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Why BYU Needs to Join the Collegiate Disc Golf Movement

Disc golf is a rapidly growing sport, with more and more people discovering its joys every day. At the collegiate level, the sport has been gaining in popularity as well, with schools across the country starting to add it to their athletics programs. BYU, however, has yet to join this trend. In this article, we’ll discuss why BYU should add disc golf to their athletics program and install a course on campus.

First, let’s talk about the success of BYU’s disc golf team. BYU's disc golf team has achieved impressive success in recent years, most notably with Taily Rowley winning the 2023 College Disc Golf Women’s Singles National Championship. Along with Rowley's individual championship, the team has also had significant team success, including being conference champions and having multiple players finish in the top 25 of the national rankings. In the past year, Rusty Denton was ranked in the top three in the nation, and the women's team finished second overall in the national championship, building on their third-place finish from the previous year. Additionally, the men's team finished 20th at their first national championship and Denton was named a 12th All-American. These accomplishments are a testament to the talent and potential of BYU's disc golf program, and adding it to the athletics program could help it reach even greater heights.

Despite this success, BYU’s disc golf team is not recognized as an official varsity sport within the athletics program. By adding disc golf to their athletics program, BYU can provide more resources and recognition to their talented student-athletes. Taily's success did not count towards BYU's National Championship count.

Second, disc golf athletes need a course to practice on that can simulate the challenges they will face at competition-level events. While field work inside a fieldhouse is good in the winter, in order to train effectively, disc golfers need a full 18-hole course that can prepare them for the nuances of the game. While it may not be feasible to install a course directly on campus, it would be beneficial to explore options for procuring a suitable piece of property that is in close proximity to campus, potentially through donor support. Having a competition-level course nearby would not only benefit the BYU disc golf team, but also provide an opportunity for hosting events and promoting the sport in the community.

And it’s not just about fun and games. Disc golf is a sport that can positively impact mental and physical health. Being outdoors and engaging in physical activity can improve mood, reduce stress, and increase energy levels. Installing a course on campus would provide a convenient and accessible way for students to take care of their mental and physical health.

It’s worth noting that BYU’s biggest in-state rival, the University of Utah, has already installed a disc golf course on campus. While the University of Utah’s disc golf team is new and has only competed at a handful of events, they have a convenient place to play and hone their skills on campus.

Finally, let’s talk about the potential for student-athletes to pursue disc golf professionally. Robert Burridge, the 2022 Men’s Collegiate Disc Golf National Champion, recently graduated college, signed a contract with a disc golf manufacturer, and is now touring full time on the disc golf pro tour. Other notable professionals came out of the collegiate system, notably, Chris Dickerson and Raven Newsom. Meanwhile, large multi-year contracts are being signed by the sport's top players. By adding disc golf to their athletics program, BYU can provide their student-athletes with a pathway to potentially pursue a career in the sport they love.

In conclusion, BYU has a talented disc golf team that deserves recognition and support from the athletics program. By adding disc golf to their athletics program and installing a course on campus, BYU can provide their student-athletes with the resources they need to excel, as well as provide an opportunity for all students to engage in a fun and healthy activity.

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