Putting pals at Penguin City

Youngstown Disc Golf Club’s Winter Putting League offers a way to stay active during the cold season. Photo by Henry Shorr / Jambar Contributor

By Henry Shorr

Youngstown Disc Golf Club’s Winter Putting League kicked off at Penguin City Brewing Co. on Nov. 3, offering an entryway into the sport for new players and a way to keep people’s skills fresh throughout the cold season.

Winter putting league, held informally at first, has become more popular throughout the Youngstown disc golf community over the past few years. Luke Shelton, owner of Pure Flight Disc Golf, said he assumed responsibility for keeping the community engaged through the “offseason.”

“Not everyone likes to go out and play disc golf in the snow and in the crappy weather. So, to keep us playing and to keep us, you know, keep us together … we’ve come up with [a] winter indoor putting league,” Shelton said. 

Unlike golf with a ball — where a player’s putter stays in their hand while hitting a ball toward a hole — disc golf putting requires a player to throw the putter itself at a basket which has metal chains that slow the disc. The putting league layout resembles a practice green at a golf course, with multiple holes laid out across the green.

The YDGC moved to Penguin City this year after seeing the space the brewery offered. The Pollock Ballroom, according to Penguin City’s website, can hold up to 300 people and has plenty of room to throw a disc, let alone putt with one.

“We were just having a drink and I was looking around, and they have so much space,” Shelton said. “They had probably eight to 10 cornhole boards set up … Immediately, I thought, ‘This is going to be a great spot for winter putting league.’”

Aspasia Lyras-Bernacki, co-owner of Penguin City, said she’s excited to host the league.

“I’m excited about it. [Shelton] came to me a couple of months ago with this idea, you know, just kind of saying, ‘We would like to continue the league, it’s only in the summer,’” Lyras-Bernacki said. “I love the idea that we’re getting a lot of activities in the winter because I think that’s perfect for here.”

Lyras-Bernacki also said while Penguin City is best known for its beer, it also has many non-alcoholic options — including alcohol-free craft beer. 

Colin McDonald, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at Youngstown State University, said he enjoys the competitive aspect while being able to improve his putt.

“I definitely like some of the little things we do there … We would go and get points based on how many shots we made,” McDonald said. “I kind of like that little bit of a competition but also learning how to play.”

McDonald also said it’s an excellent winter hobby for YSU students, especially those interested in the sport but don’t know where to get started.

“If you’re bored and living in a dorm on campus, why not come out … Learn how to play some disc golf,” McDonald said. “It teaches you how to putt so you would learn what fits you best. So, like, different ways of how to throw your putt. So it basically teaches you what you like about your putt.”

The YDGL Winter Putting League takes place every Thursday from November through February at 7 p.m. Entry costs $5. For more information, contact Shelton at pureflightdiscgolf.com.