May 2020 Lady of the Month: Tina Oakley

I met Tina Oakley on the side of a hill during a torrential downpour in Madison, WI at the Elver Disc Golf Course. The date was August 15, 2015, which also was the date that the Ladies First Disc Golf website opened for the first time. We were excited to meet each other since we were both small business owners and originally from Wisconsin. Tina was at the beginning of her life on tour in 2015 and has since expanded her disc golf adventures on the road with her husband Eric. She is the owner of Whale Sacs which are handmade whale-shaped sacs to keep your hands dry. Tina is a sponsored member of the following teams Dynamic Discs and Birdie Fuel Coffee. 

What was your disc golf turning point?

I was living in Portland, OR only for a short time when the 2014 Disc Golf World Championships came through. I was watching the FPO women play disc golf on my local courses while I was at work (at a bank, on my phone on Youtube) and desperately wanted to be doing the same thing- traveling and playing disc golf every day.  After some financial planning (and working extra hard) I figured out how to pay off my debt, buy an RV, and hit the road as an amateur disc golfer. This all happened because of Catrina Allen, Paige Pierce, Ragna Bygde & Ohn Scoggins, all of whom I’ve now played with or call a friend. Looking back, 2014 Tina was soooo excited to be able to watch those women play amazing golf, I don’t know if my life path would have been the same without Portland Worlds.

 

What is the best thing about being on tour as a professional disc golfer in your RV?Tina and Eric Oakley

I’d probably have to say the adventures and natural beauties that are experienced because of traveling and that generally also includes adventures with my friends. I LOVE disc golf of course and being able to play in every state or other countries is amazing, but my favorite thing about being at those new courses is usually the scenery, the adventure leading up to those courses, and the beauty in between tournaments.

 

What is the worst thing about being on a tour as a professional disc golfer in your RV? 

 The worst thing is probably the lack of consistency. Routines are extremely hard to come by on tour. The tournament days are all different, where we stay every weekend is different so some things are available one week and not the next (laundry, showers, gyms, friends) so it’s hard to make a schedule. Plus part of the perk of our lives is we don’t HAVE a set schedule so I’m reluctant to make TOO much structure because then I’ll miss out on the fun spontaneous things too like a hike or waterfall trip or breakfast invite, etc. because of a made-up schedule. Maybe that sounds silly but some months just remembering to wash my face before bed (or being able to) is impossible.

Do you have any hobbies outside of disc golf?

So many, how much time do you have?  My grandparents and dad are extremely creative, do it yourself type people and I am no exception. I LOVE working with my hands and don’t really enjoy NOT doing anything. Even when I’m at the beach, I’m still picking shells and making castles, not just laying in the sand. I garden (now that we own a house) which is something Jenny and I get to talk about! I have been making epoxy minis and rings, I like board games, movies, sewing, creating furniture now that we have a house or remodeling and some Pinterest projects for decorating. A lot of you probably know I make videos for my YouTube and for Dynamic Discs as well. You name it, I either do it or want to do it.

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

Erika Stinchcomb. She’s my favorite disc golf partner!

 You have traveled to many courses while on tour. What is a course you haven’t played yet that you would like to? 

Flip City in Michigan. It’s one I’d heard about back when I was still tracking all my courses played on dgcoursereview and still haven’t gotten to!

You’re a Wisconsin girl too! What is one thing you miss about Wisconsin? 

Other than spotted cow or my family?! Maybe the familiarity of a place that I spent so much time in? I miss knowing where roads lead without a GPS and knowing where certain stores, friends and favorite parks are. I do NOT miss the winters, the summer bugs seem to be about the same here in Florida, but I guess I could say I miss the first snowfall, that is a magical time…but only the first one. ;p

Were other animals considered when you started Whale Sacs? Or were Whales the number 1 choice from the get-go? 

Whales 100%. I did make one that accidentally looked like a rabbit but I wasn’t trying. 

 

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

Can I be boring and say water? I am a different person when I remember to stay hydrated. I play better, focus better, and more important my body feels better and performs better!

You jumped right into tour life shortly after playing disc golf competitively. Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of going on tour full or part-time? 

