Man’s 50-state disc golf mission passes through Niles

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cutline: Larry Kirk checked Michigan off the list Tuesday at Madeline Bertrand County Park in Niles. Submitted photo

Cutline: Larry Kirk, holding the blue disc, checked Michigan off the list Tuesday at Madeline Bertrand County Park in Niles. Submitted photo

A California man who is attempting to play disc golf in 50 states in 50 days stopped in Niles Tuesday afternoon to play at Madeline Bertrand County Park.

Larry Kirk, of Fresno, began his 50/50 tour in August as a way to spread the word about disc golf and get more people interested in the sport.

“It is about the disc golf man. I just love to play new courses and introduce the game to as many people as I can,” said Kirk, a 52-year-old member of the California Air National Guard. “I am just trying to grow the sport. That’s what I’m trying to do. I hope that with help from the media, talking to people and playing courses that will happen.”

This isn’t Kirk’s first time playing at Madeline Bertrand Park’s locally popular 18-hole disc golf course.

It was the first stop on a multi-state disc golf trip Kirk took with his daughter in the winter of 2004.

“Unfortunately, I only got to play one hole because it was closed and it was in December. So I reunited with the course for the first time since then,” Kirk said. “I loved its technical shot-making requirement so much I played it twice.”

Kirk, a 31-year member of the Air Force, started his trip on Aug. 12 in Anchorage, Alaska. From there, he flew to Oahu, Hawaii to play on three courses before coming back to California to begin touring the continental U.S.

Michigan is the 34th state he’s played in. Madeline Bertrand County Park was his first course in Michigan.

Kirk estimates he will have played around 150 courses at the end of his 50-day road trip — a feat he said would be a new world record.

Right now, he’s just enjoying the ride, and the disc golf.

“I am a disc golfer man. I am out to beat every course I play,” he said. “I take it personally when I’m over par.”

Follow Kirk’s journey at the website