When John Parcak took up the growing sport of disc golf eight years ago, he had no idea it would turn into a passion.
Thanks to his son, Aaron, getting him started on the game, Parcak now admits he “can’t stop playing,” and he’ll be playing on a world stage next week.
The 72-year-old Parcak will travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to compete in the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) Masters World Championships.
The tourney kicks off on Saturday and runs through Aug. 19. Parcak is scheduled to begin play on Tuesday.
Parcak, who grew up in Connecticut and later owned Benjamin’s Restaurant and Bar in Bangor in the 1970’s, flew to Michigan on Friday.
“It doesn’t get any better than the World’s,” said Parcak.
Before taking up disc golf, Parcak played traditional golf for quite a few years, making his home course at Bangor Municipal Golf Course, but now spends a lot of his time at DR Disc Golf in Orrington.
He said one of the most enjoyable aspects of disc golf is the affordability of the game.
“Golf, you’ve got to spend 50 bucks to go play, disc golf you can go play all day for 10 bucks,” Parcak said.
There’s also a mixed blend of players that Parcak plays with, which makes his experience in the game an enjoyable one.
“We have people from all walks of life,” he said of the crowd that frequents DR Disc Golf. “We have doctors, lawyers, fireman, chefs, students, it’s all walks of life that play the game.”
In Grand Rapids, Parcak will be playing in the Legends division, which is for players aged 70 and over.
He really has no expectations, save for enjoying the experience.
“It’s like going to Disneyland,” Parcak said. “It really is, it just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Growing up in Connecticut, Parcak, who has two adult children, played soccer and ran cross country and kept running until about 15 years ago.
“I didn’t want to have knee damage,” he admitted.
One thing that aids Parcak with his disc golf technique is yoga, as he is a regular participant at the Om Land yoga studio in Bangor.
“With your technique you’re twisting your torso at the waist, you’re twisting your shoulders, you’re reaching back as far as you can in a relaxed manner and then you begin to pull the disc like you’re starting a lawn mower,” he explained.
With a lot of oblique muscle strength required to throw the disc, Parcak said the classes he takes allows him that flexibility and torque.
“Yoga, it gives you that fluid range of movement, or it helps you get that,” he said.
Parcak said the strength of his game is consistency, as he admits he doesn’t have the throwing distance he once possessed.
“Like all sports, you have had the inner voices that you have to control,” he said. “Just focusing on your next shot, that’s the fun part.”
When he’s not playing at DR Disc Golf, Parcak does a variety of things as an employee at the course, and even teaches players technique.
No matter the outcome of his World Championship efforts, he’s just happy to see the game continue to grow throughout Maine.
“Eight, nine years ago there were probably 10 to a dozen disc golf courses in the state, and now depending on who is counting there’s over 60, which is amazing,” Parcak said.