Raleigh pro disc golfer ranked 75th in world gives lessons in growing sport

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Disc golf is a sport not a lot of people know about but it's become increasingly popular during the pandemic because it's a safe way to get outside and compete.

"It's been great because there's been a lot of things with the pandemic that you can't do," said Bruce Page. "This is something that with the pandemic we're able to do as long as we're smart, as long as we're following guidelines and everything like that. It's been giving us an outlet where there really aren't a lot of outlets right now."

Philip Bartholomew, 25, started playing disc golf in 2007. He went professional in 10th grade and now ranks 75th in the world.

"It's awesome," Bartholomew said. "I think that everyone got a little stir crazy when the pandemic started and we all kind of locked ourselves down. To be able to go outside, be in nature, enjoy a sport that we all love. It's just fantastic."

The concept will be familiar to traditional golfers but requires less equipment.

"Disc golf is a sport that is very similar to golf," Bartholomew said. "Rather than using clubs and a ball, we are using our bodies as kind of the club and the disc as our balls. You have a basket and a teepad; the goal is to get it into the basket in as little shots as possible."

Bartholomew is spreading his love of the game to people in the Raleigh-Durham area. He gives lessons five to six days a week.

"I have a real passion for disc golf," he said. "I like being a competitor, and I find myself driven by the competition but the real love for the game is watching people grow and being able to help, and I found that I have a really true talent for teaching and just being patient with people and understanding the game of disc golf."

Page is one of those students.

"I think there's something to be said for somebody who is obviously pretty up in the top of their game but also wants to give back to the community and help other people find the passion and enjoyment that he has," Page said.

Bartholomew said anybody can come out and try it no matter their age or athletic ability.

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"We see people from 10 years old all the way up to 80 years old playing," he said. "There's a huge variety between age and skill levels. It's really just working on using your body as best you can to throw the disc."

A typical round can last between one and four hours.

"It's been a great way to exercise and definitely a way to unwind," Page said. "There's been a lot of stress going on with everyone. This is a way to be with nature out playing a game, kind of relaxing and hanging out with a couple of different people."

Bartholomew said there are a lot of places to play in the area including three courses in Raleigh, one at Kentwood Park, one on NC State's Centennial Campus and one at Cedar Hills Park.

Interested in a lesson? Bartholomew can be reached via Instagram or Facebook.
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