Borrowing ideas from the traditional game of golf, Harold Duvall, Jonathan Poole, and Dave Dunipace began planning an event that would quickly shape the future of disc golf’s competitive scene. From those plans has grown the United States Disc Golf Championship. Through its unique structure, highly acclaimed course, and distinct qualifying procedure, the US Championship has successfully established itself as one of disc golf’s most prestigious events.
In an effort to bring best disc golfers together, the US Championship combines all players who qualify into a single division. Virtually every other disc golf tournament offers divisions based on age, gender and skill level. Disc golfers love the relaxed tournament structure, as the can enjoy good food, music, and even watch other competitors play their rounds.
For 6 years the tournament ran consecutive days, Thursday through Sunday, with competitors playing one round a day. In 2005, the US Championship moved forward a day, beginning on Wednesday and concluding on Saturday. The primary reason for this move was to offer spectators an opportunity to play Winthrop in exact tournament conditions.
Winthrop University’s Disc Golf Course has been the site of the US Championship since its inception in 1999. Although the course has seen minor changes each year, it always presents a combination of narrow fairways, lots of out-of-bounds area, elevated baskets and plenty of water. Known to be physically, emotionally and mentally challenging, the Winthrop course allows for creativity in shot making and a unique focus on shot placement, rather than on pure distance alone.
US Championship hopefuls have several opportunities to qualify for the event. Players may qualify based on their performance at the previous year’s US Championship, by being top money winner on the PDGA Tour, or by participating in one of multiple qualifying tournaments throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. In addition, each state is allotted one spot for their competitor of their choice. The unique structure and execution of the US Championship has set precedence for other disc golf tournaments to follow.
Through the financial assistance and support of Innova Champion Discs and numerous other sponsors, the US Championship has experienced significant growth in the number of players and spectators that attend the tournament each year. The US Championship quickly became a favorite tournament for many of disc golf’s top professionals.
1999 – Ken Climo, Florida – Total Score: 204; Won by 15
2000 – Ken Climo, Florida – Total Score: ; Won by 5
2001 – Barry Schultz, Wisconsin – Total Score: 245; Won by 1
2002 – Ken Climo, Florida – Total Score: 237; Won by 7
2003 – Barry Schultz, Wisconsin – Total Score: 243; Won in Playoff
2004 – Ken Climo, Florida – Total Score: 255; Won by 5
2005 – Dave Feldberg, Oregon – Total Score: 244; Won by 2
2006 – Barry Schultz, Wisconsin – Total Score: 236; Won by 11
2007 – Ken Climo, Florida – Total Score: 233; Won by 11
2008 – Nate Doss, California – Total: 236; Won by 4
2009 – Nikko Locastro, Missouri – Total: 238; Won by 2
2010 – Will Schusterick, Tennessee – Total: 244; Won by 2
2011 – John Key, Florida – Performance Champion / Won by 15
2012 – Jared Neal, Alabama – Performance Champion / Won by 7
2012 – Will Schusterick, Tennessee – Open Champion / Total: 224; Won by 2
Golden Rake Award Winners
presented to the outstanding volunteer of the year
2002 – Sam Covington
2003 – Brian Mace
2004 – Brian Mace
2005 – Sammy Poole
2006 – Rock & Pat Searle
2007 – Billy Crump
2008 – Lisa McDaniel & Bill Jacobson
2009 – James Nichols
2010 – Mike Norris
2011 – Bear
2012 – Terry Roddy