August 2019 Ladies of the Month: Melody, Aria and Haley Castruita

Melody, Aria and Haley Castruita are a trio of sisters who disc golf from Spicewood, TX. Their father John Castruita PDGA #42756 has been a PDGA member since 2010 and has made disc golf a family affair!
All three sisters competed in the 2019 PDGA Junior Worlds in Emporia, KS and came away from the event with top finishes in the event.
Melody Castruita #50171 placed 1st in the Junior Girls 18 and under category and has past first place finishes in her local PDGA Women’s Global Event from 2014,2016 & 2018.
Aria Castruita #105126 placed 2nd in the highly competitive Junior Girls 15 and under at the 2019 PDGA Worlds and was also the 1st place winner of her local WGE for the Junior Girls 12 and under division.
The youngest of the siblings Haley Castruita #105127 placed 1st in the Junior Girls 12 and under division at the 2019 Junior World Championships. 2019 is Haley’s first year of competing with which she has earned 6 victories out of 9 events!
These young ladies are the future of the sport and recently all signed sponsorship deals with the Trilogy companies: Dynamic Discs, Latitude 64 & Westside Discs.

Who introduced you to disc golf?

Our dad introduced and taught us disc golf.

How long has each sister been playing?

Melody has been playing for nine years, Aria eight years, and Haley seven years.

What is each of your favorite drivers?

Melody’s favorite driver is the DD Lucid Air Captain. Aria’s is the Lat Ballista Pro. Haley’s is the Westside Stag

Do you play a lot on summer break? Do you play all year?

Yes, we play all year. We are home schooled and for gym, we play 18 holes on our property. The front nine are 20 to 30 ft. shots. The back nine are 75 to 150 ft. shots.

What is your biggest disc golf accomplishment?

Melody’s biggest accomplishment was winning the PDGA 2019 Disc Golf World Championships Junior Girls 18 & Under. Aria’s was winning the Women’s Global Event 2016 & 2018. Haley’s was winning the PDGA 2019 Disc Golf World Championships Junior Girls 12 & Under.

Do you have any role models from the disc golf community?

Yes, Stephanie Vincent has really supported us and the local disc golf community. She always encourages us to do our best and is very positive.

Do you have other hobbies or sports you play outside of disc golf?

We like to play mini disc golf and love to draw. Also, we play guitar and piano and sing. We play Christian songs and perform at retirement and rehabilitation centers.

Is there any sibling rivalry on the course?

We are competitive with each other but we support and encourage each other, too.

Does having your family on the course help to motivate or encourage you in any way?

Of course! Our mom and dad are great caddies and always encourage us. We always enjoy playing a round with them.

If you could have an official snack of disc golf what would it be?

We all like eating trail mix.

Do you have any advice for young players who are just starting to play disc golf?

The main thing is to have fun and play as much as you can. Start off with a few discs and get familiar with those. The more you play, the better you’ll get. Find others that love to play disc golf and practice with them. If you can, play with disc golfers that are really good and learn from them.

Some Like it Hot…or Not!

Author:

PDGA #21224

 

 

 

Temperatures are starting to heat up here in the Midwest, and I am sure all over the country.  I recently played in the Wisco Disco tournament in Madison, WI where the heat index was in the middle 90’s.  During and after the tournament many of the ladies were asking how to stay cool and hydrated in those conditions. Some ladies were suffering physically from the heat and humidity.  The team at Ladies First Disc Golf thought it would be a great idea to do the research for you! Check out these tips for beating the heat during your rounds so that you can stay safe.

Regulate Your Temperature

The goal for everyone playing in oppressive heat indices is to make sure your body can cool itself. If your body struggles to regulate its temperature, you can start to suffer from heat-related conditions of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.  As the turtle in Finding Nemo says, “you’re going to have a bad day!”  Your body cools itself by the evaporation of sweat from your skin, so with humidity less evaporation occurs making it difficult to keep your body temp normal.

Women Carrying Water on a Disc Golf Course

Photo Credit: Lauren E. Lakeberg

A key way to assist your body is by hydrating like mad before, during, and after your rounds.  If you have been to a PDGA Major, you have heard Chuck’s battle cry, “Be a grape, not a raisin”.  Since there are many factors involved with how much to drink, a general rule of thumb is to drink about a half liter of water every hour; up this amount if heat index is really high or you are playing a strenuous course.  You can also gauge how much water you should drink after a round by weighing yourself before and after your round, then replace each pound lost with 20 ounces of water.

