By Jeff Nations
Adam Lenke hopes to see plenty of familiar faces and just as many new ones when he arrives at Winchester's Jim Barnett Park for the start of the two-day The Claw Crosstown disc golf event.
The two-day event, with separate tournaments at Jim Barnett on Saturday and Stephens City's Sherando Park on Sunday, is a benefit for longtime player and Bogey Free Disc Golf Club member Clark "The Claw" Putman with proceeds to help offset some health-care costs.
"This is actually the second year we've done this," said Lenke, a board member for the Stephens City-based disc golf club. "We decided after last year that we're going to do a tournament every year for one of our members in financial need. He's been a huge part of clubs in the area for years and years and years. His PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) number is 2907, and the PDGA has more than 100,000 members now."
The tournaments cost $10 each, with sign-ups the day of the event starting at 11 a.m. and tee-off scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Beyond that, there are differences. Saturday's tournament at Jim Barnett is a doubles event, with players having the option of bring their own doubles partner or having one assigned at random on Saturday. The single-division tournament will play from the long tees on Jim Barnett's disc golf course.
On Sunday at Sherando Park, the tournament will be a 20-hole singles event with professional, amateur and women's divisions. Play will be from a mix of long and short tees.
Lenke said Sunday's event, although not sanctioned by the DGA, will likely be the more competitive of the two tournaments. Either or both tournaments are suitable for novices or even beginners, though. Lenke said most players range in age from early teens through 40s, but there is no limit and players of all ages can participate.
"Disc golf is great for all ages," Lenke said. "I see whole families out on the course, people pushing kids in strollers or have the dog out there. It's just a really family-friendly thing."
Lenke said a disc golf starter kit that generally includes a driver, mid-range and a putter usually costs about $25. Lenke mentioned two stores in Winchester, Incredible Flying Objects and 2nd Time Sports, as particularly good places to find new and used disc golf equipment.
Lenke expects to see players from his Bogey Free club, plus members of Winchester's Banging Aces Disc Golf Club and Martinsburg, W.Va.-based Eastern Panhandler Disc Golf Club come out to play this weekend. He also hopes non-club members will come out to enjoy the day and support a member in need.
"We'd like to see over 100," Lenke said. "Fifty would be wonderful. Sherando's course, with all 20 holes in play, the most it could comfortably hold would be 120 players. That's with five on each tee."
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