‘It was great,’ two friends working to grow the sport in Knox County

BRUCEVILLE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Austin Sievers and Tyler Sanders are close friends – and avid disc golfers.

The duo wanted more courses where they live in Knox County, and Sievers said last year they finally took the initiative into their own hands

“I’ve been coming to Camp Arthur all my life and always knew it could be the destination course in the area. Tyler and I approached the board of directors,” he said. “I just brought the idea to them as an initial source of income from running the tournament.”

The sport is very similar to traditional golf, as players try to get into the “hole”, in this case the basket, with the least number of strokes.

Chadwick McKenzie has been playing for over a decade. He said the sport has shown tremendous growth in the past few years.

“When I started, there were 40-50 players in tournaments,” he said. “Now we have waiting lists that a lot of people long for in tournaments that have 140, 150 players.”

The idea for a course at Camp Arthur gained traction – and eventually the two spent the second half of 2022 working to establish a temporary course in the park. In December, they hosted a little over two dozen players from across Indiana for a tournament, mostly to get feedback on the course.

“The feedback has been overwhelming, in a positive way,” Sievers said. “ This was the first tournament in Knox County history, so just a small part of it is great. Tyler and I put a lot of work into this, and I’ve already seen the benefits, it’s great.”

The positive response led to the board approving a permanent course on the property. Sievers said they started fundraising for the permanent basket and concrete boxes about a week ago – and are already halfway to their $10,000 goal.

“We were reaching out to local businesses, and businesses were reaching out to me and Tyler. So far we’ve got five full sponsors and we got a company to donate all the concrete material, so we’re on the right track,” said Sievers.

He hopes to open a permanent field sometime in the spring, and start a local league and start tournaments soon after. It would be similar to Crossroads Disc Golf – a group that has been going to Terre Haute for years.

McKenzie, the group’s marketing director, said they hosted a tournament this weekend that brought in 100 players, helping to raise money for local charities.

“We’re still doing the final calculations and everything, but it’s going to be over $1,000 for 14th and Chestnut, so we’re really happy about that,” he said. “We’ve just eclipsed over $300,000 for charities and local food banks since 2013.”

Sievers said he looks forward to working with Sanders as they begin to organize larger tournaments like the one in Terre Haute – all in addition to their goal of growing the sport in the area.

“Just seeing the involvement of the community, how many people want to get into the sport, it’s been great,” he said. “We definitely did not expect such amazing feedback.”

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