A new spin on an annual Vt. disc golf tournament

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 1:20 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:40 AM EDT
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JEFFERSONVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) - Events across the country and our region have had to adapt because of the pandemic, all in an effort to bring a sense of normalcy. An annual disc golf tournament at Smugglers’ Notch says it is following the guidelines to a “tee” to allow its guests to feel safe.

Disc golf is a game of practice, precision and adaptation to terrain. Adapting is just what the players and staff are having to do this year in particular.

“Definitely different. If at all possible we get up here as soon as possible because the courses are so great, the food’s great, the scenery’s great, the waterfalls,” said Catrina Allen, a professional disc golf player.

It’s a different scene for the Pro Disc Golf Tournament held at Smugglers’ Notch this year.

Allen usually gets here a few days in advance to practice and sightsee. This year, she had to quarantine for 14 days before traveling to Vermont. Now, they only have two days to practice before the championship. But quarantine isn’t the only change made to this year.

“A 25-page COVID-19 policy and best practices document. Which is in the event for all of our events. It requires social distancing, requires mask-wearing, it requires no spectators here at this event, there is also just limited participation across the board. And it’s had a big effect in our tour,” said Jeff Spring, the Disc Golf Pro Tour Director & CEO.

The tour has had to cancel its in-person gatherings such as its Fall Fest. But the players say these regulations don’t really bother them.

“The only thing that has been affecting people so far is they put a rule in where within 50 feet of the teeing area you are required to wear a mask,” said Professional Disc Golf Player Chris Dickerson.

Dickerson says that’s the only thing that seems different to him. The rest he feels like are commonsense things to do in a pandemic. He’s excited to be back on the field playing the game he loves.

“I know we don’t have any spectators or anything like that but just to be out, and continue to play, and make our living doing this is really good,” said Dickerson.

“I’m very grateful to be out playing like I said, I do this for a living so the quarantine was tough, especially because our tour had just got started,” said Allen.

They only had three larger events before the pandemic hit. Now the protocols don’t seem to bother them. They just want to start playing again. And they get that chance starting this Thursday.

If you want to watch this tournament you can do so from the comfort of your home either for free on YouTube or on the DGPT app.

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