Lawrence Technological University doesn’t have a disc golf team, but if it did, Chadd Scruggs, BSME’14, would have been a charter member.
Scruggs, who was an inaugural member of LTU men’s varsity soccer team, learned to play the game between his summer classes in 2010, shortly after the LTU course was built under the direction of LTU Associate Professor Jason Barrett.
“I like being outside, and it’s cool to watch the disc fly through the trees and do what you want it to do,” Scruggs said.
He has continued to work on his game, and in 2014 he took first place in a field of more than 100 players in the amateur division III of the Michigan championships sponsored by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). The players in that division had similar ratings in PDGA-sanctioned tournaments.
That success led him to enter the international championships held in Kalamazoo, which attracted the best amateur players from 17 countries. He entered that competition ranked 250th, and moved up to 150th during the tournament.
His play attracted the attention of Prodiscus, a disc golf company in Finland, in part because he was using one of their disc bags. He was invited to join their sponsored team and now uses Prodiscus discs and apparel when he is competing.
He will travel to the company’s headquarters in Finland next year to compete in a tournament, but he has to no plans to quit his day job as a process engineer at Mac Valves in Wixom.
Michigan is a hotbed of disc golf players and ranks in the top five states for activity in the sport. Since 2012, the number of public disc golf courses in Michigan has grown from 135 to more than 300, and many private courses have been added as well. During the same time period, the number of PDGA disc golf members has grown almost 40 percent to 78,500 nationwide.
Scruggs has been back on campus this year to work on the redesign of LTU’s disc golf course, along with current student Bart Kowalewsi and Phil Lucas, BSChB’12, LTU’s student engagement coordinator. Many of the original holes had been knocked out by the construction, and the replacement tee boxes and baskets were in place in time for the annual Homecoming disc golf tournament in September.