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Airman puts disc golf on the map

Air National Guard reservist still pursues his passion after achieving his goal to play disc golf in all 50 states

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Since 1982 the Air Force has taken Larry Kirk all over the country.

As a reservist for the California Air National Guard he is sent to different locations every year to serve his two-week annual tour.

Over the past decade 50-year-old Kirk took advantage of his travels and mapped out his own course - to play disc golf in all 50 states.

"I started traveling when I had the chance to," the Atwater, Calif. resident said. "I'm really dedicated to meeting new people and playing (disc golf)."

Disc golf is similar to the game of golf, but rather than using a ball and clubs, a course is played by throwing discs into chain baskets. Modern disc golf is a product of the 1960s and Kirk began playing as a teenager in 1978.

During his time in the Air Force Kirk's sport of choice was golf, while disc golf was a novelty game he looked forward to playing when he returned home to Southern California. But while on a road trip where he played disc golf courses in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, Kirk got the idea to expand beyond the West Coast and play courses all over the United States.

"That's really when it all started. I was playing a long time ago in high school, but in 2001 my first goal was to play everything in California," Kirk said.

Kirk has played in 65 courses in California, which today has more than 100 courses. It served as a springboard to Kirk's cross-country attempt to conquer the other 46 states. For nine years Kirk took road trip after road trip following a mapped out course. Last year he took a 10-day, 10-state trip of the East Coast. He completed the 50-state feat after he played in Delaware of October 2010. But it didn't end there. Even though he already had recorded Pennsylvania, he was advised to go up to Fairmount Park in Philadelphia to play the second course built in the country.

After Kirk played Philadelphia he went out to find the iconic art museum steps shown in the movie ‘Rocky.' He celebrated nearby with a lobster dinner. Kirk thought he might have been the first person to accomplish such a feat, but he learned in 2009 someone beat him to it.

"He was retired Navy," Kirk said. "Then I'll be the first Air Force person to do it."

These days Kirk is taking some time off to job search while he continues to serve in the Air National Guard. He still makes time for road trips, traveling with 40 discs in his trunk. With one major feat accomplished, Kirk still sets goals for the game he enjoys.

Last October Kirk spent two days to map out the 11 courses in Phoenix. He started out at 5 a.m. and played each course until he finished at 9:30 p.m. Four of those hours were spent driving. He did it simply because he could.

"It's not a passing fad. I've been doing it for 10 years fanatically," Kirk said. Nearly a decade after his cross-country adventure began Kirk returned to the state where it began - Washington. While on yet another road trip, Kirk drove through McChord Field last month to visit with firefighters and MPs he previously worked with, and of course to play the nine-hole course on McChord Field, located at the dog park. Despite the wet Washington weather, Kirk still went out and recorded another course on his growing list of courses played.

To date Kirk has played at more than 300 courses. According to the Disc Golf Review website, there are 3,626 courses in the United States.

Kirk plans to retire from the Air National Guard when is he 60 and spend more time teeing off on disc courses.

"My kids have grown up and I stayed in kid mode," he said.

IF YOU GO What: McChord Field Disc Golf Course Where: At Dog Park What: Nine-hole course

More online To follow Kirk's disc golf career visit


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