Jeremy Rusco has turned his college hobby – a passion for disc golf – into a mutli-million dollar global business. Before attending the grand re-opening of the disc golf course at Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday, Great Bend native Rusco shared his story with an audience at the Chamber of Commerce office.
Dynamic Discs, the company Rusco started in 2005 while attending Emporia State University, now sells a million plastic flying discs a year and has recently landed a spot in 50 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores.
“I think that disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States,” Rusco said. “I’m excited to be part of it.” There are over 6,000 courses in this country, with two to four new ones installed every day. At the same time, “ball golf” courses are shutting down at the rate of one every other day.
The business started as a college hobby. So many of his friends were buying flying discs that he decided they could get a better price, so he bought 100 and delivered 30 to The Sports Fan, a store on Great Bend’s Main Street, where they did not sell. However, he began selling the other discs to friends and eBay shoppers, slowly at first as he finished working on his Bachelor of Science in business administration degree at ESU.
Rusco began traveling and hosting events, including a tournament in Great Bend that saw 29 competitors. That remains the smallest tournament to date, he said. Today, Dynamic Discs hosts the Glass Blown Open, a professional disc golf tournament in Emporia that employs multiple courses. Last year it brought more than 2,400 competitors and spectators, making it the largest disc golf competition in U.S. history, according to the Emporia Gazette.
Dynamic Discs has seen explosive growth. In December of 2012, the company partnered with Swedish disc golf manufacturer Latitude 64 to produce a variety of discs to the company’s specifications. There are 33 different discs in all — putters for short distances, long-distance drivers, and mid-range drivers for the fairways — all with different weights and shapes to fly a certain way toward the disc golf “hole,” usually an elevated, chain-covered metal basket.
As the company grew from an eBay store to a dot-com with its own website, Dynamic Discs added other products, such as golf bags and apparel. The company also sells disc golf baskets and designs complete courses, including Great Bend’s redesigned course.
Today Dynamic Discs employs 52 people and has four retail stores, and well as franchise stores and five RVs that tour the country. The company is now a multi-million dollar business. Rusco has purchased a 20,000-square-foot warehouse in Emporia, and the company continues to grow.
“It’s been a wild and hectic, crazy awesome 13 years,” he said.