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2 Butler County courses to host World Disc Golf Championships | TribLIVE.com
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2 Butler County courses to host World Disc Golf Championships

Rick Wills
| Saturday, July 11, 2015 9:31 p.m
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Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Maria Montano of Beechview plays disc golf at the Schenley Park Disc Golf Course during the Wednesday night league July 8, 2015. In rear is Red Whittington of Shadyside. The two will be competing in the upcoming World Championships of Disc Golf here in August.
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Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Maria Montano of Beechview plays disc golf at the Schenley Park Disc Golf Course during the Wednesday night league, July 8, 2015. In rear is Matthew Miao of Regent Square. Montano will be competing in the upcoming World Championships of Disc Golf in the area in August.
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Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Maria Montano of Beechview plays disc golf at the Schenley Park Disc Golf Course during the Wednesday night league, July 8, 2015. She will be competing in the upcoming World Championships of Disc Golf in this area in August.
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Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Maria Montano of Beechview plays disc golf at the Schenley Park Disc Golf Course during the Wednesday night league July 8, 2015. In rear is Bob Pollak, left of Squirrel Hill, and Red Whittington of Shadyside. Montano and Whittington will be competing in the upcoming World Championships of Disc Golf in the area in August.
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Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Maria Montano of Beechview will be competing in the upcoming World Championships of Disc Golf in the area in August. This was taken at the Schenley Park Disc Golf Course Wednesday, July 8, 2015.
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Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Red Whittington of Shadyside makes a straddle putt at the Schenley Park Disc Golf Course Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Whittington will be competing in the upcoming World Championships of Disc Golf in August. He is a two time world champion.
PTRDISC7071215
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Red Whittington of Shadyside makes a difficult throw around a bush at the Schenley Park Disc Golf Course during the Wednesday night league, July 8, 2015. He will be competing in the upcoming World Championships of Disc Golf in the area in August. Whittington is a two-time world champion.

J. Gary Dropcho, soon-to-be professional Disc Golf Hall of Famer, has his own term for the type of golf played at Augusta, Ga., and Pebble Beach, Calif.

“We call that ball golf,” said Dropcho, a longtime disc golfer who is organizing next month’s Professional World Disc Golf Championships, which will be held in the Pittsburgh area over a week in early August.

Two of the four courses featured in the tournament are in Butler County, and organizers say that since the 1980s the Pittsburgh region has become home to some of the best disc golf courses in the world.

“The courses we are using in August are well thought of, especially those at Moraine State Park and Deer Lakes Park,” said Maria Montano, 34, of Pittsburgh’s Beechview section, a disc golfer who is helping organize the event and will participate in it.

The games run from Aug. 1 to 8.

The tournament will attract players from around the world, including Simon Lizotte of Germany, 23, the world record holder for the longest throw of a flying disc at 863.5 feet.

Also expected are men’s champion Paul McBeth, who will be trying for his fourth straight world title, and women’s champion Catrina Allen.

The tournament will be played at four courses in Western Pennsylvania: Moraine, Deer Lakes Park in West Deer, Knob Hill Park and at Slippery Rock University, where the final round will be played.

Disc golf is played like traditional golf, but instead of a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc, or Frisbee. Individual players throw the disc at a target, usually an elevated metal basket.

According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, the objective is to go through a course from beginning to end with the fewest number of throws of the disc.

The sport was formalized in the 1970s, and has plenty of loyal players, such as Dropcho and Montano.

Dropcho, 57, of Wexford, a retired Carrick High School English teacher, took up the sport in the 1980s and helped build the Schenley Park Disc Golf Course, Western Pennsylvania’s first. He’d played Ultimate, a Frisbee game, since his days as a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

“It a great lifetime sport. There will be players here next month as old as 75 and probably as young as 19,” he said.

Next month’s tournament will be the first world championship for Montano, who took up disc golf while in college in Colorado.

“It’s a nice time and is getting more popular. You can play it in almost any type of weather and it does not take lots of money or equipment,” she said.

The championship games coincide with an exhibition on the sport that opens Aug. 3 at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

That exhibit features historic flying discs and a prototype of the Pole Hole, the first official disc golf target.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or rwills@tribweb.com.

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