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Biz owner hosts tournament to fund disc golf course



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Thomas Robinson, owner of downtown Oxford’s American Disc Company, takes a shot at the 4th hole on the Seymour Lake Twp. Park disc golf course. Photo by CJC. (click for larger version)
July 06, 2011 - Thomas Robinson is so passionate about disc golf that not only did he open a business that revolves around the popular sport, he's conducting a tournament to help repair and maintain Oxford Township's only course.

"I want to show that the disc golf community does care about (the course)," said the 36-year-old Clarkston resident, who owns and operates American Disc Company, located at 28. S. Washington St. in downtown Oxford's Acheson Building.

The tournament will begin at 12 noon on Sunday, July 17 and take place at the Seymour Lake Township Park disc golf course. There's a $10 per person entry fee, every dollar of which will be invested in the park's course.

"We're hoping for 50 people," Robinson said. "If I can get 50 people signed up at 10 bucks a piece, that's 500 bucks we can donate."

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Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places along with hole-in-one shots.

In addition to plenty of frisbee fun, the event will also feature live music and raffles for discs and a disc golf practice basket. Hot dogs and soda pop will also be for sale.

Although he graduated from Holly High School and lives in Clarkston, Robinson is no stranger to Oxford's course.

"It's one of the first courses I ever played. I've been playing for over 10 years now," he said. "It's a well-designed course. They didn't just pop in holes everywhere. It's nice. I'd give it an eight out of 10 (rating)."

Although it's still a great course in his opinion, Robinson said, "It's really kind of gone downhill."

The main problem is the wooden boardwalk that runs over the wetlands between the 14th and 15th holes (which are basically elevated metal baskets) is submerged and uncrossable.

"It's an incomplete course right now," Robinson said. "You can't just start at hole 1 and end at 18. You've got to figure out a way to do it."

Parks Director Ron Davis indicated the boardwalk problem is not a new thing.

"It's been out of commission probably for the last four or five years because people went across it on horses and collapsed it," he said. "It's probably about 100 feet in length, maybe a little more. It needs to be raised out of the water and reset. It's on the west side of the (park) property line, right through the wetlands."

Davis said while disc golf is certainly a popular facet of the park, it doesn't pay for itself. "I'd say it averages anywhere between 25 and 100 players a day. It's unbelievable how many people go out and play there," he explained. "But we don't generate any revenue off it. That's kind of the downside. On a facility like that, you really don't generate any revenue to put back into it. That's why (Robinson's tournament) idea is so helpful for us."

Robinson would like to make the tournament an annual fund-raising event.

"I plan on having a tournament every spring for the park," he said. "It's basically a token from the disc golf community saying we appreciate the course and we would like it to be maintained as best as possible."

Robinson believes the troubled economy has played a huge role in swelling the ranks of disc golfers.

"A round of 18 (holes) in regular golf will cost you $50," he said. "Disc golf is free. You just have to buy a disc. You buy one for $10 and you're playing all summer long. You can get out and play every single day whereas regular golf you might only be able to play once a week. You might only have a $50 budget for the week for your golf."

Robinson's love of the frisbee started as a kid playing with his childhood friend Mark Harris. He continued to toss the old disc around in high school and college.

"That's what you do in college, right?" he said.

Now that love has turned into an entrepreneurial venture with the opening of the American Disc Company about two months ago.

Although the store is primarily stocked with disc golf equipment, Robinson also carries canine products along with soccer equipment and accessories.

He strives to keep his business as "green" as possible.

"We have discs that are made of at least 50 percent recycled material," Robinson noted. "We also have some recycled and all-natural dog products."

For more information about the tournament or American Disc Company, please call (248) 236-0330.

Feel free to visit the store on-line at www.americandiscco.com.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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