NORTH AUGUSTA — Augusta University calls this year a rebuilding one after winning last year’s National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships.
“We assembled this team in less than 60 days,” said Dave Donaldson, one of the only returning members of the Jaguars’ squad. “All of our champions graduated.”
The Jaguars are one of 90 teams competing this week at the championships at the Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex in North Augusta. The competition ends Saturday
Donaldson and other team members weren’t happy with their individual rounds Thursday.
“It was extremely rough and tough,” he said. “There’s great competition out there.”
Augusta University has won the national title three times in the past seven years under three different names: Augusta State University, Georgia Regents University and Augusta University, and a member of one of those championship teams now works for the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships.
John Baker, who is the tournament director, was the president of the Augusta University disc golf club and led the team to the championship last year. A two time All-American, Baker was in the top 5 individual players, and he’s surprised about where the sport has led him.
“I never would’ve thought disc golf would’ve opened the doors it has,” he said.
With Baker no longer available to compete for the Jaguars, team members say they are concentrating on what they can do and not putting any pressure on themselves to take home another title.
Alex Fernandez, a Jaguar team member, said what he loves about disc golf is how enjoyable it is and that being on the course always makes for a good day. Members of the Jags often come out to the Hippodrome to play on two of the six public courses located at the site. The other four are reserved for the competition and are not available to the general public, even the Jags.
“This is a great game,” he said.
As in other sports, there can be a perfect day when all the shots go the player’s way, but there are others when nothing seems to go right.
Fernandez said Thursday was one of the latter days for him, but it’s OK because team members have it all in perspective.
While disc golf is a competitive sport, it’s a friendly sort of competition, Donaldson said.
“Some of our best friends are guys from Clemson,” he said. “A lot of people are like family.”
The four-day National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships will continue today with doubles competition and the singles finals. Admission to the competition is free, and spectators are welcome. To find out more, visit the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships’ web site as www.ncdgc.com.