|Winners of the Duke
Bragg’s Deuce Run
disc golf tournament
1 Douglas Branch
1. Kyle Jones
1. Mando Flores
1. John Castruita
1. Jay Reading
1. Kristina Gold
by WES FERGUSON
The first round of Saturday’s disc golf tournament in Kyle was drawing to a close, and the best putter in the world was standing 10 yards away from the 18th and final hole.
Through a steady drizzle that had turned the course to mud, Jay “Yeti” Reading sized up his distance from the target.
“Shush, shush, keep it down guys,” the spectators were urged. “Keep it down.”
Reading leaned forward. With his head lowered, he practiced his throwing motion a few times to warm up.
Meanwhile, some putz was making a racket in the parking lot. The guy was stomping his feet, trying to knock the mud off his shoes, and people were jumping and waving in a desperate attempt to make him be quiet. The guy was oblivious.
With a flick of the wrist, Reading released the disc. It sailed wide left, landing around a dozen feet past the chain target. The best putter in the world – a man whose only job is to play disc golf – had missed.
He promptly sank the next shot, no problem.
When Reading came over to report his score, the spectators apologized for the guy making all the noise. Reading hadn’t even noticed.
“What?” he said, autographing a fan’s disc. “No, no. Focused.”
Reading, a former college football player who lives in Wimberley, was the most cele-brated disc golfer this past weekend in a field of more than 50 competing in the inaugural Duke Bragg’s Deuce Run at Steeplechase Park. The event included a book drive and raised money for a disc golf curriculum called EDGE – the Educational Disc Golf Experience.
Disc golf borrows much of its rule structure and terminology from traditional golf, the kind played with a ball and club. Disc golf competitors have the “same joys, the same frustrations of missing a short putt” that make the older sport fun, according to Reading.
Unlike traditional golf, though, with its expensive clubs and greens fees, there are few financial barriers to disc golf. A person’s first disc can cost less than $10, and most courses are free to the public. And disc golf can be just as challenging.
“Once you get into it, you realize it’s not just playing Frisbee in the park,” Reading said. “When you learn to let the disc do the work, the sport comes alive.”
Reading is a four-time doubles world champion in the Professional Disc Golf Association and has also won the past three consecutive putting world titles. His wife Des is also a champion disc golfer. The couple moved to Wimberley from Iowa, he said, because the mild Texas winters allowed them to train year-round.
People drive from all over Central Texas, he added, to play at Kyle’s Steeplechase Park.
“This is a championship-caliber course,” he said.
With a creek running through the middle of Steeplechase, the course offers plenty of variety for golfers, according to tournament organizer Sean Wanamaker. Many of the link are tight and technical, while others require longer “bomb shots.” Saturday’s steady drizzle didn’t deter the competitors.
“For the most part, the guys are gonna play through the weather,” Wanamaker said.
When all was said and done, Reading walked away with $410 as the first-place winner of the open competition. When a course becomes muddy and slippery, he said it’s important to slow down, focus and show a little more patience when establishing footing before the throw.
“I’m considered a mudder,” he said. “In the rain, I just buckle down and play harder.”
WES FERGUSON reports for the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.Email | Print