Disc golf putts its way to national championship

Ashlee Woods | @ashleemwoods, Sports Editor

The Crimson Tide could bring another championship back to Tuscaloosa. 

The University of Alabama Disc Golf club team will be competing in the national championship in Marion, North Carolina, from April 6 to April 9. 

The club qualified for the tournament in the Battle of the Bayou in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Feb. 26. Alabama placed first in the qualifying tournament. 

The club has been active for almost two years, but this was the first time the Crimson Tide could take the road in competition. 

“My main goal this year was to network and to get to know people,” vice president Bubba Oliver said. “My top priority wasn’t to win everything. It was just to get us out there. When we saw that we were going to nationals, we were just short of tears.” 

The tearful reaction was the culmination of a two-year-long process of getting the team recognized as a UA club team. Oliver, as the vice president, deals with the administrative tasks for the team. His job mainly includes tournament registration and planning trips. 

But Oliver had a unique challenge as a founding member of the club: building a team during a global pandemic. 

At the height of the pandemic, The University of Alabama implemented several regulations that limited large gatherings and meetings. Luckily for the disc golf team, it’s an outdoor sport, but many members of the team were worried about gathering despite being outside. 

“We [the officer team] had to work for a long time really hard to try to figure out how we’re going to be able to do the things that we want to do,” Oliver said. 

As university regulations eased, so did the jobs of the officer team. The team was able to gather, practice and now compete. Overcoming these hurdles brought the officers together, but the full-team bonding happened on the competition trail. 

“It was staying at the hotels and those late nights just chatting and getting to know each other a little better that brought us together,” Oliver said. 

The competition trail didn’t change the team’s goal of networking and having fun with each other. A national championship appearance was the last thing on their minds. In fact, Oliver said that having that mentality helped the team perform so well in Baton Rouge. 

“It just erased any nerves that we could’ve had just because the risk wasn’t as high, since we just wanted to be out there,” Oliver said. 

The team will host a fundraising tournament on April 23 at Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa. Although this will be after the team travels to Marion, this tournament allows the team to reimburse players for any out-of-pocket expenses. 

“We love to see some university student faces,” Oliver said. 

The disc golf team has also put together a GoFundMe page for national championship expenses. 

At the time of publication, no information about broadcasting has been released. Tournament updates can be found on the College Disc Golf website

Questions? Email the sports desk at [email protected].