Greatland Cup participants listen to an orientation on the first day of the Greatland Cup last year at Aant’iyeik Park. (Courtesy Photo | Russell Sandstrom)

Greatland Cup participants listen to an orientation on the first day of the Greatland Cup last year at Aant’iyeik Park. (Courtesy Photo | Russell Sandstrom)

Disc golf tourney brings together best local players

Wooded Juneau course ‘levels the playing field’ between beginners and pros

The Friends of Aant’iyeik Disc Golf Club is hosting the 13th annual Greatland Cup Saturday and Sunday at Aant’iyeik Park.

The tournament consists of three 18-hole rounds and one nine-hole round. The first three rounds will be played on the red, gold and black courses. The red tees are located closest to the disc baskets (or catchers) and are the most commonly used among the public. The gold and black tees are located slightly farther out from the disc baskets. The fourth round, the “final nine,” gets creative and mixes and matches different tees to different baskets.

Russell Sandstrom is the spokesman for Friends of Aant’iyeik and said the tournament provides a good opportunity for novice players to learn the official rules of the game and play alongside high-level players.

“Everybody is welcome to sign up and give it a try,” Sandstrom said. “This event, plus all the summer league stuff that we do, are just real good places to really learn more about the game and learn from people that play the game very well.”

There were just under 30 participants last year, about a third of which came from out of town. Sandstrom said the event is unique among disc golf tournaments in that everyone plays in the same division and all receive a cash prize. The winner last year, Brian Blitz, pocketed $400.

[Student designs UAS disc golf course]

Sonny Ashby, 38, won the inaugural cup in 2006 and won additional titles in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He finished last year just four throws (strokes) behind Blitz last year for fifth place.

Ashby said the tournament has become much more competitive as disc golf grows locally and abroad. In addition to the dozens of local players that participate, there are now players from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Whitehorse joining in on the fun.

“We get more and more players each year,” he said. “It’s growing at least 10 percent (every year) and I think disc golf in general since 2006 … went from 4 million users to 40 million now. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world.”

Ashby said he’s confident about his chances of winning for the sixth time this year. He just returned from Alaska’s largest disc golf tournament, King of the Hill in Anchorage, and finished in eighth place. But he knows from experience Aant’iyeik can humble even the best of players.

“This course is anybody’s game though,” Ashby said. “It can really level the playing field between ams (amateurs) and pros because it’s so tightly wooded. I wouldn’t say it’s luck but it’s pretty close to a luck-driven event.”

There will be practice rounds going on at the course today. Registration costs $50 will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Aant’iyeik Park. The first round is at 10 a.m. and the second round is at 2 p.m. The third round will begin on Sunday at 9 a.m. and the fourth round will take place at 2 p.m.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.

More in Sports

Juneau’s two high school volleyball teams, Thunder Mountain High School and Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé, face off last Saturday at TMHS as they go through polar opposite seasons this year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau’s volleyball teams going in opposite directions entering tournament play

TMHS is undefeated, JDHS winless as teams begin three-day Sitka competition.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé junior Ida Meyer, right, wins the Sitka Invitational by a fraction of a second in front of Sitka junior Clare Mullin on Saturday. (James Poulson / Sitka Sentinel)
JDHS girls, boys crush Sitka course

Largest field in Southeast history sees Crimson Bears on top

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Athletes compete in a swim event Saturday afternoon at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center.
Records broken at weekend high school swim meet in Juneau

JDHS and TMHS coaches share optimism as season progresses.

Zack Bursell, left, stands with father John, right, after winning the Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks, Saturday, Sept. 16. (Photo courtesy Jamie Bursell)
Juneau’s Zack Bursell wins Equinox Marathon

Local runner finishes more than seven minutes ahead of runner-up at Fairbanks race

Tom Thompson and Klas Stolpe at the start of the 44-mile solo ultra during the 40th Annual Klondike Road Relay, Saturday, Sept. 9. Stolpe was running as team No One Fights Alone in support of his brother James who is fighting cancer. (Photo by Tom Thompson)
No one fights alone on the Klondike Road Relay

A victorious 44-mile solo quest among 1,800 participants at 40th annual Skagway-to-Whitehorse race

Colony High School running back Bryce Guzman (5) looks for room to run in a downpour during Friday night’s game against the Juneau Huskies at Adair-Kennedy Field. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Huskies lose 19-6 defensive struggle to Colony in title game rematch

Juneau takes early lead at home, but Colony rallies during occasionally heavy rain Friday night.

Runners ascend the old ski hill on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks at the start of the 2015 Equinox Marathon. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Running over the same old ground

Oh my, it’s that time again. The Equinox Marathon starts with a… Continue reading

What do telemarketers do during the weekend? (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Do telemarketers hunt for something besides human prey?

It’s Sam calling… As I discussed the critical moment at which the… Continue reading

Thunder Mountain High School players and spectators celebrate as the Falcons score the winning point to prevail in a five-set series over Ketchikan High School on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A drama-filled weekend as Juneau’s volleyball teams continue contrasting seasons

TMHS prevails in toughest game yet to stay undefeated; JDHS puts up fight seeking first win.

Most Read