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Blackwell disc golfer wins third World Disc Golf Championship

Beverly Bryant - July 15, 2019 1:44 pm

Ron Convers Jr. recently won his third World Disc Golf Championship.

The Blackwell resident is a Ponca City High School graduate and a member of the Ponca City Disc Golf Club.

Convers said that while this is the third championship he has won, he has been in the Top 10 rankings for his  division  most of the time. He has won three championships outright over the past four years, and placed second last year.

“I do OK for an old guy,” he said. “This is not the Open World Championship. This is an age-protected division. To play in my division, you have to be 50  years old.

“I started at this a little late in my life,” Convers said. “I started playing in 1981, but not competitively. When we got the course on Fifth Street (in Ponca City), we played some fun rounds. There were four, five or six of us who started playing together. Then there were 15 and we got competitively playing for dimes or quarters or something silly.

“I got really involved competitively,” he said. “I’ve had a hand in helping to design all of the courses here in Ponca City and I’m a member of the Professional Disc Golf Design team.”

Convers was the designer of record for the Willow Springs disc golf course and said he gets credit for the Bois d’Arc course.

“That was a group effort. We have a great club. Jim Soutter and I go way back. Jim went to Amateur Worlds years ago and was in the Top 10. He was one of the main guys in Ponca City Disc Golf Club as far as getting things done,” Convers said.

Convers said he went to the World Championship in South Carolina and played at the Masters level.

“When I came back, I talked to Jim Sindelar (Ponca City’s former Parks and Recreation Director) about putting in a course in the woods. He said we would have to be a 501(c)(3) and we would have to build and maintain it. Jim Soutter got the club together and ran with it. They got the 501(c)(3)  and the club. That course was a labor of love,” he said.

He said his work in developing the Ponca City courses “gave me some great practice courses.”

“I’ve been playing a long time,” Convers said. “I’ve won the Oklahoma State Championship and the Kansas State Championship. I’ve always been competitive and started playing age-protected groups. I’ve always played in the Top 10.

“I went off  to the U.S. Open, which is by-invitation only. The second time I went out, I had a good finish. I was one stroke behind the leader at one point, but the wheels came off and I finished in 10th place. That’s not too bad in the world,” he said.

“I continued to play in the Open Division and then moved up to the Masters, which begins at 40. Then I jumped up to play my age group. I started playing Grand Master four years ago in 2015,” he said.

In 2016, Convers won his first World title in Emporia, Kansas.

“In 2017, they held the Masters’ World in Michigan and I went there and won. Last year was in Kansas City, where I took second,” he said. “A really good player beat my socks off last year.

“It’s really  hard to explain how some of the rating systems work,” he said. “It’s based on the other people on the course on any day. I’ve been a thousand rated player since 2000. The highest rated players right now are about 1050. I’ve been hanging around 1000 to 1010 for almost 20  years.

“I think that for my age, I’m probably the highest rated player,” he said.

Convers is sponsored player by Dynamic Discs out of Emporia, a manufacture of discs and disc golf equipment.

“Anything you need to play, they’ve got,” he said.  “I was good friends with the people who started Dynamic Discs. What started as a college kid working out of his trunk is now employing 75 people with three branch stores. They’ve been really good as sponsors.”

Ponca City Disc Golf Club is also a sponsor, Convers said.

Convers explained how tournaments work.

“Our tournaments are based on the length of play as far as time — how many rounds you have to play, as well as the amount of cash. There are ratings on the types of baskets (a certain quality to be played by the upper players.)

“A course has to have all the same type of baskets and tee pads (a concrete pad for good footing) and a basket (like the hole in stick golf),” he said.

“The goal is to start at the tee pad and get to the basket in the least amount of  throws. Par is rated based on several factors — each hole is evaluated on how thick the foliage is. For instance, the large course in the pageant area at Lake Ponca is rated on length.

“Bois d’Arc course is not long, but the holes are narrow and if you’re off a little, you’ll pick up a couple of strokes to get back on the fairway,” he said.

Special hazards can add strokes, Convers said.

“It’s just like in ball golf with a 3, 4 or 5 par. The course on the pageant area has two par 4 for long settings and  everything else is par 3.

“They do a scratch scoring average and all the people who are playing the event will have a rating of how well they do. They assess the difficulty of the course. That changes with weather conditions, like wind. In Oklahoma we have quite  bit of wind, which makes disc golf considerably more challenging than other places. It makes up for lack of trees with a different dimension of difficulty,” he said.

Convers used his location to his advantage and wrote a magazine article with a friend on Mastering the Wind.

“No one had really addressed  it,” he said. “If I did well at a tournament, they would say it was because it was windy.”

Convers said he expects to see an increase in disc golf tournaments here in Ponca City.

“We had our first run at an A-tier tournament this year,” he said. “With a little more experienced staff now, we should be able to do a good job.”

Convers said the sport has grown at least 10  percent annually.

“It’s known as a lifetime sport,” he said. “It’s low impact and relaxing. If you have a lot of stress, you focus on something you love recreationally. To play this sport well, you have to focus on it.”

Convers also has an athlete page on Facebook with a lot of tips on playing.

 

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