WKU disc golf athletes share their love of the game



Luke Jasper, WKU Disc Golf Club member, makes a short putt while playing the course at Kereiakes Park.

Rob Holmes IV, Sports reporter

Tossing a frisbee between friends on South Lawn might be a fun way to unwind, but some WKU students are taking the frisbee toss to the next level.

Disc golf continues to grow in popularity among college students nationwide. The objective is to land a specialized frisbee disc in a basket across 18 different holes, similar to a golf course.

WKU has its own course behind Pearce Ford Tower and its own disc golf team that holds practices at nearby parks. Ryan Messenger, the captain of WKU’s team, began playing at an early age and fell in love with the sport thanks to the kindness of another player.

A member of the WKU Disc Golf Club collects his disk from the basket. (ARTHUR TRICKETT-WILE)

“I got interested in disc golf pretty early,” Messenger said. “I was 12 or 13 and me and my dad would always see the baskets in the park, [but] we never really knew what it was. We asked someone about it and he explained the basic rules, then he actually gave us one of those discs. The next week we went out and played and we’ve been hooked ever since.”

Messenger has many memories from his time in the sport, but his time as a part of a successful doubles pairing back in high school sticks out over the rest.

“It [was a] doubles event called the Northwest Tennessee Doubles Championship, and one of my best friends, Jake Hutchinson and I, won that tournament 3 years in a row,” Messenger said. “That was my last big tournament in high school and I was really excited to be able to win that with my best friend.”

Dalton Sturgill, a member of the WKU Disc Golf Club, throws a disk on Thursday, Sept. 30 of 2021 while playing the Kereiakes Park course. (ARTHUR TRICKETT-WILE)

Dalton Sturgill, a freshman, is also excited about this year’s team and loves the sense of community the roster provides.

“The big thing about getting into disc golf here was the community,” Sturgill said. “Just making sure that you’re pushing each other, and yourself, to be better at the sport that you enjoy to play.” 

Sturgill has plenty of memories and stories from his time with the team, but winning tournaments stands out above the rest.

“Back home I entered a lot of C tier and B tier tournaments and my favorite memory while playing those is winning one,” Sturgill said. “It felt incredible to just know that you played better than everybody else and that the competition was there, yet you still came out on top.”

Jared Grant, a junior, shared that his favorite part of competing with the team is the travel opportunities it provides.

“What I enjoy most about playing here at WKU is competing collegiately and traveling, mainly across the east coast just to play other universities,” Grant said. “My favorite memory playing disc golf here at WKU is probably when I got my first hole in one with the team [at] Kereiakes Park.”

Messenger has high expectations for his team this year and thinks his roster may have a shot to qualify for the Collegiate National Championship.

“Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the Collegiate National Championship,” Messenger said. “To qualify, you have to compete in a regional qualifier and secure a bid. We’re running our own qualifier here in the middle of November, so we hope to have a pretty good advantage there.”

Sports reporter Rob Holmes IV can be reached at [email protected].