Athletes from around the world travel to Central Illinois

For one of the largest disc golf competitions, drawing about 1,000 players.

Eureka, IL - Athletes from all over the world made their way to Central Illinois this weekend.
It's for the Ledgestone Insurance Open Disc Golf Tournament in Eureka.

"It's a lot easier to play than golf, so golf's frustrating, takes forever and costs a lot. Disc golfs easy, you get good exercise, and its fun, and it doesn't take as long" said Nate Heinold, director of the Ledgestone tournament.

Around 1,000 disc golf fanatics were there, hoping to ace their way to the purse.

"It's actually the most lucrative tournament in the country, so its not the world championships and its not a major but it draws the best in the country, it draws almost 1,000 players and we pay out the largest purse in the sport" said Heinold.

Haven't heard of the sport? Well it's spreading fast, with over 10 courses in Central Illinois alone.

"So we took it from 300 players to almost 1,000 now, so just in  3 years, so imagine what we can do in 3 more *laughs* we're really excited" said Bob Julio, Discraft's team manager.

But what may make disc golf so unique is the diversity of its players.

"I mean people come from different all walks of life, you know I'm just a quiet kid from la and there's guys that are professional lawyers and doctors and you name it that play disc golf that are at this tournament but we all come from different walks of life and we all come out here and we're all brothers under the same umbrella of disc golf so it's awesome" said Philo Brathwaite.

 Brathwaite has been playing for 17 years, and is now at the professional level. Competing and teaching is his full-time job.

"Amateur players really look up to us pros and watch us on Youtube all the time and that's really the evolution of our sport recently, social media and Youtube" said  Brathwaite.

While the prize money attracts players to the tournament, Brathwaite said that's not what the sport is about.

"This sport is a culture, i mean it's been a grass roots sport from the beginning, uh it's really about family, about community about being together you know we're all equals out here" said  Brathwaite.

Attendees could also purchase raffle tickets to win a basket, the cage that catches the disks. All the proceeds from the raffle will go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In all, they'll donate $20,000 to the cause.


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