What age did you start playing disc golf and how old are you currently?
I started in 2012 and I am 15
You are a very polite young lady, where do you get your good manners from?
My Mom and Dad taught me to be respectful to anybody, no matter who it is.
Hailey’s father Hart who introduced her to disc golf
If all the kittens of the world lives were on the line and you could save them by writing an essay or solving a math equation which would you rather have to do to save the kittens?
I would do both, just as long as the kittens will be safe.
You are a pretty magical and skilled disc golfer, are you a wizard?
Lol, I wish. I just practice really hard, I will never stop.
If you could have an official beverage of disc golf what would it be?
My official beverage would be a drink like Powerade, just not sugary.
Can you throw a 360 forehand and backhand?
Yes, I can. People think that a 360 forehand is impossible, but it’s not and I can do it.
If you could choose any disc golfer in the whole world to be your partner in a doubles tournament who would you choose?
I wouldn’t be able to choose between Jeremy Koling and Cale Leiviska. I have just loved to see these guys play in videos and in person.
Jeremy Koling photo via Prodigy Discs
Cale Levieska Photo via Wisconsin Disc Sports Association
What is your favorite course in Wisconsin?
My favorite course would be Rollin’ Ridge.
Hailey and her Dad Hart with the Mixed Division at Rollin’ Ridge Doubles Tournament March 2016
Hailey at the 2016 Silver Cup at Rollin’ Ridge Photo via Wisconsin Disc Sports Association
You are currently the highest rated amateur female in the state of Wisconsin, that is a great accomplishment for someone in their first year of playing competitively, congratulations on your hard work! At this time do you plan on attending Am Worlds in Iowa in 2017?
I want to play worlds, if possible, I will know if it is possible as we get closer to the event.
Any advice for other young ladies your age on how to get them playing disc golf or continuing to play disc golf?
Well, I notice there are not many youth players out there, but there are more and more coming along. My advice would be: you are playing disc golf just have fun. If you want to get serious then you need to practice, and practice, you can’t just expect to be good and not practice. Also, don’t give up right away just because someone is better than you doesn’t mean you have to give up. You must strive to get better so you can beat them later, just don’t give up.
Hailey cheering for the youngest Junior player at the Foxy Ladies Women’s Global Event in 2016
BONUS: Check out Hailey’s recent in the bag video, this girl knows her discs!
The journey to Ladies First Disc Golf all started with my Kool aid stand as a kid along with the love of games and the outdoors. From a young age, it was important to me to help others and if people were thirsty, I was ready to help with a refreshing beverage. I was there to help them quench their thirst. As a kid I also enjoyed the fun and competition of bowling, card games, softball, soccer and playing neighborhood games with the other kids on my block. All these activities shaped my love for disc golf, the outdoors, business and ultimately helping others.
Why do small businesses matter to me? Since I have been in the workforce I have worked for small businesses. I spent the first 8 years of my adult career working at a garden center, which was owned by a father and his sons. I appreciated the freedom and trust in me from this company to make decisions at such a young age. My position as assistant manager provided knowledge on sales, merchandising and being a helpful representative to the local gardeners.
Jenny as the assistant manager of the Garden Mart in 2004
I started playing disc golf tournaments in 2009 and the garden center work schedule made it difficult for me to play weekend events. I sought out a job that would allow for a better work schedule and still allow me to work with plants. In 2010 I found my dream job (and still have it) at Holland Beauty where I sell flower bulbs & plants through our two websites Holland Bulb Farms and Tulip World. Holland Beauty is a small business started 35 years ago by a Dutch man named Art, it is still owned and operated by him and his son in law (who is my boss). Holland Beauty is a small company where everyone helps out, ideas run freely and we are able to hear our customer’s needs. From this job I have learned about e-commerce, social media, customer service, and providing products and resources for people who have a hobby that is also a lifestyle.
Why women’s disc golf matters to me? I first started playing disc golf in 2008 it was me, my boyfriend (now husband) and a group of great guys who would play together. We all played in our first disc golf tournament in 2009. At this tournament there was only other woman in my division. Other events I played that year had anywhere from 3-4 women to compete with; so more than the first tournament but nowhere near the amount of men who were competing. In 2010 there were more women playing, but still a smaller amount than the male divisions. I realized that in order to get more women playing, the ladies in the area needed to be connected somehow. I created a Facebook group called the Upper Midwest Women’s Disc Golf Group. I wanted a place where women could post events they are playing in an effort to get more women at that event, and this group certainly helped with that. Creating this Facebook group was only the beginning for me.
