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Disc golf competition helps feed the hungry

By Denise Sautters
CantonRep.com staff report
Posted Jan 24, 2009 @ 05:50 PM

CANTON — No wimps, no whiners.

That was the motto of today’s 16th annual Ice Bowl '09 Disc Golf Charity to benefit the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

At 18 degrees and falling, it was hard not to whine a little, but not the 30 or so disc golfers who showed up at Arboretum-Spiker Park wearing sweat suits, coats, hats and scarves in an attempt to stay warm while throwing their discs around the Eugene Miller Disc Golf course.

“We are doing what we love to do,” said Neil Shaw of Canton Township, noting he usually tosses about five over par. The course is a 72 par. “I don’t play regular golf, just this. I come out here every day if I can.”

He isn’t alone. Many players showing up this morning agreed with him.

“This is crazy,” said a shivering January Talarico, co-owner of Just Disc Golf with Jay Kovach, who chaired the event. “This game is very similar to golf. Instead of a hole, you have a basket. There are different types of discs for playing, including drivers, putters and mid-range (for fairway play) discs.

“It is just a lot of fun.”


Disc golf is played like traditional golf, but instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc. The sport was formalized in the 1970s. Like the conventional sport, the goal is to complete each hole in the fewest number of strokes, or throws in this case.

A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to an elevated metal basket, which is the hole in regular golf. As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. Trees, shrubs, and terrain changes in and around the fairways provide natural obstructions for the golfer. The major difference between traditional golf and disc golf is that the latter usually does not require greens fees.

The golf layout at Arboretum-Spiker Park is a 24-hole (basket) course.

“This is a game for everybody,” said Robin Kratzer, owner of Quonset Hut with her husband, Mark. “It is a lifelong sport, and little kids can play it, as can older people, even if they have bad knees.”


Young and old started gathering at the park at 7:30 a.m. for the 8:30 a.m. tee off. And, while many of them agreed that they could have just written a check to the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, they said it wouldn’t have been as much fun.

“We probably are a little crazy,” said Kovach, president of the Stark County Disc Golf Association. “This a super growing sport. It has blown up so big, people are making $30,000 to $40,000 on the pro level. Even Wii has picked up the game. It is just getting bigger.”

As for playing it on such a cold day?

“It wouldn’t be an Ice Bowl if it was warmer,” said Bill Griffith.


Receiving 50 percent of the registration fees and all of the monies from those buying mulligans was the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
“The food bank has been able to continue to meet the demand for emergency food because of efforts like this from the communities we serve,” said Mark Mitchell, manager of marketing and communications at the agency.

“Proceeds from the Ice Bowl event that have been donated to the food bank have totaled $3,065 overall, of which $1,255 was donated last year.”

The need for emergency food was at unprecedented levels in 2008, said Mitchell. Overall, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank distributed more than 16 million pounds of food in 2008, a 25 percent increase from 2007. That provided more than 11.5 million meals. In Stark County in 2008, the agency distributed 4,776,738 pounds of food. That was a 50 percent increase over 2007.

“Two of the main factors for the increases have been unemployment and the rising cost of food,” said Mitchell. “This is affecting a lot of people in our area.”

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Comments (1)

jstark254 days ago
Sounds like a great event....one of those 'win-win-win' situations. The participants have a great time playing disc golf in the snow and cold (come on, it could have been 18 below zero), not only for fun, but to help stock our local foodbanks. And, one of our city parks actually gets utiiized in the middle of winter for a legitimate purpose!!

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