Hydration Beyond Water

To sport drink or not to sport drink, that is a tricky question.  There are many articles out there about sport drinks, electrolyte mixes, etc.  I think it comes down to the weather conditions and personal preference.  Water is your top priority, and I suggest trying sports drinks and/or a variety of electrolyte mixes to see if you perform better with certain products.  I have been playing disc golf for over 17 years so I have tried my fair share of products.  I have found sport drinks such as Powerade/Gatorade to be too heavy on my gut and feel like a whale after drinking.

Disc Golf Women

Photo Credit: Lauren E. Lakeberg

I also have developed an allergy to certain fake sugars such as sucralose and stevia, so I cannot tolerate the “no sugar added” mixes/tablets, but I really liked the electrolyte tablets from NUUN as you could just carry them in your bag and add to water as needed.  I gave out tablets to my card mates at the Wisco Disco and they loved them.  Now I use the NUUN Performance Hydration powder.  I can add it to my water bottle as needed, and it gives me the electrolytes I need to re-hydrate. It also has the carbs I need for energy being a masters-age player.

Another tip I found while researching, if you like to be frugal, is to use a small amount of Celtic Sea Salt to add minerals/electrolytes to your water.

Erin Oakley’s tip is to add fruit chunks to water, and then freeze it overnight.  You will have some nutrients in cool water for your afternoon round.  So keep chugging fluids, and try out a few options to see what works best to keep you hydrated and performing well on the course.

Heat Exhaustion Know the Signs

Women playing disc golf

Photo Credit: Lauren E. Lakeberg

I went down with heat exhaustion at the Mid America Open in steaming Columbia, Missouri several years ago.  I had the classic symptoms of dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, muscle cramps, and nausea.  Luckily one of my card mates knew about cooling the body quickly at pulse points, and got me through the last 2 holes to get to tournament central for shade/water.  Putting cool water, ice packs, or cool rags on pulse points for several minutes cools down the blood so that as it travels along the blood stream it cools the body.  Easily accessible pulse points include the inner wrists, the neck, inner elbows, and the back of the knees.

Obviously the easy one would be to put a cool towel/rag on your neck. I have had great results with rubbing ice or putting a cold towel on my wrists to cool down as well.  My friend, Nadine, freezes damp towels and then carries them in her cart to use on her neck during rounds.

women disc golfers with umbrella

Photo Credit: Lauren E. Lakeberg

Next, finding shade/cooler spaces on the course as often as possible will help in keeping your body cool.  Veteran Erin Oakley says that “heat stroke is no joke”. Erin suggests using an umbrella if you are on an open course.  We also joke about “shade golf” or “master’s golf”, and finding shade anywhere you can as you move down the fairway.  The temperature swing between being out in the sun and in the shade can be a 5-10 degree difference.  So take advantage of the shade when you can.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Finally, be aware of how you are feeling both mentally and physically, and ask for help if you need.  While caddying during Am Worlds one year, a woman on the card ahead went down. I called the TD to send help, and then when the situation took a turn for the worse I called 911.  Better to be safe than sorry.  (Another pro tip: always have the TD’s phone number with you for emergencies).  Please keep an eye on your fellow card mates as well—we are all family.  Notice if they are struggling and offer suggestions to them.  Many times someone suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke cannot focus or think clearly and they may need some assistance.  If you are really concerned, get them in the shade, try some cooling on pulse points, and call the TD.  The TD may opt to pull them off the course, and possibly call for medic.

Keeping cool and hydrated during the hot summer rounds will not only keep you performing better, but can keep you from some serious heat-related illnesses.  Use these tips, do some research, and ask your fellow disc golfers for suggestions.  Watch for more articles from the Ladies First Disc Golf Team.  Keep sparkling (and hydrated) on the courses!