In 2012 I worked with some other ladies in the Milwaukee area to form a group called Brew City Ladies Disc Golf. It was intended to be a local ladies league in Milwaukee, WI. At that same time the Brew City Ladies Disc Golf was forming a group of ladies in Appleton, WI had formed the Disc On! Ladies League (DOLLs). Our groups met up for a travel league in fall of 2012 and decided to merge our groups into one. Other women through out the state also wanted to host ladies leagues, and the DOLLS became a state wide league.
Disc On! Ladies League End of Season Party 2013
One of our goals was to have a women’s only tournament in Wisconsin, and we accomplished that goal with the Wisco Disco in August of 2014. The Wisco Disco is now successful and fun annual event in Wisconsin. Disc On! Ladies League currently has leagues in Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois.
Disc On! Ladies Leagues bring great joy to the women who play in them. The ladies who participate in these leagues have a group of ladies to play casual, league and tournament rounds with. Meeting and playing with women of all different skill levels combined with my love for making people happy, is how and why Ladies First Disc Golf was formed.
In 2015 things were in a transition period at my day job selling flower bulbs and the company was scaling back to its roots and became even smaller than the team of 20 we had. During this transition period it certainly put some things into perspective for me. I have always enjoyed coming up with new business or products ideas. I started thinking about women’s disc golf and how confusing it can be to purchase discs when you are first starting out. Also, how frustrating it was for me when to trying to purchase light weight or female friendly discs either in person or online. There are certainly companies out there that carry women friendly discs, but no one was specializing in carrying an assortment of discs that were best for female players.
Apparel is an important part of Ladies First Disc Golf. Over the several years of playing tournaments I had accumulated a lot of disc golf t-shirts that were men’s sizes and just didn’t fit the right way. Or women’s shirts that were too small or not figure flattering and ended up sitting in a drawer not being worn.
I had determined that there needed to be a company that had products focused only on the women of disc golf, discs we throw, and apparel that we wear. Apparel that is not only comfortable but stylish as well.
Disc golfers like to accessorize and show their disc golf pride in any way they can. On social media I was connected with women who had talents and items they were creating like disc golf necklaces, knit goods and other accessories. Including and working with other small business owners to provide a place they can sell their hand made accessories is important for growth on all levels.
Disc golf is family to many and families support each other. Whether you are doing your part by purchasing from your favorite local disc golf shop or shopping online at your favorite disc golf website it is important to support those who are family. Disc golf is life for me, pleasing the ladies of disc golf is what I strive for every day. I look forward to serving our customers, creating beautiful items, while growing disc golf for ladies, and that is why small businesses matter to me.
We have heard that you were the first or among the first women to go on tour. When did you start touring, and what was the most difficult thing about being on tour early on?
I started touring in 1999, I decided to quit my job, sell my house, and hop in the 1973 Winnebago with Al Shack and Todd Branch. Some of the difficulties were long distances between tournaments and small women’s divisions. I did get to meet a lot of great people and see a lot of beautiful courses.
Do you primarily throw forehand or backhand?
I am right handed but I throw left handed backhand, and some right hand forehand upshots
Putting, driving or approach? Which of these is the strongest part of your disc golf game?
I think that my driving is my strongest part of my game, I think if I would spend more time practicing putting I would shave off some strokes.
What 3 courses in the world would you like to play that you haven’t had the opportunity to play yet?
I’m not sure, I have never been to Colorado, maybe something in Hawaii, and Johnson park one of my favorite local courses is being reinstalled and I think they will be using it for world’s next year.
If you could have a tee off song what would it be?
I like a lot of different music, mostly hard rock, usually something fast to get me pumped up.
(Sue didn’t have a specific song for us, here is one we would suggest as it fits her description of hard rock and fast we hope it would get her pumped up)
You are a 3 time world champion, taking 1st in Grandmasters Women in 2016, 1st in Masters women in 2012 and 1st in the Advanced Women’s’ Division at Amatuer Worlds in 1997, any advice on how to deal with the high pressure that comes along with competing and winning a major disc golf event?
