This article has been amended since its May 21 print publication.
Store improves operations to expand disc golf
Damon and Stacey Neth opened Disc Nation's brick-and-mortar location on Slaughter Lane in 2006 to serve Austin's disc golf scene.
They remain heavily involved in the local workings of the sport but have enhanced their distribution and online operations to become a major player in the sport nationally and internationally.
"Our retail has grown by 61 percent since 2008 here in Austin," Damon said. "That speaks to the strength of the disc golf scene here. There are not too many places on earth that could support a store that only sells [flying discs and supplies]."
For the uninitiated, disc golf is played much like traditional golf: players throw a disc and attempt to reach the basket with the fewest throws, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association.
There are roughly 30 courses in the greater Austin area, Damon said.
"Disc golf is part of the culture here in Austin," he said. "Since I have moved here, I have only had to explain to someone what disc golf is once. Back in Massachusetts that was a daily conversation.
"Not everyone here plays, but people have seen the targets around or the courses. They may know people who play, so they are getting secondary exposure."
Damon said this year 100 products have debuted already—an unusually high number for so early in the year.
"It tells me that the sport—I don't want to say it is going mainstream—but it is starting to get more broad exposure,"
Disc Nation opened a 15,000-square-foot distribution center on Regal Row in Southwest Austin in 2008.
The company offers custom pressed discs and marker discs. It also operates a collection of websites and online wholesale operations. Disc Nation has worked for the last decade to build advanced information systems with an estimated value of $5 million to upgrade and streamline its order processing.
"We are the only company in the disc golf [industry] that has access to advanced information systems," he said. "We have automated the supply chain to do order fulfillment."
He sees introducing more sophisticated business practices as helping the sport overall. It was not that long ago that disc golf vendors placed orders by emailing spreadsheets, he said.
"To me, that's so old school. We are trying to educate people—doing business in [the old way] makes us look more like a minor industry," he said.
Know your terms
Just as traditional golfers use different clubs to hit certain shots, disc golfers use different discs to reach their targets.
- Driver—The farthest-flying discs are used for the drive, the first throw on a hole.
- Mid-range or mid-purpose—This disc has more control than a driver and is used after the driver.
- Putter—Designed to fly slower and straighter than mid-range disc, this disc is used for the final throw of a hole.
- Target/basket—The hole where a disc golfer aims
The Austin area has more than 30 courses for disc golf, including the following:
- Circle C Metropolitan Park, 6301 W. Slaughter Lane
- Mary Moore Searight Park, 907 W. Slaughter Lane
- Twin Parks, 1111 Hays County Acres, Dripping Springs
- Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road