Just DO it. What I learned was there will always be excuses not to do something and always reasons not to but it’s the people that took a risk despite not being 100% comfortable. They are the ones living their dreams and doing big things. If touring is your dream, DO IT, even if that means just for a month as a test run or maybe even plan a year, whatever looks like, you can always go back to normal life if it doesn’t work out.

Follow and Support  Tina:

Whale Sacs Facebook

WhalePants Facebook

Instagram

WhalePants YouTube

www.whalesacs.com

Are you interested in being featured as Lady of the Month?

We would love to help tell your disc golf story! Whether you an experienced disc golfer with stories to tell or a new disc golfer bursting with excitement we would love to feature you! Fill out  Lady of the Month application here

February 2020 Lady of the Month: Alexsandra Chavez

When did you start playing disc golf?

I began playing disc golf 6 years ago. My partner took me on a hike through the Redwood National Forest in northern California. He brought along a bag of discs and threw them through the trees towards metal baskets. It took a couple of months before I threw my first disc. At first, I just tagged along because most of the courses were often on scenic hiking trails with amazing views! Once I began playing it was difficult to tag along without also playing. Hiking without throwing discs became super boring! I’ve been hooked ever since. Shoutout to my partner, Diego Alvarado, for introducing me to this awesome sport! 

Do you coordinate any women’s disc golf happenings? Leagues, tournaments or other things to promote women’s disc golf?

In 2018 I began Empowered Disc Golf, a sports media company focused on developing content to empower women to participate in disc golf. Participation does not always have to be competing. It can be utilizing your skills of photography, graphic design, event planning, crafting or the number of other skills I didn’t mention! 

Since then Empowered Disc golf has evolved into an amazing community of women empowering women, with the first Crew of Catalysts including; Kate Berger, Madison Tomaino, Nikki Nash, Caley Allen, and Alyssa Martinez.

For the 2020 season, we are focused on growing our sport by empowering women to host their first disc golf event. Whether it is a disc golf clinic, putting league, sanctioned or unsanctioned tournament. Resources to come!

I will also be hosting Throw Like A Girl – 2020 Women’s Global Event Presented by Empowered Disc Golf on the Big Island of Hawaii on May 9th! Information can be found on Discgolfscene.com or our website Empowereddiscgolf.com. We have a number of side activities planned for those traveling to the state for the first time! The Discation begins with an adventure through the Volcano National Park, then a Doubles tournament (So your partner agrees to come along!), Followed by Throw Like a Girl, Celebrated with a Snorkle BBQ & Dolphin Cruise, and finished off by with a relaxing evening on a beach in Hawaii. 

More information on optional side events to come! Any questions contact us at EmpoweredDiscGolf@gmail.com!

Backhand, Forehand or both?

Righty Backhand dominant, Lefty Backhand backup 

What is your biggest personal accomplishment in disc golf?

This is a tough question to answer! I have had so many amazing opportunities, it’s hard to choose! I have been able to collaborate with a number of inspiring women, produced footage of the 2018 Beaver State Fling, have worked to grow Empowered Disc Golf into a strong community, and assisted in building the new 6 hole Kona Disc Golf Course. I feel my biggest personal accomplishment in disc golf is yet to come. 

If you could only play with 3 discs for the rest of your disc golf life which 3 would you choose?

  1. Legacy Pinnacle Rival
  2. Latitude 64 Opto Ruby
  3. Westside Burst Harp

What are your top 3 courses?

Redwood Curtain DGC – Arcata, CA

Waterloo DGC – Waterloo, OR

Gargoyles Garden – Mountain View, HI

What is the best part of playing disc golf in Hawaii?

Summer disc golf year-round!  

 

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

Water.

Do you have any specific goals for your 2020 Throw Like a Girl WGE in Hawaii?

For the women who attend the tournament to have fun and unforgettable memories! It will be the first Women’s Global Event I host. And also the first women’s only tournament so overall my goals are to ensure we all have a good time regardless of how many of us attend!

How can people learn more about Empowered Disc Golf?

Follow us on social media @EmpoweredDiscGolf! Find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube! Keep an eye on our website www.EmpoweredDiscGolf.com! Also, you can contact us at EmpoweredDiscGolf@gmail.com for collaboration opportunities or with any questions! 