Practice the courses, know what all your disc do even your backup disc, bring enough water and a snack, have confidence in yourself, practice putting a lot.
If you could have an official beer of disc golf what would it be?
What is the biggest piece of advice you have for someone who is thinking about going on tour?
Pre register for the tournament, try to get to the course a few days early to check it out, find out who the local sponsors are and check them out to thank them, have fun, stay positive, be a good role model.
I first started playing in Fall 2007 when a friend who played occasionally invited me and my boyfriend to play a course close to both our homes over the weekend. My friend aced off a tree on the 9th hole. It was crazy! I couldn’t believe it! My boyfriend and I joined a local Tuesday doubles league soon after. I wanted to play well in league, so I started practicing everyday after work.
Since you spend much of your off season in California what are your three favorite courses in California?
You primarily throw forehand, when you first started playing and touring did you receive any criticism or comments from people telling you that you needed to learn backhand? And if so, how did you deal with those comments early on in your career?
I definitely got a lot of criticism for only throwing forehand. I had tried early on to learn backhand, but it was so much less natural for me to throw. I began to simply focus on finding a way to get a sidearm to follow backhand lines, rather than pursue learning the backhand skill, which had become extremely frustrating to figure out by that point. In addition, one time after several failed backhand attempts and too much verbal beration on my part, a wise fellow sidearm player once told me to just keep throwing sidearms…to do what works for me and forget the people who think otherwise. It’s difficult to work through criticism sometimes, but if you really know YOUR game, it won’t really matter what most people say. You can focus on what you need to do, where your weaknesses really are, and at a pace at works for you, not on someone else’s timeline.
Photo credit: Bill Baker
If a grilled cheese sandwich and taco got into a fight, who would come out with the victory?
I’m pretty sure the grilled cheese would just sit on the taco and smash it without much trouble.
We have noticed you often have at least 1 ear bud in when you are competing, assuming you are using an mp3 player to listen to music as opposed to a walkman or discman. If you were to turn on said mp3 player right now, what is the first song that would play?
Happy by Pharell
Any exciting new items planned for Cali Connection coming up in the next couple of months?
We just released a new ladies hoodie for the winter months and are looking forward to fresh designs for 2017.
If you could only play with 3 discs for the rest of your professional disc golf career which 3 would they be?
Any rituals or routines you like to do to stay calm, cool, and collected on the course?
Listening to music really helps me stay calm. I like to bust out a little head bob or booty shake here and there to keep my muscles loose too. 🙂
Congratulations on your most recent title of United States Women’s Disc Golf Champion for 2016! You worked hard to get to where you are and have plenty of accomplishments leading up to your most recent win. Any words of advice for players who are just starting to compete or to the gals who may think they are not skilled enough to compete yet?
There’s no such thing as not being skilled enough to compete in disc golf. There is usually a division for any level of player, whether they are new or seasoned. Disc golf is a sport that gives newer players the opportunity to jump in and try it out for a relatively inexpensive fee. In addition, success and failure are part of life, so don’t worry about it if you didn’t do as well as you want. That’s the fun part…figuring out why and how to do better. Disc golf is a sport where you win a few and you lose A LOT!!! Lol. Try not to attach your self-worth or much of your ego to your score….the fact that you are out there doing your best and having fun in really all the matters!!
Well young lady you came and sat at the picnic table with me and a couple of my sparkle sisters at the 2016 PDGA Amateur World Championships, I was impressed with your confidence, attitude and demeanor. You explained to me that you aren’t just Hope Brown, you are the Young Hope Brown:) Can you explain to our readers why they call you the Young Hope Brown?
First of all thank you for making me lady of the month! Second of all I am the “Young Hope Brown” aka “YHB” because about 1 ½ hours away from my home town lives another Hope Brown that plays in the Open Women division and when people hear the name they think of her. So, one time during a tournament a disc golfer named “CuTT’ made up a hashtag which is registered as
Have you ever met the other (older) Hope Brown? If so, have you discussed joining forces in a doubles tournament?
I have indeed met the “other” Hope Brown and we have competed against each other many times. On August 20th of 2016 we competed as doubles team to try and qualify for the amateur division for the USDGC Doubles event that will be held in September in Rock Hill, SC.
At what age did you start playing disc golf? Do you remember the first time you threw a disc?
