Many Michiana residents have retreated indoors due to the recent rash of severe weather and bitter temperatures, but one disc golf club based in South Bend is heading out into the snow to prepare for their upcoming tournament—the Ice Bowl.
Joe Rutkowski, the South Side Disc Golf Club’s director, has been organizing disc golf tournaments all over the area and is excited for the frigid tournament. He says it’s part of a bigger series called the “4 Seasons at Rum Village,” a promotion created by the club to help restore the disc golf course at Rum Village on the south side of South Bend.
“The course is maintained by the parks department as far as mowing and general cleanup,” said Rutkowski. “There is much more that could be done, but it’s unfortunately not in the city’s budget.”
Rutkowski says the Ice Bowl is a play on a roughly 30-year tradition of disc golfers all over the country playing in Ice Bowls to help raise money and give back to the community.
The club is excited to give back to Rum Village, a park that is near and dear to Rutkowski and the club’s manager, Nick Radecki.
“Nick and I decided that our first goal should be to rehabilitate our home course of Rum Village Park,” Rutkowski said. “It is by far a gem in the hills of South Bend overlooking the Golden Dome.”
The club says that they’re looking to rehabilitate the course by adding more trash cans, disc golf baskets, more signage for the course and more.
In the name of restoring their beloved home course, the South Side Disc Golf Club will be battling what’s being projected by Weather.com as below-freezing temperatures on the tournament day, February 8.
“Our first tournament [of the series] is going to undoubtedly be the toughest considering the weather,” said Rutkowski.
The cost to register for the Ice Bowl tournament is between $25 and $35, depending on the division, plus a canned good to be donated to the area’s hungry via the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. .Rutkowski hopes that the Ice Bowl, along with the other tournaments the club plans to host at Rum Village, will bring good things back to the community.
“Some of our proceeds from the spring tournament will go towards holding free disc golf clinic for anyone looking to learn how to play,” he said. “This is how we can spread passion for the sport so that others can appreciate it.”
A good way to spread passion is to give away free stuff, which the club plans to do at the Ice Bowl. Since the event has gained quite a few sponsors, the club is giving away free discs at the tournament.
Rutkowski’s roots in the sport help fuel his fire to spread the word about disc golfing and the pleasure it can bring. He’s been a self-proclaimed disc golf “addict” since sinking his first ace, or hole-in-one, back in 2003. Since then, he’s been testing the waters at many courses and in many different weather conditions.
“The first real winter I threw with [my brother] Ben was a day I’ll never forget,” said Rutkowski. “The snow fell gently…we didn’t talk much, just enjoyed the quiet. It’s amazing how much you hear when you’re not talking.”
The tournament is open to recreational players and competitors alike. It will feature 24 holes on the normally 18-hole course.
The cost to register for the Ice Bowl tournament is between $25 and $35, depending on the division, plus a canned good to be donated to the area’s hungry via the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. .
Rutkowski and his fellow disc golfers are sure that events like this will get the community aware of getting out and being active in the sport, no matter what the weather is like.
“Play for the love of the game. Share it with everyone,” said Rutkowski. “Grow beyond your wildest dreams.”
To contact Rutkowski and the South Side Disc Golf Club, follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SouthSideDiscGolfClub.