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?
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.
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