Twenty brave elements to compete in disc golf tournament

Published 12:14 am Sunday, February 14, 2010

NATCHEZ — With a large body of water between him and the basket, 16-year-old Nageeb Laborde tried an unconventional method of throwing the disc he uses to disc golf.

Instead of chunking it in a backhand or forehand motion, Laborde held the disc in his hand sideways, wound up as if he were throwing a baseball from center field and lobbed it as high and far in the air as he could.

The disc leveled out mid-air and glided the rest of the way across the water, landing near a few trees. Even though it did manage to land near the basket, Laborde said that was just a bonus.

“I was just trying to get it across the water,” he said.

Laborde, a New Orleans native, is no stranger to disc golfing, having won the 2009 Amateur Disc Golf World Championship for the Professional Disc Golf Association. Saturday, however, was a more laid back atmosphere for him, when he competed in a local disc golfing tournament hosted by the Natchez Disc Golf Club at Natchez State Park.

“I’ve been playing pretty well,” Laborde said. “I’ve missed a few puts. It’s just a really relaxed day for me.”

The Natchez Disc Golf Club organized the event in hopes of raising awareness about the sport, and to raise money to purchase nine additional baskets for the state park, which currently only has nine.

“We had about 20 people show up, which is not bad considering the snow,” Ryan Porter, club co-chairman, said. “I was pleased to see a few people from Louisiana show up.

“Overall, it was definitely a success in the fact that we had a decent turnout and were able to raise money for the baskets. We have $950 in-pocket right now, and more contributions that have been promised.”

Allan “Hogman” Morrow, club president, said the tournament laid the groundwork for a much bigger picture for disc golfing in Natchez.

“We’re part of the Southern National Tour Series, and also part of a much bigger organization, the PDGA,” Morrow said.

“I feel that, because we’re in an area with a lot of disc golfing communities around, we’ll eventually get about 100 people here to the state park for a tournament. As for our club, we have about 10 members right now, and we’ll probably get that number up to about 20.”

Natchez High School soccer coach Dennis Hogue plays disc golf as a hobby, and heard about the tournament through a buddy of his.

“My friend John Holyoak said, ‘Do you know about this tournament?’ He heard about it in The Democrat, so we came and checked it out.

“We’ve flown this course for fun, but not for a tournament. We had no idea there was a club in town, but this has been very well-organized, with food, official scorekeepers and everything. I’m very impressed.”

Hogue also found out something neat in regards to the disc he uses when he plays.

“I use an Aviar disc that I bought 15 years ago,” he said. “One of these guys was telling me it was one of the original Aviar discs, and that it was a collector’s item worth about $100.”

Laborde said tournaments like this one were good for getting more people interested in the sport.

“It’s always fun playing on a new course, and I’m just happy to see people playing the sport,” Laborde said. “When were out here playing, other people at the park see it, and they usually want to ask us about it.”

For more information on the Southern Nationals, visit www.sndg.org. For the PDGA, go to www.pdga.com.