Am Worlds as we call it is an annual high note of the disc golf season. The sisters and brothers of the sport gather for an event aimed squarely at the new and up-coming generations of disc golfers. Certainly disc golf has grown across all demographics in the past 5 – 10 years and Masters aged players like myself are turing out in droves to local events, but the real growth is with the 25 and under crowd.
Part convention, part industry trade show and part competition – Am Worlds is a week long immersion in disc golf culture. It’s a big weird fraternity of players from around the globe. Since we’re (mostly) all amateurs the feeling is festive, the competition is friendly. I noticed guys would talk about the different players they got on cards with – “I played with that guy from France the other day – he was awesome!”, stuff like that. I was on a card with players from Canada, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin…you get the idea. People were generous, I flew from PA and couldn’t find a rental car at all. I used Uber a couple times but got to and from the events picking up rides from other players in my hotel. It was a good way to force me to meet other folks since I traveled there alone I suppose.
As far as my play went – I was disappointed in some respects although I played my best round on the toughest course in some really challenging high wind weather. I got off to a rough start and then struggled to come back ultimately finishing 56th out of 72 in my division. I had to realize that for good average disc golfers like myself the competition aspect of the weekend is secondary to the overall treat of the week. Having disc golfers around every corner, so much stuff to see and do, so many professionals came out to watch the new players and meet the fans – it was great.
Madison WI has some great courses. The experiment of having pay-for-play parks run by the city and county seems to be a success. The courses were really, really, well kept – hard to exaggerate that. I’ve also read online reviews that are supportive of the system and when I talked to a few locals while I was there they said it wasn’t overly expensive and the return on the investment was being seen in the growth and expansion of the courses. Wisconsin reminded me very much of Pennsylvania, the two state share some obvious cultural roots. Anyway, great place for disc golf.