Growing up in Augusta, golf for Josh Childs meant hitting a small, white ball with dimples using a golf club.
But at age 10, Childs discovered disc golf, using Frisbee-like plastic discs to play a course where the targets are metal poles with chain baskets.
Seventeen years later, I play professionally, and Im sponsored by a team, said Childs, part of the lead group Sunday for the Peach Basket Invitational/Georgia Disc Golf Championship at Bowden Golf Course in Macon. Childs ended up finishing in second place.
The invitational is this years state championship in a sport that has seen a steady rise in participation, tournament director John Harrison said.
The weekend event was eventually won by Kevin McCoy, a former world champion who was part of the field that was limited to 96 players.
Harrison said the tournament was a chance to show off Bibb Countys courses, Bowden and Claystone at Lake Tobesofkee, to some of the top pro players from across the state.
Some are loving it, and some are finding it extremely frustrating, Harrison said.
Its a tough course, Childs said. Im kind of playing it blind.
That gave some less-experienced players such as Macons Bryan Gort a chance to level the playing field.
Gort, who finished seventh, was also in the lead group Sunday and had the closest drive to the No. 12 hole, which was worth a cash bonus, picking up a birdie on the hole.
Im a little more used to it than they are, Gort said, indicating the other members of the group. This is my third year playing in tournaments, and most of these guys have been playing for 10 years, at least. ... This course is tough to get birdies on, so Ill take them when I can get them.
Gort said he first started to play in college, having played traditional golf and baseball before disc golf.
Gort said typically, a disc golfer may carry 20 to 25 discs, each of varying sizes. Some discs, which act as drivers, are for distance, while others, like putters, are for accuracy.
The disc golf course at Bowden isnt manicured like a traditional golf course. Harrison said thats not really important, since all of the discs are in the air, so theres no need for things like putting greens or the sort of fairways upon which a golf ball could roll or bounce.
The trees are our bunkers, he said.
The tournament started Saturday, and players had a party Saturday night at The Big House.
Its been brilliant, Harrison said. Im tickled to death at the level of competition weve had.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.