Disc golf apparently isn’t just for fun. And next year Mainers will have a chance to see just how serious it is.

The Professional Disc Golf Association’s U.S. women’s national championships will be held in Sabattus in 2016. Approximately 100 of the nation’s top professional female disc golfers will play in the three-day tournament at the Sabattus Disc Golf Complex from Sept. 23-25, 2016.

This will be the first major tournament held in the Northeast by the PDGA, which sanctions over 2,000 tournaments a year around the world for professional and amateur disc golfers.

“It’s quite an honor to be actually able to host it,” said Peter Ruby, the Sabattus complex owner. “This is the first step in hopefully many steps after this to continue to host a large event like this on an annual basis.

“It’s a big deal for the state.”

Ruby said between 7,000 and 10,000 people play disc golf in Maine, with about 38 courses across the state. “And I can tell you the sport is growing rapidly,” said Ruby. “Nearly 25 percent of my business is new people who haven’t played before.”

The PDGA has nearly 25,000 active members, up from 9,629 in 2005. Only 8 percent are females. There are 4,723 disc golf courses across the nation compared to just 1,973 in 2005. The first disc golf course was created in 1975.

There were 34 PDGA members in Maine in 2013, the last year statistics are available. The championships will include cash prizes and divisions for not just age but skill level.

“This is a tremendous event for us to host,” said Rob Coppola of the Maine Sports Commission, which made the announcement. “This is a national event for a growing sport. To get a national event like that is big for us in a state that has a growing population in disc golf.”

The event will be open to the public. “We want people to be able to watch these professionals play at a very high level,” said Ruby.

Sabattus is considered one of the best disc golf courses in the region, with three 18-hole courses and one nine-hole course. It also includes a pro shop, parking and indoor bathroom facilities – amenities not found on every course. Ruby said he and his crew will continue to work to make the course even better for the championships.

“The crew at Sabattus has been working very hard to embody the principles employed by the PDGA, and we are excited and confident in their ability to host an outstanding major event,” said Brian Graham, the PDGA executive director, in a statement.

Disc golf is played with similar rules to traditional golf but uses a flying plastic disc instead of a golf ball and clubs. The holes in disc golf are standardized targets, or elevated baskets. Disc golfers can carry between 10-15 discs in their bag, with different aerodynamic characteristics.

Like golf, said Ruby, “you have putters, mid-range (discs) and drivers.”

Discs weigh between 150-180 grams (roughly between a third and a half-pound) and are rated according to the player’s skill level. “Some are designed for beginners, others for advanced players,” said Ruby.

Regardless of skill level, disc golf provides an opportunity for everyone to play.

“That’s what is great about the sport,” said Coppola. “You can be 70 or 7 and still go out and throw the disc while walking some beautiful courses.”

Ruby hopes bringing the event to Maine will not only expose players and fans in the state to a high level of competition, but will open Maine’s doors to more tourists.

“Our primary objective was to be a good ambassador to the sport, but also to bring business to Maine,” he said. “We want to introduce people from away to Maine-made products and to Maine in general. They will experience something here that they don’t get elsewhere.”