With a highly rated disc golf course in its back yard, the newly formed Urbana Hilltop Disc Golf Club hopes to increase membership and local interest in the sport by kicking off the season with the inaugural Mando Madness tournament.
City Engineer Tyler Bumbalough, who helped create the 18-hole course at Urbana’s Melvin Miller Park in 2013 with the help of local residents Keith Smith and Gene Newcomer, said the course builders’ original goal was to form a club to run leagues and tournaments and maintain the course.
In January, the club became official and Tommy Yoder was chosen club president. Other officials include Zach Gay, vice president; Kyle Yohey, tournament director; and Bumbalough, treasurer.
There is a $50 cost to join the club for first-time members and $40 each year thereafter. Individuals not interested in participating in league play can join for $30 a year.
“The yearly dues cover getting some club-specific gear (T-shirt and disc), and it also covers league fees for the year,” Bumbalough said. “Part of the dues will also go directly toward maintaining or upgrading the course.
“We are not taking over the (Parks and Recreation Division’s) responsibility of maintaining the course. They do a fine job of mowing and tree maintenance throughout the course,” he added.
Mando Madness – a 23-hole singles disc golf tournament featuring a unique set of rules – will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Melvin Miller Park.
“Our president, in kind of piggy-backing off March Madness, wanted to do something that would kick off the season that doesn’t benefit just the experts in the disc golf world,” Bumbalough said. “We thought of this tournament as a way to level out the playing field by implementing a mandatory route players must take on each hole.”
For instance, some holes require the golfer to throw from a different spot than normal, while other holes dictate how the golfer must throw the disc.
“The idea was to have a fun tournament that wouldn’t have a lot of stress to it so that new people to the sport could come out and play just the same as longtime veterans could,” Bumbalough said.
Tournament registration is 8:30-915 a.m. the day of the event. There is a $10 entry fee, with 100 percent of the fees paid to the winners.
To help raise money for upgrades to the course, the club will sell mulligans (maximum six) and “mando” removals (maximum of two) for any hole of choice.
The website The Disc Golf Scene ranks the Urbana course fourth of 117 courses in Ohio.
“I think people enjoy how well-kept it is, and they enjoy the mixture of nine holes in the open and nine holes wooded,” Bumbalough said. “Some professionals have even played this course, and one of our goals is to eventually have a Professional Disc Golf Association-sponsored event here.”
Individuals interested in joining the Urbana Hilltop Disc Golf Club can sign up during the tournament on Saturday or by contacting Bumbalough at 937-407-5140.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.