Teams arrived as early as Sunday to fit in practice rounds on the less-than-typical course that is the Hippodrome Disc Golf Club.
To leave North Augusta as the national champion on Sunday, teams from the field of 61 will have to face baskets hung from trees and dug into the ground, as well as the occasional water trap, in what Georgia Regents University senior Jason Lynn calls the mini-golf course of disc golf.
“You have to be diverse in your game” said the three-time All-American. “You can’t be one-sided. You’ve got to do a lot of different things to be successful on these courses.”
Teams representing schools from all corners of the country will check in today, some competing in two rounds of play with the hopes of filling the final four spots in the men’s national championship field.
Already in the field are Georgia Regents University, which won the 2010 national title as Augusta State, and first-time participant USC Aiken. Both schools will field two teams.
“I don’t think it would be realistic of us to think we can win the championship this year,” said USC Aiken captain Walton Satcher. “A top-10 finish is our goal. We’d be really excited about that.”
The men’s and women’s national championship, as well as the first flight championship for novice or first-time competitors, will begin Thursday with a single round of doubles competition.
Thursday, dubbed “Rivalry Day” since it features pairings of traditional rivals, will also feature a clinic with pro Nate Sexton.
Friday will feature two rounds of doubles competition, followed by three rounds of medalist competition on Saturday.
The top 28 individuals in the men’s division and the top eight in the women’s after the first two rounds of play on Saturday will be eligible to compete for an individual national title.
The top 20 teams in the men’s division and the top 10 teams in the women’s will compete in the final round of play on Sunday. An awards ceremony is scheduled to take place following the final round to crown the new national champions and name the men’s and women’s All-American teams.
“The pageantry surrounding it all is the reason why I come back every year,” Lynn said. “It’s like being in a college football game except it’s not; it’s disc golf.”