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For the love of the sport

Editor's note: Reporter Stacy Bengs traveled with her fiance to Hawaii where they played disc golf and camped.

Traveling is an exciting experience no matter where the destination. Whether the sun is heating up your skin on the beaches of Maui or white-capped colossal mountains reflect against crystal lakes in the bay of Alaska, the adventures a person can create while exploring new territory are endless, especially when a common interest can create a bond with a local twist.

For Red Wing native Kaleb Silverberg the opportunities to venture out across the country throughout his 27 years of life have been memorable. What makes his current style of travel unique is the strategic planning behind the destinations, dates and disc golf courses.

Silverberg recently traveled to the Hawaiian islands of the Big Island and Maui not only to escape the bone-chilling climates of our Minnesotan winters but also to defend his title as the Big Island Open Advanced Amateur 2010 champion.

"Winter is harsh and the weather out there is beautiful," Silverberg said. "It gave me a good excuse to go play disc."

He played in two different tournaments while on his nearly three-week vacation. Silverberg finished second in both the Big Island and the Maui opens.

The combination of Hawaii's rich foliage, vibrant colors and bamboo-filled forests and shooting a disc over the edge of a cliff through the splashes and crashes waves creates ideal conditions for a disc-golfer's game.

"Every course is different between elevation, trees and natural beauty," Silverberg said, "and creates new challenges every time you play."

His love for the sport started in college when a friend asked if he knew how to play disc golf.

"I told him I didn't know what that was," Silverberg said. "He had some extra discs and I've been obsessed ever since."

After nine years, more than 150 Frisbees and countless rips of a disc spanning the country from places like Georgia, northern Wisconsin and Alaska's ridge country, Silverberg plans to continue playing locally and hopes to further his hobby-driven destination vacations.

"Getting together with a group of people that share the simple interest of a love for disc golf makes it worth every minute," Silverberg said.

While playing at the Maui Open on Haleakala Mountain, Silverberg realized he was much closer to home than he realized. During the award ceremony, the call for furthest journey to the competition was announced. While many players shouted out places like Alaska or California, he was surprised to find out he only won the title by 20 miles.

"There was actually someone there who shouted out 'Hastings, Minnesota,'" Silverberg said.

"It was amazing to see another Minnesotan sharing the enthusiasm for the beauty of the land and the sport."

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

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