Credit to the author & photographer:

Tracey “TraLo” Lopez has been discing for over 18 years.  She competes in the FP40 division and is sponsored by Ladies First Disc Golf.  She has run disc golf clinics, youth leagues, women’s leagues; assisted/volunteered with tournaments; written disc golf/wellness articles and has done public speaking engagements. TraLo was a fitness/wellness coordinator for a parks and recreation department for 17 years, moving to public works 4 years ago. She has recently been certified as a Life/Wellness Coach and re-certified as a Personal Trainer, to continue her passion for wellness & mindfulness and bring it to the disc golf community.  Watch for her upcoming Blog: On Center w/ TraLo.
Thank you to Lauren E. Lakeberg for the use of photo’s.
To follow Lauren’s disc golf photo’s:
Facebook The Disc Golf Photographer 
Instagram @thediscgolfphotographer

 

July 2019: Nikki Nash A Chick Chasing Chains

Nikki Nash PDGA#77454  is a professional disc golfer residing in Houston, TX she hosts a women’s disc golf league in Texas: Chick’s Chasing Chains.  Nikki began playing PDGA tournaments in 2015 competing in the amateur divisions. As of 2019 she has made the leap from amateur to professional to challenge herself and learn more from the best in the game. For making the jump from amateur to pro Nikki says “Taking a chance of moving up to FPO this year. It’s been a rough one, riddled with some injury, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve met, and played with, so many amazing women. I can’t wait to see who I have the pleasure of meeting next!” Texas is known to have a strong disc golf scene, and the state has been a pioneer for women’s disc golf.  Nikki hosts the Chick’s Chasing Chains women’s disc golf league in Houston, TX Wednesday’s with varying sessions throughout the year. To find more out about Chick’s Chasing Chains, join their group on Facebook.

 

How did you learn about disc golf, and when did you start playing?

I learned about disc golf from a friend in 2015.  I just walked with our group of friends for a while, but eventually picked up a Boss.  Once I finally had a decent throw I was hooked! 

Do you throw forehand or backhand?

Backhand.  I’m trying to force myself to learn forehand and work it into my game this year.  The progress has been…slow. 

 If you could give a new player starting out 1 tip of advice what would it be?

Learn to throw your mids and putters first.  I didn’t learn this and struggle with throwing them off the box.

 

If you could only play with 3 discs for the rest of your life, what 3 discs would they be?

Millennium Sirius Scorpius, Discraft Titanium Buzzz & Gateway Money Wizard

Everything’s big in Texas…so why is disc golf so big in Texas?

We have so much extra land to be used!  That makes it much easier to put in new courses. We’re also very proud and competitive people which helps keep the sport so popular here. 

 If you could have an official beverage of disc golf what would it be?

Definitely Karbach Crawford Bock (Go Astros!)

Karbach is a supporter of disc golf and they host an annual doubles tournament in Houston too!  

 Fill in the blank disc golf is ___________.

Life-changing! 

 If you could have anyone in the whole world as a partner for a doubles round of disc golf who would it be?

That’s such a tough question.  I’d have to choose Chef Andrew Zimmern simply because I really enjoy cooking and I would get to meet one of my favorite celebrity chefs. 

Andrew Zimmern is a member of the Innova Celebrity team. Photo courtesy Innova Disc Golf

 What is your favorite thing about disc golf?

My favorite thing about disc golf has got to be the connections and friendships I’ve made (and will make).  It forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and meet people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve made what I think will be some lifelong friendships and valuable connections. 

 

You host a women’s league in Houston, TX called Chicks Chasing Chains, that is very well attended! What do you think are the most important factors that contribute to your league’s success? 

I’ve thought about this before and three very important factors have helped immensely. 

1 – The lovely ladies that play in the league.  They are all so friendly, welcoming, and outgoing.  When you meet them you want to return and get to know each of them better.

2 – Our format.  We keep our league low cost and only take your top 3 scores out of 6 weeks.  Your entry fee is already taken care of on the first week and it’s easier to return to cancel out any bad rounds. 

3 – The Houston Disc Golf Scene.  Every single club in the Houston area is very open to and supportive of women’s disc golf.  My closet is overflowing with disc and CTP donations for the ladies all the time!

 

 

June Lady of the Month: Podcaster Extraordinaire Becca Kephart

Becca Kephart PDGA member #94101 is an amateur disc golfer residing in Kansas City. Originally from Colorado this disc golf lady loves following the stats and cheering for the women of disc golf! In 2018 Becca started the Ladies of the Chains Disc Golf podcast. The first disc golf podcast that focuses on All Things Women’s Disc Golf. Continue reading for 10 questions with this most excellent musician, disc golfer and podcaster extraordinaire

When and where did you first start playing disc golf?

