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Professional disc golfers are seeking a win at the Open of Tallahassee at Tom Brown Park

Disc golfer starts a practice round at hole 1 of the Tom Brown Park course, preparing for the 2022 Open at Tallahassee
Brett Rutherford
WFSU Public Media
Disc golfer starts a practice round at hole 1 of the Tom Brown Park course, preparing for the 2022 Open at Tallahassee

This year marks the 12th Open at Tallahassee, but the first year the event is part of the Disc Golf Pro Tour, which is bringing more talent to Tom Brown Park than ever before. 145 disc golfers are registered, including professionals from countries like Estonia and Norway.

UDisc, a website dedicated to disc golf, ranks the course at Tom Brown Park the best in Florida, and also has it ranked as one of the best in the world. While the course is open to the public on most days, this weekend it hosts a three-day professional tournament. For some competing this weekend, the tournament serves as a tune-up for the Masters Championship next weekend in Appling, Georgia. That tournament is seen as one of the most important on the calendar, held at the headquarters of the International Disc Golf Center.

“It started out with a pie pan that they called a frisbee,” says tournament director Marshall Griffiss about the history of the sport. “And so that started out the frisbee industry. So it’s just grown over the years from local events like we’ve done here to now, the Disc Golf Prof Tour.”

Trevon Crowe of Indiana has managed to make disc golfing his full-time job.

“On the road every weekend,” says Crowe about his career, “I myself, I have a van that I stay in or I can crash at people's houses or Airbnb with friends.”

This is his livelihood. If Crowe doesn’t perform, he doesn’t get paid. The winner of the Open at Tallahassee is expected to walk away with around $3,000.

Randon Latta wants to claim that prize, too. Latta has been playing professionally for ten years. He says while traveling all over the country for nine months out of the year isn’t for the faint of heart, the relationships built along the way make it worth it.

“The disc golf community is an awesome one and made some of my best friends this way,” says Latta. “And people that I could see being in my life for a long time just by throwing frisbees in the park so it's a very humbling community and they're very very compassionate and will help you in pretty much any way you need.”

The tournament consists of three rounds, starting on Friday and ending Sunday afternoon. The champion will head to the next event with a chunk of prize money, and a custom-made, FSU-inspired spear as a trophy for the event.

Follow @bgrutherford99

Brett Rutherford is a reporter and news researcher at WFSU Pubic Media. From Riverview, Florida, he has earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida State University. During his time at Florida State, he was a reporter within the sports department at WVFS, the student-run on-campus radio station. In 2020, he served as Sports Director during his senior year and hosted the weekly talk show Tomahawk Talk.

Email Brett: brutherford2@fsu.edu