Sunny day for golf

Margaret Allen
From left to right, Jeremy Walker, Tyler Lett and Cory Day, all from Manhattan, take a break Saturday at noon between 18-hole rounds at the 36th Annual Frontier Open disc golf tournament.

The two-day 36th Annual Frontier Open disc golf tournament was downsized just a little this year, with 121 golfers playing.

But that was better than no tournament at all, said tournament director Brett Straight, of Hays.

“Last year we had so much momentum because it was the first time that we’d actually filled at the 180 capacity, so we were really excited about what we were going to be able to do this year,” said Straight, taking a break from tallying scores on Saturday afternoon.

“But I didn’t even know if the tournament was going to be allowed to happen,” he said. “In communicating with the Parks Department and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, they were like, there’s enough room out here on the course that people should be able to maintain social distancing and wear masks.”

The highly popular tournament at the Flying Bison Disc Golf Course, named for the herd of bison on the perimeter of the park, is sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association. It includes 18 holes on the east side of the 75-acre Frontier Park on S. Main, and 18 holes on the west. It’s always held the first weekend after Labor Day.

“So we’ve been encouraging social distancing with signs, and masks, and trying to be as proactive as we can be,” Straight said.

The golfers didn’t come from as far and wide as they usually do, he said, noting only Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas this year.

“There’s a lot of people itching to play and there’s not as many tournaments going on,” Straight said, “so we had people on the waiting list again this year to try and get in.”

The rain Tuesday and Wednesday prevented the City of Hays Parks Department from its usual mowing in advance of the tourney, but the grass wasn’t too high, he said, so it wasn’t a problem,.

“There were a lot of tournaments that didn’t happen this year because of COVID-19,” said Straight. “We were just fortunate to mark another one up for the 36th, and hopefully by the time the 37th gets here there will at least be somewhat of a return to normalcy.”

From left to right, Jared Crist, of Wichita, and Ethan Tschanz and his sister, Emma Tschanz, both of Hays, compare notes after the first 18-hole round on Saturday at the 36th Annual Frontier Open disc golf tournament.