I very first started playing disc golf in 2004 when I was newly married and had just moved to Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s funny because I don’t even remember what or who first introduced me to the sport.  The Edora course was only about a half mile from our apartment and I wanted to play all the time even though I was terrible and had no idea what I was doing. We moved farther from the course in 2006, and I only played very rarely until my dad came to visit me in Kansas City in 2016. We had a day with no plans and I had driven by Rosedale a bunch of times and thought it would be fun to give disc golf another try. I still had my few discs (they were super moldy and needed to be bleach washed) but once we had played a few holes I was hooked again and sad I’d ever stopped playing. When we got back from the course I did a Facebook search and found the Kansas City Disc Golf Divas. The rest is history.

Do you prefer technical wooded courses or long open courses?

I love courses that have a mixture of both. I don’t throw super far, so long courses are not my favorite. But I like courses that mix in holes that I might have a chance to score on with more difficult holes. Recreation Park in Raymore, MO is one of my favorite courses because it gives me a chance to throw a bunch of different shots, but at distances I can handle.

If you could have anyone in the world be your doubles partner who would you choose?

This is such a tough question!!! If I had to pick one, I’ll go with Elaine King. She’s so good and knows the game so well. She also throws the same plastic as I do, so I feel like I’d be able to pick up some extra tips.

Best Tip for someone playing in their first disc golf tournament?

Everyone is nervous and awkward! I remember at my first tournament thinking I was the only one who felt uncomfortable and a little lonely. But the co-TD Rhonda Crosby had sent out a wonderful email the night before saying that everyone would be nervous and that we were about to make a bunch of friends. She couldn’t have been more right. Some of the women I met that day are great disc golf friends now. I found the most wonderful friends and community, it just took a minute. And you’ll probably score way worse than you expect, but that’s ok.

What are your 3 favorite courses in the Kansas City area?

  1. Rosedale (Kansas City, KS)- it’s my home course and where I found disc golf again.
  2. Bad Rock Creek (Liberty, MO) -I just started playing this course recently, but it’s got a ton of variety. 
  3. Recreation Park (Raymore, MO)- The design of this course makes me feel like what I think the pros feel like when they walk up to a hole. If I throw the shot right, I have a chance to make the green on most holes. But they’re not all “easy” shots.

Rosedale Down Under Photo Courtesy: Dg Course Review

If you could travel to anywhere in the whole world to play disc golf where would you go?

Finland! I’m trying to convince my husband that’s a good destination for our 20 year anniversary. Maybe we can bounce around Europe a bit and I can play in the Tyyni.

Would you rather play in rain & warm temps or wind and high temps over 90 degrees?

Despite all the rain I’ve had to play in so far this year, I will always say rain! I learned last year that playing in heat and sun wears me out so much faster. For that reason I’m not playing any 2 round in one day events in June and July to hopefully give myself the best chance to play well.

If you could have an official beverage of disc golf what would it be?

Recently I’ve discovered my best after round drink is tomato juice. Weird right? But the combo of salt, potassium, and vitamin C is a great recovery drink.

Do you attend any leagues? If so want to give a shout out to them?

I have a job where I work in the afternoons and evenings, so I actually don’t get to make a lot of leagues. My schedule recently changed and I will have Fridays off, so I’m looking forward to checking out some of the Friday leagues! But shout out to the Kansas City Disc Golf Divas league, they are the absolute bestest.

You host and produce the Ladies of the Chains Podcast. We were excited when we discovered your podcast! Do you have a favorite guest or episode? How can people support your podcast?

I am so thankful for the content we’ve been able to put out! I’m truly indebted to my co-hosts and all the guests we’ve had. Without them, the podcast wouldn’t exist. And selfishly it’s made me a better golfer! I can’t pick a favorite episode, but I can say a number of episodes have surprised me with how good they turned out. I never know what a guest will have to say, but it’s always so interesting and I’m again so grateful for the people that have taken the time to speak with me. To support the podcast visit ladiesofthechains.com and click on the support button to be linked to our Patreon. There’s also a link where you can purchase a t-shirt, hat, or mini.

We have to give a huge thank you to Becca for asking Ladies First Disc Golf owner Jenny San Filippo to be a guest on the Ladies of The Chains Podcast! We recently did an episode and covered Fears of Disc Golf, you can listen by clicking here https://www.ladiesofthechains.com/fears-on-the-coursethe-state-of-fpo 

 

Would you like to be featured as the Lady of the Month?

When we started our Lady of the Month articles our intentions were to interview women and girls from all aspects of the disc golf community. We have been able to interview world champion disc golfers, tournament & league directors,  business owners, amateur champions and media personalities!

