Hole in one: Club Disc Golf offers unique sport, competition environment


Disc golf has arrived at the College of William and Mary. The sport, also known as frisbee golf, has players throw discs into baskets, aiming to complete each hole in the fewest number of throws. It originated in the late 1970s and has expanded across the country since then. Disc golf tournaments have been held at colleges and universities all over the U.S. for some time, and as of recently, the College has just joined this evolving scene. 

On Feb. 26, Club Disc Golf was officially founded by Max Stayton ’25 and Max Grill ’26, and just two months later, the team has made some major strides. The team’s three other members are Ian Krajna ’24, Cameron Byer Ph.D ’27 and Nico Gonzalez ’26. Stayton, Krajna and Byer all came to disc golf in different ways. Stayton, for one, discovered disc golf during COVID, and he has been playing since then, always with a hope of competing.

“I would play with my friends but I never competed in tournaments. It’s something that I always wanted to do,” Stayton said.

Krajna was introduced to disc golf by his dad and grew up playing the sport along with soccer. He originally came to the College to play D1 soccer, but he has recently reignited his passion for disc golf. Byer was part of the disc golf scene at his undergraduate institution, Eastern Mennonite University, and since coming to the College for his graduate program, he was hoping to transfer the sport here to Williamsburg. He and Krajna met and found Stayton out on the disc golf field shortly after. 

“I ran into Max and ended up playing with him, and Max was by and far the best player, and I thought: I need to tell Cam about Max,” Krajna said.

Thanks to Byer’s experience with disc golf at EMU, the group was able to band together some people to compete at a tournament hosted there, which ended up being a precursor to the founding of Club Disc Golf and further competitions that were to follow. 

Shortly after its official founding, Club Disc Golf attended the Liberty Flamethrower qualifier tournament on March 16-17. In its last, and most competitive, qualifier tournament, Club Disc Golf, along with Penn State, qualified to move on to the next tournament in Rock Hill, South Carolina. While celebrating its success, the team also reflected on some potential challenges that arose from the upcoming trip.

“We had to scramble to fundraise, find a place to stay, register for the tournament, make sure everyone had the necessary qualifications to actually be eligible to play, all in a week and a half or two,” Krajna said.

Through its own fundraising efforts, along with the help from the Colonial Disc Golf Club in Newport News, the disc golf team raised close to $2,000 total. This meant it had funds left over for future tournaments, since it was not just able to fund the trip, but it had some money to spare as well. 

April 3-6, the team made its national debut in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Surrounded by collegiate disc golf teams from all over the country, the group set out to compete in both the singles and doubles division. Byer described the unique format for the doubles division, highlighting how the Club Disc Golf team worked together to try to come out on top.

“You have teams of four, and the four is broken up into two pairs. [Stayton] and I were partners for nationals, and we would tee up on all of the even holes,” Byer said. “So at the even holes, [Stayton] and I would tee off and the other two, Nico and Ian, would play from the better of our two shots. So if I throw a lousy shot and [Stayton] throws a good shot, then they will throw from wherever [Stayton] shot. And we do that alternatingly.”

At the end of the competition, Club Disc Golf placed 10th in the country at their very first nationals tournament. According to many members of the group, this result is only the beginning. 

“I think the biggest thing is nationals,” Stayton said. “That’s the big event, that’s what every team is working for. I think with the same crew, or with a different crew, we could definitely vie for the win next year, so that’s the goal.”

The team is eager to build on the success it achieved at the last nationals as it sets its sights on the upcoming year. Additionally, Club Disc Golf is striving to grow its presence here at the College, with the hope that more and more people can be introduced to the sport. 

“There’s so many people that I have played disc golf with who hadn’t played before, that just kind of stumble into the sport and love it and then start playing a lot,” Byer said. “I think there are a lot of people who would love disc golf if they get the chance to try it out.”

Ultimately, members of the club highlighted how disc golf can be for anyone, given its financial and physical accessibility. On top of this, Club Disc Golf talked about how the sport is also a great opportunity to immerse oneself in nature and disconnect from outside pressures. That aspect is what Krajna loves the most. 

“I think in this day and age, there’s a lot of screens everywhere, and disc golf is such a great place to get away from all of that for a second and be out in nature,” Krajna said. “For me, that’s what did it when I got back into the sport.”

Those who are convinced can follow @wmdiscgolf on Instagram to “stumble into” the sport themselves.


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