By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal
Prizes at every hole, glow in the dark tandems and 145 disc golfers. That’s what is about to hit one of the most popular disc golf spots in West Michigan this weekend.
The 11th annual Harvest Moon Classic will kick off Friday night at the 30-hole Whitehall Township disc golf course, hosted by the Whitehall Disc Golf Club. Competition also will take place at the Henderson Lake disc golf course in Montague.
For director Brian Mulino, the event is just the right fix for his love of disc golf.
“I got into discing at Central (Michigan University) back in my college days,” said Mulnio who founded the WDGC and the Whitehall Township disc golf course. “Started with playing ultimate (frisbee) and then a friend told me to check this out. Next thing I know, I had a bag full of discs and now I have a basement full of them.”
The competitiveness is what drew Mulino into the sport and area golfers share a similar taste.
There will be eight divisions competing on Saturday with three men’s divisions and three women’s. Also flipping discs will be a Masters Division for folks over 40 and a Grand Masters for those 50 and older.
Friday kicks off with a glow double tourney played in the dark with glowing discs and lit up baskets. Winners receive a cash payout, which will be even more motivating for competitors.
“Been doing glow golf since Day 1,” said Mulnio. “Now it’s getting more popular. We started it because we’d run out of light in the winter and it grew from there.”
Saturday’s tournament kicks off at 11 a.m with a shotgun start and registration from 8- 10 a.m.
Each participant receives a custom stamped disc and other gear provided by the many sponsors, including the Sweet Spot disc golf store in Muskegon.
Sponsors have kicked in such a quantity of prizes, a prize will be given at each hole. One for the longest drive, and the other for the longest putt. Winners of each division will be awarded gear as well.
There also is a raffle, which includes top prizes of an electric lawnmower and a full-sized practice basket, to name a few.
“The sponsors are what make this thing so successful and most of the sponsors are coming from people who play the event,” said Mulino who is 1991 Whitehall graduate. “It’s kind of like a big family.”
The club is led by a host of volunteers. Jason and Amy Church run the Henderson Lake location while Amy is the club secretary. Tim Evans is the Vice President while Rick Hyatt, Andy DeLong, Joe Wingett and Josh Mumme are lead volunteers for the Harvest Moon Classic.
Helping support the family atmosphere is the Whitehall Township board. The group is who Mulino originally went to back in 2002.
“I talked with Dennis Babcok, who was the Whitehall Township Supervisor at the time. Presented the idea and Dennis proposed the location of the course,” said Mulnix. “I called a couple connections I had, We scouted out the place and started cutting in 2003.”
Since then, the public course located near the east end of Colby road has become a hot spot for disc golf enthusiasts around the state. Discgolfscene.com ranks the course No. 21 in the state among more than 150 other courses.