Disc golf pro from Calgary competes in world tournament in Kansas

Calgary's Zach Newhouse left for Kansas this week to compete in the world's largest disc golf tournament.

Zach Newhouse, 32, is rising Canadian star in fast-growing sport

Zach Newhouse is one of 100 pros worldwide playing in the world champion disc golf tournament called Glass Blown Open in Emporia, Kansas. (Zach Newhouse)

Calgary's Zach Newhouse has the distinction of being one of the world's best 100 players in a fast-growing sport you may have never heard about. 

Disc golf is his game and he's one of a few Canadians competing in the 190-member pro-division at the world's largest disc golf tournament — Glass Blown Open. The tournament in Emporia, Kansas, attracted 1,200 entrants this year.

​Typically, a major tournament like this would have only brought in 200 to 300 people several years ago, Newhouse says.

The 32-year-old, who got involved in the sport while living in the United States, is ranked in the top five across Canada — and he could be the best in Calgary, he says.

'A lot like ball golf'

You'll hear much of the same ball golf terminology in disc golf, which is played on an outdoor course. But instead of using balls and clubs, round discs, much like Frisbees, are tossed.

The object is to get the disc into raised metal cages, which are the "holes." There are putts, tees, and lyes, water hazards, dog-legs, trees and wind to contend with, too.

 And, like any major golf tournament, fans follow the player for each shot. Getting a hole-in-one is the ultimate, because just like traditional golf, the object is to get into the hole in the least amount of throws. 

"It's a lot like ball golf," says Newshouse. "The best golfers in the world are very accurate and very good at putting, which is probably the hardest part of the game."

For the record, his longest putt is 150 feet.

Though more popular in the U.S., the sport is growing in Canada. There are at least four disc golf courses in Calgary, and Newhouse's disc club has around 100 members.

The sport keeps growing for several reasons.

"Most of the courses are in a park where you can enjoy nature. It's inexpensive. It doesn't cost anything to play other than buying a Frisbee. And it's a sport for all ages, regardless of your skill level. It's just a lot of fun," he says.

With files from The Calgary Eyeopener