January 2020 Lady of the Month Tracey Lopez

When did you first start playing disc golf? How did you get interested in the sport?

I first played disc golf back in Colorado in the mid-90’s when a friend took several of us out and just let us borrow his discs. I played in Keen sandals with a disc in one hand and a Fat Tire in the other. It was just a fun day out in the sun.

I didn’t get my own disc and start playing regularly until 2000 when the Park & Rec Dept I worked for put in an 11-hole course. I thought since I was a Rec/Wellness Coordinator I should get to know the sport so I could be a resource to the community about the new amenity.

Being a former Jr High/HS athlete, I was instantly addicted to figuring out the technique and the challenge of getting that silly frisbee in the basket. That addiction and love of the sport led to running junior leagues, youth & adult clinics, course work & design, and planning & coordination of the 2009 USWDGC in the Quad Cities. During that time I played competitively and won USWDGC in the Intermediate division and tied for 2nd in Advanced another year, turned pro, loved disc golf, hated disc golf, loved it again, and the best part is I met some amazing women who are now life long friends. I heart disc golf!

If you could only play with 3 discs for the rest of your disc golf career, which 3 would they be?

Jade, Buzz, and Envy. I can shape each of those discs to do what I want, and have a lot of trust in those.

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

My first choice would be my Bestie and doubles partner of 18 years, Kathy Betcher (Team Red Hot, Team Hot Stuff forever!).

My 2nd choice would be my “adopted daughter”, Vanessa Van Dyken because she is a badass disc golfer and an amazing human being.

What is the best way to get more women playing disc golf?

Oh my gosh, if I had the perfect answer we would be way more than 8% of the sport. Mind you, 20 years ago we were 7% of the sport.  Even though we have a lot more women playing in general, overall we are still just a small part.

 

I think over the past decade we have really seen an increase in women due to so many women’s leagues, women’s only tournaments, mixed doubles events, and the Women’s Global. In all honesty, I think the 2020’s might need to be the decade of “retainage”. Or what we can do to KEEP all these women discers in the sport. Maybe we need to ask that question now and start moving in that direction. This will be my 20th year in the sport, and there are so many people I know who are not playing anymore. Let’s find out how to keep them.

You have traveled throughout the US to play disc golf. What courses are you most eager to go back and play?

My favorite course to play and return to every other year is the temp course at Purple Park in Superior, Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Women’s Championships. It is a stunning park and the layout is challenging yet enjoyable with birdie opportunities.

What is your best tip for someone playing in their first tournament?

You’re going to be nervous; try to relax, don’t set too many expectations, have fun, and ask a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have questions on rules/procedures. We were all a newbie at one point, and 99% of players will be kind and helpful.

Do you attend any women-only disc golf events? If so, what are your favorite women’s only events to attend?

I love to play women’s only events! They are like music festival environments, and the course layouts are friendly & fun. My favs are the Wisco Disco in Wisconsin, Diva Spring Feeva in Kansas City, and the Rocky Mtn Women’s Championships in Colorado.

Do you have any dream or destination courses/countries you would like to play disc golf in the future?

I would love to play in Finland, especially The Beast. I am hoping to hit the WGE in Hawaii or the USWDGC in California this year.  So one of those will be crossed off the list.

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

It would have to be a beer from Bevel Craft Brewing, like Iron Leaf DIPA (thank you Gregg Barsby for sharing) or their First Run IPA.

You have been playing disc golf for 20 years! Your cool, calm and kind demeanor on and off the course makes you a great card mate and competitor.  What are your keys to longevity in being active in participating in disc golf? Any tips for people who are looking for lost motivation to continue playing and/or competing?