I didn’t really start playing disc golf seriously until I was 7 or 8 years old. However, my dad has played since before I was born and I have been on the disc golf course with him since I was 3 months old. The first time that I ever “threw” a real disc not a mini was about 3 years of age.
Do you spend your summer vacation from school playing disc golf? Do you play all year?
I do play during the summer months. However, it is not always the most pleasant when it gets supper HOT! One time I was complaining about the heat and my dad poured his water bottle over my head to cool me off. I do play all year round no matter the weather (preferably no rain unless in a tournament) even though it may get to some uncomfortable extremes.
Do you have other hobbies or sports you play outside of disc golf?
I really don’t play a lot of other sports except for dance and archery. I dance and shoot archery for my school and love every minute of it especially dance.
If you could have an official candy of disc golf what would it be?
If it was a hard type candy then it would be Jolly Ranchers, but if was a chocolate type candy if would have to Kit Kats.
What is your favorite driver, midrange and putter?
All players have their strengths, some are incredible putters, others have mastered the
art of parking their upshot under the basket, and some can just really crush their drives.
What would you say is your best strength as a disc golfer?
My biggest strength I would have to say is my driving. My max distance I’ve ever thrown if about 330’ and that was my recent milestone that I hit. My biggest weakness is a back hand roller, I’ve never landed one in front of me.
How did you feel when you won the 2016 Am World Championships in Madison, for the Junior III Girls (12 and under)? Do you plan on attending the 2017 Amateur World Championships, in Quad Cities, IA?
Honestly, I was really surprised. I was unaware that we wouldn’t have a finals and we finished at Bird Ruins and turned in the card and the course Marshall said congratulations. I was confused because I thought we were playing a finals the next day. I didn’t cry at the ceremony but when were eating I didn’t know what to do because after not winning my first worlds in 2015. I set a goal for myself to win worlds and that was my only goal leading up to worlds 2016. Once that was accomplished I remember feeling sad and I didn’t know what to do going forward. My dad simply told me “Let’s go get ready for next year, you gotta defend your title…right?”
Do you have any words of advice for young ladies (10-14 years old) who may be just starting to play disc golf?
I would definitely say keep trying and believe in yourself. I know it sounds really corny but it’s true. It’s easy to get frustrated (trust me I know) but it really helps to take a deep breath and channel all your emotions into getting better for the next time.
When was the first time you heard about disc golf?
The first time I heard about disc golf was from my daughter Gina, her new boyfriend (who is now her husband) played disc golf and she thought it was something I would like.
When did you first start playing disc golf?
I threw my very first disc at Token Creek, in Madison, WI the end of August 2009. I was living and working in Madison, WI at the time. I leased a parking spot and the guy (Jason Humphrey) who worked there started talking about this sport called disc golf. My mind goes “hey Gina mentioned this sport to me”. I fell in love with the sport from my very first not so good throw.
It’s never too late to start playing, right?
That’s right Jenny I was 54 when I threw my first disc.
You are one of the most stylish golfers we know, always looking sharp, and vibrant, what is your favorite gear to play disc golf in?
A smile 🙂
What is your most memorable disc golf vacation?
Hands down the 2011 Disc Golf Cruise, yes friends there was such an event.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start playing disc golf, or who just started and is new to the game?
Don’t get discouraged and remember to always, always have FUN!
If you could have an official candy of disc golf what would it be?
DOTS of course!
What are your top 3 favorite courses in Wisconsin?
I was working at a pizza place and all the guys went out to play and didn’t invite me so I went out the next day, bought my own discs and practiced my butt off so I would be able to beat those guys!
We did a little PDGA stalking (cause what good disc golf addict doesn’t) and looking back at your ratings history you had a pretty high rating at the beginning of your career. Did you play casually before playing tournaments or is it natural talent and understanding of how disc fly?
I only played casually for a few months before trying my first tournament. I was instantly addicted to the competition (I finished last), the new friendships and the whole inviting atmosphere that I found. I took practice to the extreme and would go out several times a day until I couldn’t throw anymore.
What are your top 3 favorite courses you have played in the United States?
Flip City, Shelby, MI – the course that taught me how to be a golfer and showed me the supportive network that disc golf embodies.
De Laveaga, Santa Cruz, CA – challenging and beautiful with a rich history.
Any Course, Any Town, USA – I find beauty in any course I’m on. I love seeing new shots and I believe that any and every course has the ability to teach a golfer new things.
