Traveling country to disc golf, car camp

Sports Beat
by Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor

LARRY CLIFFORD KIRK spent a day last week disc golfing at various courses in Sheboygan. – Submitted photo

Hopefully someone was lucky enough to come across Larry Clifford Kirk last week.

You may have seen him on one of Sheboygan’s disc golf courses, or perhaps he was sleeping in his car on your street.

Either way, the 59-year-old would be one of the most interesting people you’d ever meet.

“I wasn’t planning on coming into Wyoming,” he said. “Not Wyoming! Sorry. I’m not even thinking. Not Wyoming. Wisconsin.”

Forgive the full-of-life Kirk, for he hasn’t been home (Fresno, Calif.) since February.

“This road trip is like, I’m just knocking out every course in every place I go,” Kirk said. “I’m not leaving a city until I have all the courses. I’m just racking up course after course.”

Too bad he isn’t racking up frequent flyer miles or hotel reward points.

Instead, the Topeka, Kan., native is driving – and sleeping – by himself in a Honda Crosstour he bought in 2016 that now has 150,000 miles on it.

“I’ve got my retirement pension,” he said. “If the car dies for some reason – I’m doing the oil changes – well it’s just time to buy another car and keep going. It’s a pretty reliable car.”

When Kirk arrived in Sheboygan, he spent the night “on a street next to an apartment complex” and says he slept like he belonged there.

“I was so tired, I just parked the car – and I’m not bothering anybody by parking on the street – because I can stretch out completely,” Kirk said. “It’s like car camping. Yeah, who doesn’t want to car camp?

“In order to do these trips, to see the world, it’s not always easy. … It’s kind of a one-of-a-kind story.”

The Wisconsin chapter had Kirk in a number of places he could not pronounce – in fact, butchered badly – such as Mukwonago, Fredonia, Racine and Manitowoc.

He reached the Badger state at the end of June and made his first stop in Janesville.

There were also rounds of disc golf played in East Troy, Saukville, Grafton, Greendale, Oak Creek, Franklin, Muskego, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Germantown, Jackson, Slinger, Delafield, Sussex, and West Bend.

In Sheboygan last Tuesday, Kirk disc golfed at Falcon Ridge (in the Falls), Lions, Firehouse, Jaycee Quarry (yes, he jumped in) and Vollrath.

Vollrath is the oldest course in Wisconsin (built in 1980) and is ranked No. 15 in the state by Disc Golf Scene.

Kirk says it is a little shorter than most courses but is still highly technical.

“And it’s right on the water,” he said. “It’s beautiful. Up and down hills, all kinds of trouble you can get in if you’re not accurate with your throws. It’s not a big-arm course, but it still has its challenges. And just natural beauty. … It’s just a beautiful course.”

Kirk had no idea where his next city was going to be and jokes his live-in girlfriend is now probably his roommate.

That is what happens to someone who is currently on his fourth disc-golf trip since retiring in March of 2019.

Two days later, Kirk’s journey began.

“It’s been a great retirement,” he said.

Kirk thought instead of just visiting his son and daughter in Arizona, another son in Texas, his mother and sister in Nebraska and his brother in San Francisco, why not add some disc-golf adventure to his trip?

Kirk’s first three trips not only have taken him to see his family, but he’s also disc golfed in Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

He can name off most of the cities he’s been to but in the end admits they all blend together.

“I don’t have a motivation other than it’s just fun,” Kirk said.

He’s easy to find on You Tube and documents all of his trips with pictures and videos.

“I mean, I’m not going to run myself into the ground,” Kirk said, “I”ve got plenty of energy at 59. … (But) every time I pop into a state, I’ve got requests to play here, play with a friend over here, There’s not enough time in the day to keep playing these courses.”

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