State disc golf tourney on Kauai

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Dave Ashburn of Kauai walks to retrieve his disc after finishing a hole at the 19th annual Hawaii State Disc Golf Championship Saturday at the Makai Golf Course in Princeville.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Jim Toews from the Big Island lets the disc fly toward the basket during the 19th annual Hawaii State Disc Golf Championship on Saturday at the Makai Golf Course in Princeville.

PRINCEVILLE — With just a quick flick of his wrist, Dave Ashburn sent the small red disc flying over the final 10 yards toward the metal basket. It hit the hanging chains and dropped into the target.

Moving on.

It was another hole down for the Kauai man in the 19th annual Hawaii State Disc Golf Championship on Saturday at the Princeville Makai Golf Club.

Ashburn, a disc golf player for 35 years, was having a good day with a few birdies and a string of pars.

“Doing all right,” he said as he retreated to the golf cart to head for the next hole.

The two-day, 54-hole tournament, being held on Kauai for the first time, attracted about 70 players from the Hawaiian Islands and the mainland.

“It’s awesome to have this here,” Ashburn said.

Larry LaSota, co-director of the tourney with Ryan Moen, said the Kauai Disc Golf Ohana was a driving force behind having the event on Kauai.

“We fought hard for it,” he said as he watched players in action. “It’s a thrill to have the tournament.”

Thirty-six holes were played Saturday, with the final 18 today, with trophies and cash prizes at stake. Entry was open to anyone.

“It’s a fun tournament, but at the same time it’s a very competitive tournament,” LaSota said.

Play began at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and wrapped up late afternoon.

Players generally use three main discs, one each for long distance, middle and the short game. A good drive can carry 100 yards or more.

The twosome of Sean Stewart and Adam Thompson came over from Maui. Both loved the North Shore course and were enjoying the warm, sunny day.

“We’re really excited to play on Kauai and experience this,” Stewart said.

They had hopes to win, but were having what Thompson said was an “up-and-down” game.

“That would be amazing,” Stewart said of the possibility of winning.

The Kauai Disc Golf Ohana was a key player in bringing the nine-hole disc golf course to Lydgate Park. LaSota said planning and design for that began in 2014 and the holes went in July 2018.

Innova, which is the world’s top manufacturer of golf discs, designed and installed the 18-hole course at Makai, which opened last year, LaSota said.

The completion of those courses was instrumental in bringing the state event to Kauai.

“We’re playing with the big boys now,” LaSota said. “This course is really a pro tour course.”

LaSota praised Makai manager Doug Sutter and the entire staff for their role in hosting the growing sport.

“The Makai course is very important to us,” LaSota said. “They’ve all been wonderful.”

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Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or bbuley@thegardenisland.com.

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