Saturday, October 13th, 2007
By Shelley Grieshop
Mercer County students take a toss at popular new game of disc golf
  There's a new game in town.
Disc golf was all the rage Friday as students from across Mercer County converged at the Mercer County Fairgrounds in Celina to play a round or two. The unusual nine-hole game, which combines the likes of golf and frisbee, was organized by Mercer Health and the Mercer County DARE Boosters for students who were off school for WOEA Day.
"At the February meeting (of DARE Boosters) we were trying to get an idea for something we could plan for our high school kids," says Ken Obringer, director of marketing and communication at Mercer Health.
Someone suggested the trendy disc golf game and a week later Obringer stumbled across the supplies for the sport at a gift shop where his college-age daughter works.
Obringer contacted the Innova Disc Golf store in Fort Wayne, Ind., and officials there agreed to ship the local organizers the equipment they would need to host a tournament.
"Two of their guys even came out here and set up the course for us," Obringer added.
The winding course at the fairgrounds took students across the grassy lot, around trees and buildings and over driveways.
Instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc or frisbee. The object is to toss the disc the least amount of times before landing it in the elevated basket-like target. The player with the least par, just like golf, wins.
Prizes were awarded Friday in several categories for individuals and teams. Free refreshments and door prizes also were handed out. Students paid a minimal fee to participate in the tournament and all funds were used to defray expenses.
Obringer said the discs and one target was donated by the company and will be used to help familiarize other area students about the game. He and other adults on hand Friday said they'd like to see disc golf become a permanent game played locally.
"It's a family and community type game that promotes wellness," he said. "Our goal is to create enough interest in it to someday have a permanent course here in the county."
The targets on the course used Friday were mobile. However, 39 permanent courses already have been built in Ohio; the closest to the Grand Lake area can be found at Ottawa Metro Park in Lima, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) of Georgia.
The PDGA Web site explains the rules of the game and showcases the different types of equipment available such as various discs - just like the variedstyles of golf clubs.
Mercer County DARE Officer Sue Miller said she, too, hopes disc golf catches on locally.
"Kids are always looking for something different to do," she said. "It's such a positive activity. Just about anyone can play.
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