COLUMBIA — On an unusually cold and dreary May afternoon, a surprising number of disc golfers showed up at Albert-Oakland Park to play in the Columbia Disc Golf Club's bi-weekly league game.
For these golfers, though, the chilly weather is not a big obstacle.
"We only don't play when there is lightning," disc golfer Mendi Galvan said. "Some of the guys can't wait to play in first snow."
It seems as if nothing can stop the growing sport. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, there are an estimated 500,000 regular players in the world, and 8 million to 12 million people who have played the sport. Since 1975, more than 3,000 courses have been built in the world.
Columbia itself has three disc golf courses. Two of them are in Albert-Oakland park, built in 1980 and 1999. The other one is located in Indian Hills Park, built in 2002.
The disc golfers in Columbia have proved to be devout about their sport. The members of the club have been putting in their own time and labor to help keep the courses in top shape since the early days of Columbia disc golf.
"The members of the club did much of the labor," club treasurer Mark Ehlert said. "We trimmed the trees and cleared the fairways."
Now, because of liability issues, the group helps maintain the courses on select days of the year under the supervision of Columbia Parks and Recreation.
"The sport has grown 10-fold here in Columbia. Anybody can do it," self-described "disc golf bum" Scott White said while watching other players move along the course. "Now it's almost like you got to have tee-times."