When Sara Lamberson isn’t working as the communications manager of the South Carolina Hospital Association or making bow ties for her own small company, Lambow Ties, you will likely find her on the golf course.
That is, the disc golf course.
She and 55 other players from around the nation turned out to Earlewood Park in Columbia to try to backhand, flick and hammer throw their way to victory in the final rounds of the 26th annual Earlewood Classic Disc Golf Tournament held Sunday afternoon.
Disc golf closely resembles the “ball” version: The person with the lowest number of throws to the target wins.
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The course at Earlewood Park in north Columbia winds through large trees and climbs up and down many hills, making it attractive to many because of its old-school, par-three feel. It caters to both beginner and expert players, making it perfect for the competition, said Lamberson, a professional disc golfer and the tournament director.
“The targets are also very unique,” Lamberson said. “They were salvaged from a course in Myrtle Beach and are one-of-a-kind and force you to be a lot more accurate with your putting.”
The course also is good for female disc golfers because “you don’t have to throw it 500 feet to get a birdie,” Lamberson said.
She, and Debbie Scott, of Charlotte, and Chelsea Carl, of Rochester, N.Y., all teed off at 9 a.m. to begin their third round of play. Although the women have only briefly known each other, they played and encouraged each other as if they had been doing it for years.
Carl said one of the things that draws her to the sport is not only the challenge, but also the camaraderie.
“Especially with women, I have never played with a group that is not super, super supportive,” Carl said. Six women, including five-time world champion Elaine King, competed in the pro tournament this weekend.
Innova – a disc golf equipment manufacturer – is creating new initiatives to entice more female competitors, such as Throw Pink, which invites women to learn the sport and compete in various tournaments. Proceeds from those tournaments are donated to breast cancer research and awareness.
Lamberson said disc golf is a way to have fun outdoors while also traveling throughout the nation competing and meeting new people.
“I have at least one disc golf friend in every state at this point,” Lamberson said. “I love this tournament because many out-of-towners come to play in it and it is always great to see new faces enjoy our course.”
Co-tournament director Shea Van de Carr said he got his start after a roommate took him out to a course, and only a few rounds later, he was hooked.
“There is a great group of people surrounding the sport,” Van de Carr said. “It has great roots and tradition. It’s in beautiful areas of the country that you travel to. There is a lot that really makes this a great and growing sport.”