Disc Golf Is a Growing Sports Trend in Westchester

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An area ER doctor is pioneering an unlikely sport with his increasingly popular nonprofit organization, Westchester Disc Golf Enthusiasts.

Angelo Mascia is used to taking things into his own hands. The founder of Westchester Disc Golf Enthusiasts (WeDGE) and a Hawthorne native, Mascia has been growing the little-known sport he loves at breakneck pace — that is, when he isn’t saving lives at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. In the process, he has been bringing community values, environmentalism, health, and a whole lot of fun to Westchesterites.

Some may be a bit misty on what disc golf actually is. “The game consists of permanent, 18-hole courses — just like regular golf,” explains Mascia. “There is a tee-pad and an ending zone. The ending zone for disc golf is a basket on a metal pole with a basket-shaped catchment area surrounded by chains. The idea is to throw the Frisbee as many times as it takes to land inside the basket, and it is scored similarly to golf.”

Mascia was inspired to found the organization during his time at college in Albany, when he began playing ultimate Frisbee and organized disc golf competitively. “In college, there was an organized group of disc golfers, but we didn’t have that down here,” he recalls. “So, I started it myself.” Mascia formally began Westchester Disc Golf Enthusiasts in 2013, with just 10 members. “We shortly thereafter became an official 501-c3 nonprofit and now WeDGE boasts more than 200 members,” he notes.

“The idea is to throw the Frisbee as many times as it takes to land inside the basket, and it is scored similarly to golf.”

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Yet WeDGE is about much more than simply throwing Frisbees into nets. “The purpose of the group is, number one, to support disc golf. But number two, to give back to the community,” explains Mascia. WeDGE has thus far donated more than $20,000 to local charities, partnered with women’s cancer research groups, and aided the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America. “We also have a really strong environmental focus,” Mascia adds. “[Disc Golf] holes are designed around the current terrain. We play through trees; we play through woods; we always try to have as little an environmental impact as possible.” WeDGE members even pick up garbage around the park following games.

Mascia is also bringing change to WeDGE itself. “We have initiatives to do more women’s outreach, and we recently elected our first female board member this past year,” he says. “She and I are spearheading a revamp of a dedicated woman’s section on the website and highlighting our local female players, getting them more actively involved in the sport. My specific job is to reach out to the state and county to discuss new courses to meet the explosive demand.” Indeed, WeDGE is on track to sell more than 300 memberships in 2021, with nearly half of those having joined during the pandemic.

Above all, Mascia views disc golf as an accessible, fun, and healthy way to enjoy some outdoor activity. “I am definitely biased but I think it is the best sport for the following reasons,” he states.

“Anybody — any gender, ethnicity, age — can do it without any barrier. The amount of physical exercise you need to do is pretty low. It is a great family sport. And, finally, it is easy to learn. If you can throw a Frisbee, you can play disc golf.”

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