I believe everyone joins and plays the sport for different reasons. And I can’t tell you how many times I threatened to quit the sport. But here is what I remember: I play because I crave the competitive juices from my youth; I play to be outdoors in nature all day; I play for the social aspect with so many amazing friends; I play because ultimately we are all a part of the heart of disc golf–the LOVE. When you are feeling like you want to quit, you have had enough of the sport, just go back and remember what you love about disc golf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2019 Lady of the Month: Erikah Weir 

Erika Weir PDGA #68633 is a newly turned professional disc golfer. In July of 2019, Erikah competed and won Amateur Worlds in the Advanced Women division. Erikah lives in Denver, CO and is a member of the Innova Disc Golf Ambassador Team. She joined the PDGA in 2014 and has worked her way up through the amateur rankings. 2020 will be Erikah’s first year competing in the professional division in all events.

When were you introduced to disc golf? Who introduced you to disc golf?

I was an Ultimate Frisbee player for 7 years before finding disc golf. Unfortunately, my body was breaking down after running all of the miles from Ultimate and playing lacrosse in college. But, my good friend Jen Underwood was kind enough to introduce me to disc golf in 2013 as a way to keep throwing and enjoy a beer or two on the course. Soon, it became an addiction for me and Jen has never forgiven herself 🙂

For drives do you primarily throw backhand, forehand or a combination of both?

 

I throw a combination of both. For any tunnels or tight fairways, I generally throw forehand. For power shots that have little danger (OB or bunkers), I generally throw backhand.

What is your philosophy on putting?

My putting has always been a work in progress. Currently, I do my best to get my drives and upshots to land as close to the basket as possible so putting tends to be less stressful. But, for the offseason, I hope to increase my “comfort range” inside the circle. From the few Professional tournaments I have played this year, I think that’s the biggest difference I have seen from moving up from the Amateur ranks. We have a few putting leagues in Colorado that I hope to attend and I will work with Perfect Putt 360 on my own to track my progress.

Photo credit: PDGA Flickr

Do you have any relation to Bob (Weir)?

Depends on which Bob Weir you are referring to 🙂 I have an Uncle Bob Weir but he is not the guitarist from the Grateful Dead.

Do you attend a women’s disc golf league? If so, what is your favorite part about participating in a women’s disc golf league?

In Boulder, we have a weekly women’s tag match run by the fabulous Ali Dorato. She has had great success with getting about 5-10 women each week for a round of 18; during the high season, even more! My favorite part is getting to know the women that keep coming back and watching various parts of their game improve. Whether it’s using a new disc, adding distance to drives or sinking a long putt, the energy is fantastic!

If you could only play disc golf with 3 discs, which 3 discs would you choose?

Driver: older Pro Thunderbird, Mid: Star Aviar X3 (my FAVORITE disc!) and Putter: XT Whale.

You traveled a bit in 2019 for various disc golf events. What state that you traveled to in 2019 did you enjoy the most? Any favorite courses you can’t wait to get back to?

So far, in 2019, we have been to Nevada, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Arizona. I am originally from Pennsylvania, so it was great to get back to my home state and see some East Coast courses. I think that Iron Hill DGC in Delaware was the hardest course I played all year and I would like to get another crack at it in 2020!

Are there any disc golf courses you haven’t played yet that you dream of playing?

Absolutely! The majority of my disc golf career has been based in Colorado so there are MANY courses out there I want to play! Like anyone, Smuggler’s Notch, Maple Hill and Milo McIver are all on my list. I just got to play Fountain Hills in Phoenix, AZ and standing on the first MPO teepad was so much more intimidating that I had expected it to be!

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

I love the Tropical Punch flavor of Body Armor. I drink a TON of it while I am playing!

You are the 2019 Amateur World Champion in the FA1 division, congratulations!

The competition was fierce and talented women disc golfers are a growing force, you are part of that force. Did you have a goal before the competition started? Do you have any advice for women who aspire to be world champion disc golfers on how to achieve their goals?

Thank you so much! Before the competition, my goal was to shoot above my rating and end my Amateur career on the highest note possible. I really wanted to make it to the Final 9 and luckily, I was able to make that happen.

Photo Credit: PDGA Flickr

 

As far as advice: less discs = less risks! Get to know discs that will work well for your game and keep the selection small. Gaining confidence in your bag will equate to confidence on the tee pad and in the putting circle. Hard work really does work! In addition, I encourage women disc golfers to support one another and celebrate the small victories! Operating from a place of abundance instead of scarcity has been a rule of thumb for me in 2019. At Worlds, it was so inspiring to play with very talented women during each round. We were all vying for one coveted title but the camaraderie on our cards was very positive and encouraging! I was blown away by the talent and can’t wait to see where the Women’s game goes from here!

