc,” says Jace Williams.

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