David Ellington takes his shot during a disc golf tournament for athletes with special needs at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester on Friday morning. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

NEW GLOUCESTER — It’s all in the wrist.

Speaking at the first Pineland Fling disc golf tournament for athletes with special needs, David Ellington, a client at Personal Onsite Development in Auburn, said positioning a disc under the wrist results in a straight disc throw.

“If you do it over your wrist, you get more air, but if you do it under, it goes wherever you want,” said Ellington, a resident of Mechanic Falls.

About 40 athletes from local group homes and day programs showed up to the Pineland disc golf course Friday morning.

Miles Knight, a direct support worker and office manager with Momentum in Windham, a disability and support services organization, has been taking clients disc golfing for years.

Recently, he decided to introduce his two favorite communities, disc golf and special needs people, to each other. Reaching out to local courses, he managed to get a lower rate for folks with special needs.


“The goal was to throw the doors open between the disc golf community and people with special needs. They’re two great communities full of great people,” he said.

And the disc golf community has embraced the athletes with open arms. Over 400 discs were donated to the tournament, with the goal of sending every athlete home with one.

“The goal this year was to make it as accessible as possible to as many people in the community as I could,” Knight said.

Friday was the culmination of Knight’s efforts.

Davin Pendexter of Poland, director of the Pineland Outdoors Center, said the Pineland course already has an adaptive disc golf course designed for veterans and it’s perfect for folks with special needs.

“We want to see disc golf grow, and the best way to see it grow is to get everyone to play,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest driving factor.”


Pendexter said it was important for Pineland to become a friendly place for those with special needs, considering its history as an institution for developmentally disabled people.

“This is a very welcoming, friendly place. When I worked at Creative Trails, I knew someone who was here (at Pineland) at one point in their lives. So, it wasn’t long ago,” he said.

Knight said his next goal was getting disc golf recognized as a Special Olympics sanctioned sport, which would be fitting because Maine was just rated one of the best states in the nation to play disc golf.

“It’s really cool to bring it full circle,” Pendexter said. “We want everyone to be included in what we are watching explode, this sport of disc golf.”

As Ellington threw his disc, coming within feet of the metal basket, his method clearly worked. He said he really enjoyed the sport.

“I mostly enjoy the fresh air and throwing them,” he said.

Maine disc golfers have donated almost 400 new and used discs to go to athletes with special needs who are getting into the sport. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

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