In the shadows of the Cornwall Park disc golf course, chain-link disc golf baskets clank, bottles of malt liquor open, and bowls are smoked around the hemlocks and firs that delineate this 9-hole course.
But for Dario Re, a Fairhaven College freshman, disc golf is far more than just doobies and 40s. Re wants to be a professional disc golf player. And this spring, Re started the Associate Students Disc Golf Club in order to teach people about the sport, he said.
“It’s just a really good outlet,” Re said. “It’s fun and cheap. I just really want people to know about the sport.”
Re said the club meets every Thursday and carpools to Cornwall Park, where the group, as many as 15 students, play a round and learn throws from Re.
“I just want to learn every aspect of the game – so when I’m teaching a new player it’s fun for me because I still learn,” said Re, who said he watches films and reads articles on disc golf techniques, and even had a high school science teacher that let him study Frisbee physics in class.
When Re was 12 he and his dad traveled to Athol, Idaho, which had the closest course to his Spokane home, to watch a disc golf tournament. The tournament inspired both to start playing themselves.
“I saw guys throwing the disc a mile,” Re said. “I thought it was awesome. I got hooked and played every day since.”
In 2004 Re went to the Junior World Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. At 16, he finished second place in the 19 and under tournament. The next year Re went pro and won the Washington State Disc Golf series and was voted rookie of the year.
He said his sponsors, which include Gateway Discs, have been integral to his success, covering his discs, clothing, entry fees and food costs during travels to tournaments.
Re hopes to win titles at the United States Disc Golf Championships and the World Championships, and, in his outreach with the Associated Student’s club, move the sport past certain stereotypes.
“When people think of disc golf, people think of hippie dudes smoking a bowl,” Re said. “But that’s part of the reason I’m so willing to teach the sport, because I can move the sport away from that and give the sport a little more credibility.”