Disc golfers take over holiday lights display area for charity event

Cold weather brings out the best in disc golfers. One of the sport’s most notable tournaments, the “Ice Bowl,” runs through the frigid months of January and February to raise funds for combating hunger. Per Ice Bowl’s website, “Since 1996, Ice Bowl has raised over $3,500,000.”

That’s some cold, hard cash from a lot of warmhearted disc golfers.

The incredible folks who organize Ice Bowls deserve a monumental round of applause. But there are other charitable, cold-weather events that deserve our attention as well.

On Thursday, December 1, 2016, the Fairmont Flyers of West Virginia put on their second annual “Holiday Glow Bowl” at the Seth Burton Memorial Disc Golf Complex. To say that the two courses in this complex, Orange Crush and Seth Burton, are fun to play would be a careless understatement.

Yet, the venue itself was not the real draw. It was the darkness … and the lights.

Elaborate light displays, strewn across frozen landscapes, ordinarily attract flocks of eager pedestrians, or long lines of cars filled with anxious children who forgot to pee before going on the trip. At Holiday Glow Bowl II, disc golfers had the night, the lights and the entire park all to themselves. Like better-equipped versions of the Magi, twenty disc golfers trekked among pink neon trees and green blinking elves and whizzed glowing, backhand hyzers above, around and between more than 330 light displays.

How they got permission to run this event, I have no idea, but it stands as yet another shining example of disc golf’s ingenuity.

Although the individual organizers did not wish to be named, I think it’s appropriate to note that Phil and Rebecca Burton and Josh Smith (seen above in photos from a different tournament) played key roles in dreaming up and organizing Holiday Glow Bowl II. James and Mal McDonald donated the hardware to light up all eighteen baskets.

The event raised $500 for the United Way of Marion County, and every dime went to the charity. Josh Smith and Nick Buysse logged first and second place finishes respectively.

I’m not a big fan of the high-wattage, commercial side of Christmas, but even this self-described humbug felt the warm glow of holiday spirit as I spectated this event with my five-year-old daughter Jordan. As you can see from the photos below, I may have forced her to pose for one too many pictures. I should add that Jordan, in a remarkable feat of her own, did not destroy any of the light displays. A Christmas miracle.

Happy Hanukkah, Ramadan, Christmas and Kwanzaa disc golfers!

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