Lately we have been inconsistent in posting our Lady of the Month articles. We hope you can help us change that! If you would like to be featured as a Lady of the Month fill out this form with some information about yourself.

March 2019 Lady of the Month: The Disc Princess Jessica Weese

You have been playing since you were a young lady, at what age did you first start playing disc golf?

I started playing disc golf at the age of 6. Maybe even before then… my mom played a lot when I was younger.

Your power and distance with forehand drives is one of the best in the FPO division. For a player wanting to increase their distance and power on a forehand drive, what is the best advice you can give them to help with this?

I try focusing on planting my left foot at the same time I throw the disc, also when you let go, the angle of your wrist means the world.

Which disc golf event do you look forward to playing every year?

Every year I look forward to the World Championships!  I have won big events before, but the only one everyone will never forget is the World Championships.

Over the last 5 years what is the most exciting thing you experienced on the disc golf course?

Winning 1st Place at the Beaver State Fling in 2015, Utah Open, and the Ledgestone Open. I just cant wait to take a world title!

Photo Credit: Lauren Lakeberg

Do you attend any women only tournaments throughout the year? If so, what are your favorite women’s only tournaments or leagues to attend?

Yes I try to attend the USWDGC every year.

I used to play the Daisy Chains Event in Santa Cruz, CA. That was one of the most amazing women’s tournaments, unfortunately my schedule has put a stop to that tournament for me.

Poppy Series is an all ladies series of tournaments in California I try to attend the ones that I can.

I have played at Ladies of the Lake in Ohio.  And I am sure I am missing some….

As a member of the Innova Star team if Innova said “Jessica, you can only play with 3 discs for the rest of your disc golf career” what 3 discs would you choose? Only 3?

I guess I’d have to say- Glo champion Leopard3 168g, Star Vulcan 169g, and Star Destroyer 168g

We have seen the beautiful necklaces you make, how did you get into making jewelry?

I have always loved beads, my grandma is a rock-hound.  Every year the gem and mineral show came to town, I always spent hours at the bead table helping set up and take down. The lady working the booth always gave me beads as a thank you for helping.

Every time I get new beads it inspires me to break out my bead collection and get working!

~Thank you Anette for being my bead inspiration. ~

After just running your first disc golf tournament with the help of Garrett Gurthie and your mom Sheri, what was the biggest takeaway as first time tournament director?

You must have a crew of people to help you. All helpers must know their job and how to do it, there is no time to answer everyone’s questions.

How can people support you so you can stay on the road and tour?

Follow me on my athlete page Facebook Jessica Weese or Instagram @Discprincess

I post jewelry for sale, I also post my custom stamped discs for sale.

 

~ Stay Tuned

As a female player who started playing a young age, what is advice do you have for young lady or teenage disc golfers in terms of sticking with it, and making it a lifelong activity?

Well, being a young girl I wanted to do my own thing. My mom would go play disc golf while I was in school.

When I got out of school I would walk to the park and meet my mom. I would put my backpack away and grab my skateboard. I was  sponsored for skateboarding way before I was any good at disc golf. At the age of 11, I beat my mom for the first time in a tournament round. This was my all time favorite memory as a kid. I told everyone at the tournament! She hated that, but little did she know that was my motivation for my future of Disc Golf.

Don’t ever pressure the kids into playing, make it fun, that is my all time advice!

-Jessica Weese The Disc Princess <3

January 2019 Lady of the Month: Katie Holbrook

Katie Holbrook PDGA #62587 is a lady disc golfer originally from Columbus, OH now living in Nashville, TN. Katie has tremendous power with her drives and smooth form. Katie placed 1st in 2015 at the Amateur Championships at Bowling Green in the Recreational Women’s Division. You can find Katie crushing her Innova discs in the Advanced and Pro Women’s divisions. She is a member of the Innova Ambassador Team, Team Whale Sacs, Flyin Colors Disc Golf, Black Monocle Discs. Katie has been on our team of Sparkle Sisters since the very beginning of our team in 2016, as of January 2019 she is our team hype lady and Sparkle Captain!

January 2019 Lady of the Month: Katie Holbrook

How did you learn about disc golf? When did you start playing?

 Some friends who played casually. My brother Nate bought me my first DX Leopard.

What is your favorite course in Ohio?