A note from Erikah

Thank you Jenny for this opportunity! I really love Ladies First Disc Golf and love wearing my apparel out on the course. Definitely want to thank my sponsors Innova Champion Discs and Gatekeeper Media! Innova has provided amazing plastic and wonderful support and Gatekeeper produced my “In the Bag” video this summer. I really look forward to continuing our partnerships in the 2020 season! A big thank you to my Mile High Disc Golf family, in Denver and Boulder, for all of their support as well. Wherever I am playing, I can truly feel the Colorado Love. And, last but certainly not least: one final thank you to Michael Oswald-my caddy for DG and life! You are the best!

 

5 Reasons Women with PCOS Should Play Disc Golf

PCOS Awareness

September is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness (PCOS) awareness month. According to the PCOS Awareness Association PCOS affects over 10 million women in the world. I am one of the 10 million women affected by PCOS. Disc golf and the symptoms of PCOS became present in my life around the same time. They are both important to me, which is why I think other women with PCOS can benefit from playing disc golf.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is an endocrine disorder that typically causes disturbances in a women’s menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may go months without having their period. When it finally returns it usually  lasts eight or more weeks. PCOS is different for every woman; some affected may have a regular cycle, but may not ovulate. For couples trying to make a family, the lack of ovulation can make this difficult. Even if ovulation does occur if cycles are not regular conceiving can be difficult.

Weight gain is common in women with PCOS. The old chicken or egg question may arise when dealing with PCOS and weight gain. Did I have PCOS because I gained weight in my 20’s or after having my first baby? Alternatively, did I always have PCOS even at a healthy weight, but now PCOS symptoms are showing more and making weight loss a challenge? Both are common scenarios of women with PCOS experience.

The weight gain that occurs often increases the risk of diabetes in women with PCOS. Insulin resistance is prevalent in women with PCOS and can, therefore, lead to added weight, difficulties losing weight, and diabetes.

Other symptoms that relate to appearances such as increased acne and hirsutism are common in women with PCOS. Hirsutism is when hair appears in places it typically doesn’t on a woman such as the face, stomach, and lower back. The opposite of excess hair growth can also be a problem, which would be losing hair from your head and male pattern baldness.

In addition to physical changes mentioned above, women with PCOS are more prone to depression, anxiety, mood swings, and headaches. Often these invisible symptoms can be even worse than the physical symptoms as they are easy to mask and bottle inside.

All of the factors listed above: inability to get pregnant, weight gain, acne, facial hair, hair loss, and increased headaches can undoubtedly contribute to depression and anxiety. Women with PCOS should not let PCOS and it’s symptoms control or get them down.

If you are feeling down, want to get in better shape, and meet new friends continue reading to see why you should play disc golf.

5 Reasons Women with PCOS Should Play Disc Golf

1.) Get Active Lose Weight

Disc golf is a low impact activity for people of any age. If you haven’t been too participating in any physical activity for a while disc golf is a walk in the park with a purpose. If you enjoy low impact exercise of walking but also like to play games, disc golf is the perfect activity. Disc golf could be the jump start to increased physical activity. Increased physical activity can lead to weight loss which can help control  your PCOS symptoms.

2.) Nature Can Help With Depression

I don’t know about you, but whenever green spaces surround me I feel better. Disc golf is played in public parks and on private properties. Disc golf courses are always in a green space, some wide open and some filled with trees, moss, and ferns. If you are feeling depressed, or anxious getting out in nature often helps to lift your spirits.

3.) Meet Friends

Let’s face it as an adult meeting new friends can be a challenge. Once your are graduate from school, the only people we may interact with are family and co-workers. Depending on where you work, you may not have many co-workers. Or you may prefer to keep your work life separate from your private life. Disc golf women come from all walks of life and are some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. There are women’s disc golf leagues and Facebook groups in nearly every state. Finding a group of ladies to learn disc golf from is an excellent start to your new hobby, and new support system of friends!

