February 28, 2012 | Madeline Tracy

This upcoming Friday the library will be closing early for the eighth-annual Library Disc Golf Tournament.

This upcoming Friday the library will be closing early for the eighth-annual Library Disc Golf Tournament, kicking off at 8:30 p.m. Thirty-two teams of two will be competing to maneuver their discs around the bookshelves, desks, and stairways of the library in the least amount of throws.

The event was first invented in 2005 by Hekman Library director Glenn Remelts: “I took two things that were different and brought them together, just to see how it worked. I wanted people to see that the library can be fun too.”

Indeed it has been, according to senior Jason McGraw who has played in the tournament for the last three years: “It’s so fun to throw a Frisbee in the library. Why wouldn't you take advantage of a chance to do that?” McGraw has placed in a variety of places— but he keeps coming back: “My favorite part is walking the individual holes to try to find the best possible path; it makes us feel like real golfers, almost.”

Design by meandering

Remelts said he didn’t really know what he was doing when he designed the original disc golf course. “So I designed it just by walking around and seeing what looked fun or difficult.” In its last seven years, the course has remained the same for the most part, minus some small adjustments. “However,” Remelts continued, “my main goal has been to keep things from breaking.”

He has avoided this problem over the years with one key rule: “If they hit the ceiling or anything suspended from it, they automatically gain a stroke, so this really keeps the players from just whipping it. Luckily we’ve never had more than five or 10 dollars in damage.”

Along with the difficulties that come with following the rules, (there are no do-overs) there are also parts of the course where many of the players struggle. Both Remelts and McGraw agree that the stairs are where many teams rack up strokes. “It’s almost impossible to get a really solid throw up three flights of stairs and through a doorway,” said McGraw, “although I’ve seen it done.”

Remelts conceded that the stairs are where the talent levels of the players really show: “The best players are those who have techniques. The stairs are where the newbies lose strokes, because they just whip it up and it usually ends up rolling back down. Winners usually understand where you have to use finesse, the different tricks of the trade.”

This year the roster has a mix of seasoned die-hards and new faces, with about one third playing for the first time. Remelts added, “There are no defending champions competing, so first place is open wide for the taking,” said Remelts.

Eyes on the prize

This year, the prizes are the same as they always have been. The first-place team will receive a $25 gift certificate to Schuler Books & Music, and the second-place team (or the first losers) will win a $10 gift certificate. “We’re trying to stick with a book theme with the prizes,” added Remelts.
This year, for the first time, Remelts has created a par system for the 18 holes. “I took the top five teams from the last few years and averaged out what they got for each hole and made that par. It’s there for no real reason except to act as a guideline, so the players have a good idea of how they should be doing.” The pars range from three for the easier holes to five for the longer holes, usually in the stairs.

One interesting fact about the tournament is that there have actually been several years where it has ended in sudden death. At the end of the 18 holes, two teams have had the same scores, and so they begin the course again until one team gets a lower amount of strokes.

Overall, “people enjoy themselves. There is a wide range of scores, so you don’t need to be good. It’s really just a great time for all.” Remelts continues, “The tournament will continue for many years, as long as I’m here.”

In the seven past tournaments, many good times have been had and memories made. Remelts’s favorite memory is the time he overheard a student say, “This is the longest I’ve ever spent in the library.”

McGraw enjoys “going through the course with some of my best friends as both partners and competitors, and every year there are some crazy good shots made by everyone.”

Spectators are allowed to attend the Disc Golf Tournament, as long as it doesn’t get too crowded for the players. Feel free to come out to the library this Friday night at 8:30 p.m. for an event you won’t likely see anywhere else.

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