The Twilight Zone. (A privately owned discgolf course by Chuck Custer and Maureen Miller)

What is your favorite course in Tennessee? 

Harmon Hills in Fall Branch, TN

Hole 1 Harmon Hills
Photo Courtesy: DG Course Review

Best advice for female player who wants to increase their distance on their drives?

To throw slightly lighter, less stable discs

What is your favorite disc golf event or experience?

That’s hard…Probably playing The Nantucket Open last year or working the USDGC

What are your 3 favorite discs from Innova?

Teebird, Leopard, and a Valkyrie

If you could have an official beer or beverage of disc golf what would it be?

Coffee. Iced latte preferably. I love espresso.

In the day hours you are a magician with hair styling. What is your favorite part of being a hairstylist?

Making people feel better about themselves leaving than when they came in

If you could have a tee off song for 2019, what song would it be?

Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé

You are a member of a few disc golf teams (Innova, Whale Sacs, Black Monocle Discs and Flyin Colors) including our team of Sparkle Sisters. As of 2019 you are the official team captain, also known as Sparkle Captain! Why is growing women’s disc golf important  to you?

It is important to grow women’s disc golf me, because the more women that play and compete, the more likely other women will join. It’s so motivating and comforting all at the same time.  Ladies leagues, clinics, and women only tournaments are fantastic ways to get ladies involved.


November 2018 Lady of the Month: Debbie Scott

Debbie Scott is a professional disc golfer who lives in Charlotte, NC. Debbie is on the Innova Disc Golf Ambassador team since 2013, a member of the Throw Pink Team, sponsored by Paragon Disc Golf, United Chains Disc Golf team member, sponsored by the Rock at Stonewall  and a Ladies First Disc Golf Sparkle Sister. In her hometown of Charlotte, NC Debbie hosts the Charlotte Disc Golf Ladies League. Not only does Debbie play disc golf with the ladies in her area, she also teaches disc golf to children at the Carolina Bible camp, and is a lifeguard at the Charlotte YMCA! Always doing good things for others, Ladies First Disc Golf wanted to recognize Debbie by asking her to be the 2018 November Lady of the Month, read more here:

When and where did you first play disc golf?

I first learned how to play disc golf at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall of 1995.

 

What are your top 3 courses to play in North Carolina?

Glenburnie Park in New Bern, NC

Glenburnie Park Photo Courtesy DG Course Review

Castle Hayne near Wilmington

Castle Hayne photo courtesy: Disc Golf Course Review

NC & Ashe County Park in West Jefferson, NC

Ashe County Park photo courtesy: Disc Golf Course Review

What is your ideal breakfast the morning of a disc golf tournament?

Protein shake with banana & peanut butter

What event do you look forward to most each year?

Magnolia Open (all Women’s event at the IDGC complex)

Your career has many accolades including some notable moments as an amateur player. During your first year of competing in 2010 you were crowned the  Intermediate Women’s Champion at the USWDGC. Also in 2012 you placed 2nd in Advanced Women in the PDGA Amateur World Championships. Being a pro player since 2013 what advice would you give to an amatuer female player who is looking to eventually compete in the professional division?

Move up when you’re ready. Everyone’s tipping point is different. Don’t be pressured to move too soon.

If you could have an official beverage of disc golf, what would it be?

Body Armor

What do you putt with?

DX Colt

Throw Pink DX Colt

Best tip for playing in warm and humid conditions?

Stay in the shade as much as possible, drink plenty of water, slow down

What disc would you most recommend for a new player?

Innova Shark

Your whole family plays disc golf, what a great family activity! How do you keep kids interested in disc golf as they are growing up?

They had to be with us, but I never pushed it on them. Sometimes Christian just played with the rocks and sticks, and that was perfectly fine. They eventually wanted to do what we were doing. Christian was literally side-arming from the jogger stroller before he could walk! Now at 12, he out drives me!!

Comforts of Being Uncomfortable: Playing Disc Golf in Winter

Erin Oakley is one of the most recognizable forces of the growth of women’s disc golf, she plays disc golf in any weather and loves winter disc golf. She is a member of Team Innova, Luna Disc, Disc 2 Basket and a Ladies First Disc Golf Sparkle Sister. Erin has hosted prominent women’s disc golf tournaments such as Disc Girls Gone Wild and the 2018 United States Women’s Disc Golf Championships. Weather doesn’t stop Erin from enjoying her favorite hobby disc golf. Read Erin’s tips if you are playing disc golf for the first time in snow, cold and winter conditions. 

