Lincoln has grown into a desired destination for disc golf in Nebraska and boasts eight courses and nine leagues across the city. Meanwhile, it’s built a sense of community along the way.
Despite this, disc golf rarely gets brought up along with other popular sports turned hobbies. Despite its obscurity, disc golf continues to grow and thrive.
Among Lincoln’s eight courses, four of them run the entire 18 holes while the remaining four are nine-hole courses. Lincoln has one more piece of the disc golf puzzle that many other cities and towns across Nebraska cannot claim: a disc golf store that sells disc golf supplies only and is completely focused on the sport. The shop, Zen Llama Disc Golf, is located on 3833 S 48th St.
Co-owners Terry and Kelsey Twaddell run the shop.
“I think the thing about disc golf is that even if you haven’t personally gone out and played, you likely know someone that did,” Terry said. “I think that is how pervasive it is and it is certainly something that a lot of people are interested in even though it doesn’t always get the attention.”
Manny Lackey, a 21-year-old Fremont, Nebraska native, has played disc golf consistently for the last two years. He said he got into the game after he played with friends. Lackey has often frequented the Lincoln courses as well.
“I really enjoy what Lincoln has to offer in terms of disc golf whether it is courses or otherwise,” he said. “I love coming up here and trying out the courses and seeing what different challenges each one has for you, every single course is a little different and I really enjoy that.”
Terry Twaddell said he feels like Lincoln’s courses are a massive part of the growth that disc golf has seen in the city. He said he believes a large amount of people use the sport as a hobby to get outdoors and enjoy days outside without overexerting themselves. Terry said his store serves more than just the 9-5 crowd Monday through Friday.
“I knew that there was a lot of branding and product that was available in this area and I think what was missing was availability,” he said.
Zen Llama also offers links to different information on its site for locations of courses around Lincoln, Nebraska tournaments that are being held as well as other information on disc golf in Lincoln. Terry said he feels that their job as a disc golf shop is not only to provide high quality equipment but also to help continue growing disc golf in Lincoln.
This was a big part of what got University of Kentucky freshman Trenen Lowther, a Nebraska native, into disc golf. Lowther often played disc golf with his father. They traveled to Lincoln to try some courses out and drove by Zen Llama on the way to the course. Lowther said he was surprised to see a shop devoted to just disc golf.
“It’s not something that I had seen for myself before,” Lowther said. “It was really cool to see how much disc golf is really catching on and how many people are finding real joy in it to the point where there are places for those people to go and enjoy talking about it with other people who have that same enjoyment for it.”
For Terry, one of the best parts of his store and what it provides in the Lincoln area is the community that the store brings. It’s often used as a meetup spot for groups that like to go together so that they can get their gear and head straight to the courses.
“I love that stuff for sure, we will have people meetup here and go play together or something as simple as regulars occasionally bumping into each other before they play,” Terry said. “We also have something that was not available yet which is a lost and found for discs that people can come check as well so I think that sense of community is really great.”
The growth of disc golf in the Lincoln area is evident when looking at the community that has grown thanks to the opening of Zen Llama, as well as other new ventures in disc golf in Lincoln. That includes the opening of the Beal Slough Course in 2021. Terry said he feels that the growth of disc golf will continue even if people don’t notice it.
Zen Llama Disc Golf co-owner Terry Twaddell stands behind the register at the store“Between the opening of our store as well as the new construction of the BSC course here in Lincoln the growth of disc golf has really been felt within the community of players in Lincoln,” he said. “To me disc golf is a resilient sport, even when it may not get the attention that other sports do. I think it will continue to draw in more people that have an interest in trying it out which is great because I really feel like it is a sport that every single demographic can play and really enjoy.”