- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) - When Tyler Pryce stepped up to the concrete disc golf pad, selected a driver with a heavier weight and made his first throw of the day, he turfed it.

“Well, that’s why I’m out here,” he chuckled.

You see, while a sizable bunch of people take to the disc golf course at Riverfront Park in Roseburg to challenge their friends in a competitive dual, either waging a few bucks or putting a brand new disc on the line, Pryce chooses to take a slower approach, he told the News-Review (https://bit.ly/24DSGdP )

But his style of play isn’t the only thing that sets him apart from other players. Pryce only has one arm.

“Sometimes I’ll hear people say ‘Look, there’s a dude playing who only has one arm’ which is when I usually shout, ‘Where!’ and look around,” he said, laughing.

But what makes Pryce’s story so special is something you can’t see - at least not anymore.

Pryce, 27, found himself in a downward spiral when he was a teenager, a time where he eventually became addicted to cigarettes and alcohol.

“I started drinking when I was about 16 and stopped when I was 21,” he said. “About the same time others just started to get going.”

Soon, the depression kicked in, piling up on top of a teenage angst and both the emotion and physical pain of his birth defect, which left him with an arm in amelia and an unbalanced body that may lead to a future hip replacement.

After multiple doctor visits, Pryce’s doctor finally told him he needed to find something more productive to do with himself besides staying at home and playing video games for endless periods of time.

“That’s how I got into this sport,” he said. “My brother was already into it, so I just decided to give it a go.”

With a Dr. Pepper and a pack of Camel cigarettes stuffed into the side pockets of a red shoulder bag, Pryce is quick to explain which discs are his favorite, which are worth anything, and which have the coolest name or logo.

“This one’s called Wizard or something,” he said rummaging through his bag. “Do I know what that means? No. But it flies well.”

Pryce, who says he’s seen a lot of people chuck their high-priced discs into the nearby river, said he isn’t willing to drop more than $5 or $10 on an individual driver or putter.

“My brother, who has a lot of these won’t let me borrow some of his nicer ones, but that’s OK with me,” he said. “I’d end up losing them.”

Since his doctor’s appointment, Pryce said he’s tried to make his way to the course at least once a day, weather permitting. So far, the daily trip has not only helped his game, but it’s helped with his depression.

“It’s just so peaceful out here, especially along the river,” he said.

When asked what part of the experience helped most, Pryce extended his arm and looked up to bask his face in a pillar of light shooting through a gap in the treeline from the bright blue sky and said, “This does.”

Douglas County has a number of disc golf courses, including the Riverfront Park course, which was designed in 1993, and a larger, more technical 27-hole course in Whistler’s Bend nestled in the woods along the North Umpqua River.

For more information about all of the area’s disc golf courses, visit the Professional Disc Golf Association’s website at pdga.com.

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Information from: The News-Review, https://www.nrtoday.com

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