There is No Off Season for Disc Golf

Many disc golfers may refer to the winter months as the “off season”. While I may not be competing much in the winter, I don’t refer to any months as “off season”. I will normally play disc golf in any weather and I especially love winter disc golf golf as it actually helps me tune in my game. Winter disc golf in Michigan is often cold, wet and snowy. These conditions require me to bundle up in extra layers and thick boots which help me remember to slow my movements down and focus on what really counts, the flow and follow through. Using these tools in the winter really helps my game in the nicer weather because I keep the flow simple.

Going into my 19th season of disc golf and also having the maternal instincts, I am always prepared for any weather conditions. Here are some of the things I have learned over the years in being able to enjoy throwing in all kinds of weather.

Clothing

When playing winter disc golf be sure to layer up in loose layers. I usually have one layer close to the skin, such as Nike or Under Armor tights. These tights were made to keep the body heat in.  I will then layer up with at least one loose fitting long sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt over that. Keep the loose layers on actually helps keep that body heat in. If it is extreme cold, I will add a thin wind breaker or rain jacket over top which will block the wind from going through the other layers and makes you extra toasty. It is always better to wear more than you think you need so if you do get warm you can take a layer off. It is much harder to add layers later than take one off.

Foot Gear

I have multiple pairs of wool socks and I love them! I wear those with my waterproof socks over top of the wool socks with my waterproof boots. Waterproof foot gear is the best way to go when playing winter disc golf. There is nothing worse than have wet and cold feet. Even if there is no snow or water on the ground, the waterproof socks act like the wind breaker, they help hold the heat in. Avoid standing around on cement as this will make your feet colder when you are waiting to play winter disc golf. As a TD, if I have to run a tournament in cold weather, I will bring a small piece of carpet or rug to stand on in the shelter where tournament central is.

Hands

Mittens, not gloves! I will only use mittens in winter with hand warmers inside. Gloves will always leave my fingers cold, even if I have hand warmers in them. Using mittens will keep all the heat in the same space. They are also easier to put on and take off your throwing hand. And speaking of hand warmers, I read a tip online a couple winters ago on how to keep them going for longer to save on buying so many.  When you are done with your round, place your hand warmers in a zip lock baggie and press out all the air so it is airtight. This will make them go dormant. I’ve left mine in the baggie for a week at a time and used them again the following week. They are just as hot as when you put them in there! Amazing!

Towels

Glittery Towels Dry Discs Better

Place your extra towels in a large zip lock baggie. This will keep the extras dry if it is snowing or raining. I only have 1-2 out at a time to make them last as long as possible through the round.

 

Rain Gear

Rain gear is not only for the rain! As I mentioned above, a rain jacket can help keep the heat in! Rain gear is not as thick as a winter coat or snow pants. I have a rain jacket and pants that I wear in the winter to stay dry from the snow and or rain.

My last tip is to use a canteen/metal style water bottle and put warm water in there. If you have a nice bottle, your drink won’t freeze up on you while you are out in the cold. Stay hydrated in the cold months too as this is just as important as staying hydrated in the summer!

 

Hope you all enjoy your winter discing!

–Erin Oakley

PDGA #17643

October 2018 Lady of the Month: Paige Bjerkaas

Paige Bjerkaas #33833 is a pro disc golfer on the Dynamic Discs team. Her disc golf career started in 2007 competing as a junior disc golfer. Paige is the 2018 Female Pro Disc Golf World Champion, winning in a 49 player division of professional women disc golfers. The 2018 Pro World’s competition took place at Smuggler’s Notch in Jeffersonville, VT,  Paige earned her first world championship title as a professional at this competition. In 2010 Paige earned the title of Female Junior II World Champion at the Amateur Worlds in Marion, OH. She is also a student at Emporia State University in Emporia, KS, and works at the  Dynamic Discs retail store in the off season. Her parents have had a huge impact on her disc golf journey! 

Who introduced you to disc golf? At what age did you begin playing?

My parents introduced me to the sport. They found out about disc golf the year I was born. My parents put a disc in my hand as early as 6-7 but I didn’t play a full 18 until I was 10. I competed in my first tournament also when I was 10.

What disc would you most recommend to a new female player?

I would recommend a Diamond for a new female player.

If Dynamic Discs said you could only play with 3 discs from now until eternity, which 3 would you choose?