4.) Take Your Mind Off PCOS

Picking up a new hobby that you can do alone or with friends is a great way to remind yourself that PCOS does not define who you are. Don’t let your mind spiral into focusing solely on your PCOS symptoms and how they affect your life.

5.) Challenge Yourself

I firmly believe getting out in nature can help with the depression-related symptoms of PCOS. Challenging yourself can also help with this. If you feel like you aren’t “athletic” and are nervous about play disc golf forget that thought. Disc golf is so much more than throwing a disc at a basket. Yes, good form will help, but you can always work to improve your skills and form. When you learn the basics of disc golf, you have challenged yourself to learn something new, and that always feels good. Once you have learned the basics of throwing a disc and start to play more, you will use mental strength to attack the course! Challenging yourself, you against the course and improving is a great way to boost your self-esteem and feel in control.

Take Control of PCOS and Discover a New You

PCOS often can seem like it runs our lives. It is a silent syndrome that many people may not realize you have, which can make it even more challenging. Adding a fun hobby like disc golf to your life can help remind you that PCOS is only one part of who you are and does not define you as a person.

If you are a woman with PCOS and have never played disc golf, please reach out to me. I am happy to provide resources on how to play disc golf, equipment needed, and I can even help you find some new disc golf friends.

If you are a woman who already plays disc golf and doesn’t have PCOS I thank you for taking the time to read this article. Hopefully, you learned something new, and perhaps you know someone who has PCOS that this article will help!

 

Performance Anxiety in Disc Golf: R-E-L-A-X

Working through performance anxiety. It all started in the 4th grade at the spelling bee. It was round 1, they gave me an easy word I was capable of spelling. The word was “Growl”.

I step up to the microphone to dominate this easy word and move onto the next round.  But I don’t. My nerves and performance anxiety get the best of me. This is what comes out “G, O…” and a loud sigh. I knew as soon as I said the letter “o” that I had messed up. Also, that my spelling bee dreams were over.

What happened? Why did I mess up such as easy word?  I knew I could spell growl. It kept playing over and over in my head as I sat in the audience to watch the remainder of the spelling bee. This moment was the beginning of me acknowledging my performance anxiety. I still struggle with anxiety related to competition as an adult and know many competitors do as well.
howl growl

It seems that for the last year when I compete in disc golf tournaments I am consistently performing under my skill level. I know I still have a lot to learn, as this sport always provides learning opportunities.  Increased practice and playing the courses more before the tournament would help. However, my blunders on the course seem to be very much related to my mental game. It all seems to boil down to performance anxiety.

The thing is I don’t get angry. I try to brush off the bad shots. Take each shot as it is. For some reason my body doesn’t want to relax during a tournament.

I have found when I play in my Thursday night Disc On! Ladies League (DOLLs) that I generally more often than not, play very well. My drives set me up for at least 1-2 birdies per round. It is not uncommon for me to make a couple 30’+ putts. I rarely miss a 10′ or less putt. However, these moves are not the case during a tournament. I find I easily get into a routine of missing many 10′ or less putts during these rounds, to make my 3’s turn to 4’s and my 4′ turn to 5’s. The difference being at DOLLs leagues, there is a lot of giggling. We keep score we aren’t playing to compete against each other–it is more for the social and fun aspects of it. I suppose I am not overthinking these league rounds and performance anxiety does not become a factor.

As I have been noticing my inconsistent tournament performance vs. my casual rounds, I have been trying to pin point how I can translate this better play into tournament performance. In addition to more practice and familiarity with the courses. The main thing I need to do is what Aaron Rodgers, the best quarterback in the NFL said when fans were worried about the Greenbay Packers 2014 season, he had 5 letters “R-E-L-A-X!” The fans relaxed and the team went on to have a 12 and 4 season and win the NFC North division.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-gameday/0ap3000000401519/Rodgers-R-E-L-A-X-remix

I know when I make a great putt or throw a good drive my body mainly my upper shoulders and neck are relaxed. I just need to work on relaxing and staying focused. All while not taking the game too seriously and just remember that my body knows what to do.

What do you do to relax on the course? How have you worked through mental struggles that turn into inconsistencies?

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.