YORKTON - Many people think of disc golf as a relatively new thing, and certainly here in Saskatchewan that is the case.
For example, if you went back about a decade there were likely only three courses within an hour’s drive of Yorkton, and today the number is around 25.
But disc golf goes back much farther, with some long-time players taking part in professional events for years.
Nikko Locastro is one of those players.
Hailing from St. Louis Locastro has been a pro since 2003, with some 470 events played through the years, with 123 wins according to the Professional Disc Golf Association website. He is currently rated 15th on the U.S. Tour.
You might recall Locastro created some buzz in the sports world in February when he hit a 536-foot ace on hole 10 at the DGPT All-Star Weekend. The shot, and his reaction of excitement, made it onto a top-10 sports moments of the week in some media, which of course was great for the sport.
In an interview with Yorkton This Week, Locastro said the ace was a record-setter of sorts being “the longest ace” caught on camera.
As for his reaction, Locastro said disc golf provides players with great moments.
“The sport has some magic involved in it,” he said.
But, when asked about a career highlight, Locastro was hard-pressed to pick a particular moment.
“There are a lot of memories I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Every year has had some highlight moment,” said the 33-year-old.
And he isn’t done yet.
“I hope to be doing it for as long as I can,” said Locastro, adding he has seen the sport grow immensely, and he expects that will continue.
The growth has not been unexpected.
“I’m really not that surprised,” said Locastro. “I always recognized it’s potential.”
Locastro said the sport is a low cost one for people to get into, and once you toss a few discs you tend to be hooked.
“Once you start playing, people rarely stop and give it up,” he said, adding for most it’s “disc golf for life.”
Of course things do evolve.
For disc golf there seem to be a steady flow of new companies creating discs they hope will catch on with players from beginner to pro.
One of the recent entrants into the disc market is Clash Discs out of Lahti, Finland.
Locastro was an early adopter of the new discs.
“I was contacted,” he said, adding it was on Messenger with the offer of an opportunity he might be interested in.
At the time Locastro was weighing options for 2022 partnerships, and was ready to listen.
Soon a box of discs arrived from Clash, and Locastro said he immediately recognized the discs were “high grad.”
And, they proved to throw well too.
So Locastro signed on.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to get in on the ground floor,” he said.
So far the company has proven good to work with, as Locastro visited and has put his hand to helping create a couple of new discs expected out later this year.
“There’s lots of things in the works already,” he said.
The initial discs from Clash include the Popcorn, a putter which Locastro noted, “has lots of glide . . . that’s extremely controllable.”
The Mint is an approach disc that the company website states, “is an overstable throwing putter that keeps its line even with a hard pull. Thanks to the low profile, it is also ideal for forehand.”
Locastro said he immediately liked the versatility of the Mint.
“I was able to work into my bag right away,” he said.
And the Berry is a midrange that the website notes, “is a straight multi-purpose midrange that holds its throwing angle well. At high speed arms it turns slightly over and glides far.”
Locastro said he believes the discs “will be really good for a lot of people, a lot of different skill levels.”
For more on the three discs from Clash check out the Sports This Week column in The Marketplace where yours truly and a couple of other local throwers provide their thoughts from the perspective of casual local disc golfers.