The three discs I would use forever would be the Opto Ballista Pro, the Lucid EMAC Truth and the Classic Judge.

Dogs or Cats or Both or Neither?

I love kitties!!!

Often players get nervous before a tournament starts, and sometime it holds them back from playing. Do you get nervous before an event starts? Any tips on shaking the nerves?

I definitely still get nervous at the beginning of the tournament. My tip for that is getting a good warm up in. If your body has been throwing the shots and putting already, it’ll be easier for you to execute with nerves on that first hole.

What event do you look forward to the most each year?

The Glass Blown Open is the event I look forward to the most every year.

On a PDGA Radio podcast episode from earlier in the year, you mentioned you were a fan of the Beastie Boys! Well, the Beastie Boys are one of my favorite bands too,  that put a smile on my face when I heard that:) 2 part question: 1.) What is your favorite Beastie Boys album? 2.) What song off that album is your favorite?

I love the Beastie Boys!!! Licensed to Ill is my favorite album and my favorite song on that album is No Sleep Til Brooklyn.

If you could have a spirit animal, which animal would you choose?

My spirit animal is a penguin because I am very clumsy.

If you could have an official beverage or snack of disc golf what would it be?

My official snack of disc golf would be Gold Fish!

Congratulations on winning your first Pro Worlds title! The whole disc golf community is excited for you!  A lot of young ladies look up to you, and will be looking up to you as you continue your disc golf career. What is the best advice you can give to a new female disc golf player?

Thank you!! The best advice I can give to not only a new female player, but any new player, is learn to throw a putter! Start with putters. It teaches you smooth form. And when you mess up on a putter shot, it shows you what you did wrong. You can easily see the mistake you made.

Bonus question: How can your fans support you and your tour?

I can be supported through the Dynamic Discs website! Just type my name Paige Bjerkaas in the search bar and my Discs should come up! I have signature Fuzion Judges and a custom DyeMax design that can be put on almost any disc!

 

 

 

August 2018 Lady of the Month: Alexis Mandujano

Alexis Mandujano is a 3 time Amateur World Champion in disc golf, wining 2 junior division titles in 2016 and 2017. Alexis is the current 2018 Advanced Women Amateur World Champion. Her sister Valerie is also a 3 time world champion,  family and disc golf is strong with this young upcoming disc golf lady. Read more about Alexis and her dedication to the sport of disc golf:

Who introduced you to disc golf and how long have you been playing? 

My dad introduced me to disc golf. 

It was something to try out as a family, then we got hooked. I have been playing for 6 years and 5 years competitively.

 

Your sister Valerie plays disc golf too, and is also a multiple time world champion. Have you always both shared the same interest in disc golf? 

We have the same interest, we have achieved along list of Junior and Amateur titles. Now we have along list of Pro titles yet to achieve.

What are your favorite courses in Texas?

My Favorite course in Texas are:

Universal City

Live Oak

and Circle C.

What do you putt with?

I putt with is Discmania P-line P1 .I love the feel in my hands it has a clean release and feels gummy.

What event of the year do you look forward to the most?

So far it’s been Glass Blown Open, Worlds and Ledgestone Insurance Open. I do look forward to more big events.

Does having your sister Valerie who is so close to you, and close to you in competition help to motivate you?

Yes it does. Valerie being one of my biggest competitors pushes me even harder. You never get to see your competitors train. Seeing my sister train pushes me harder.

Valerie and Alexis at 2016 PDGA Amateur Worlds in Madison, WI

 

What disc golf destination is on your list that you haven’t been to yet?

They’re are a few I’m looking forward to: Las Vegas Challenge, Discraft Memorial, Vibram (now MVP Open at Maple Hill) and Masters Cup.

Fill in the blank: Disc Golf is:______

Disc golf is my life. I can’t see myself doing anything else. I hope to continue on this path that God has lead me too.

 

If you could have an official snack of disc golf what would it be?

I like to carry apple’s, granola bars and carrots, it helps me keep going in my rounds.

Youth and kids disc golf is growing, and is one of the most important groups in disc golf for growing the sport. You have been playing since you were a young lady, and have multiple world titles, including 2018 Advanced Women World Champion that show your dedication to the sport. Do you have any advice for young ladies who are just starting to play, or who have been playing for a while?

Whether you’re doing it for fun or competition, enjoy the sport and have fun. Don’t let anybody set a bar for you. Keep challenging yourself.