“They” say little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Is it fairly accurate to say that most disc golf girls are made of beer and cheer and have nothing to fear?
Haha! I can definitely attest to the strong community of disc golf sisters. With all of our combined support and encouragement, we can be a part of fearlessly growing our divisions.
Speaking of beer, if you had to choose an official beer of disc golf what would you choose?
I’d go for one of the huge companies like Budweiser. The bigger endorsements the better for the game! I might not drink much of it though.
If someone were to travel to Michigan for a disc golf road trip, what are your 3 must play courses in the Mitten (Michigan)?
Flip City, Shelby, MI – a true disc golf experience where you can see and feel the love that is disc golf.
Mason County Parks, Beauty, Beast and Goliath, Ludington, MI – all the golf you can take with lots of elevation changes and views of Lake Michigan.
Toboggan, Milford, MI – extreme golf, long, challenging and a workout!
Will the Detroit Lions ever win the Super Bowl?
Probably not in my lifetime. But I don’t want to say never!
If Discraft said you could only play with 3 discs for the rest of your career on their team, which 3 discs would you choose?
Soft APX-a reliable putter
Buzz- the best mid range on the market
Crank- a driver that can handle almost any weather condition.
How is Scratch?
She is a little jealous of her human sister but she is learning that the baby is always a good place to find snacks!
You are a young disc golf mamma:) Any advice for expecting mothers in regard to playing while pregnant? Any additional advice for mom’s who play disc golf?
Playing pregnant was tough. Sometimes just walking was a challenge but I kept reading articles about how important exercise is while pregnant so what better outlet than disc golf? I played until I felt I could no longer (about 9 months) and had an easy delivery that I attribute to the regular exercise. I would never have been able to golf so much during my pregnancy, or even now, without the unending support and encouragement from my husband.
When did you first become aware of the sport of disc golf? When did you first start playing?
I first became aware of disc golf roughly in 2002. I used to walk around Maple Hill and Pyramids in my hometown of Leicester Massachusetts and watch friends play. I had not, however, seen another female throw so even as a seasoned athlete I was tentative to try. I picked up my first disc nearly 10 years later in November 2011, and it changed the course of my entire life.
As a physical education teacher what are your favorite activities to teach?
Of course I love to teach disc golf, but I also focus a lot on Team Building and Project Adventure activities. I feel this generation is slowly losing the abilities to communicate effectively, respect one another and cope with negative emotions. I try to incorporate lots activities that foster teamwork, cooperation, problem solving and critical thinking.
You are involved in a very active team event that goes all winter in the New England area, can you explain the format and give us a basics of how the New England Team Challenge works?
I will try my best to give you the Cliff’s Notes. 🙂 New England Team Challenge will be finishing its 11th season on April 9. It has grown exponentially in recent years and now the league includes 36 teams though 4 pools (A, B, C, D). Typically teams consist of 18-20 men and 1-3 women. Teams travel throughout New England and New York to compete once per month from October through April. The home team is responsible for providing a lunch & beer spread for the visiting team. Each challenge consists of two rounds; first round is singles match play (a la Player’s Cup) and second round is doubles stroke play. A win in match play is worth one point, and in the event of a push (tie), each team earns .5 point. A win in doubles stroke play is worth two points, and all ties must be played off until there is a winner. Finals takes place every year on the second Saturday of April. Each Pool has a final event that determines which teams will advance to the higher Pool next season (or determine an A Pool Champion), and teams who do not qualify are automatically relegated to the next lowest Pool.
All of this fun, winter season New England golf could not be possible without all of the countless volunteer hours by Commissioners, Team Captains and the dedicated disc golfers who play in 3+ feet of snow, freezing cold, wind, and other unimaginably miserable conditions in which we suit up and march into battle with smiles on our faces. It is so special to be part of this and I am forever grateful.
What was your first disc that you fell in love with?
Discraft Buzzz because it was the first disc I could actually throw straight.
If you could have a tee off song for the beginning of each round in a 3 round tournament what would your first round tee off song, second round tee off song, and final 9 tee off song?
1 Incubus – Make Yourself
2 The Used – Box Full Of Sharp Objects
3 Bush – Machinehead
If you could have an official beer of disc golf, what would it be?
What disc golf events are you looking forward to the most in 2016?
I am most looking forward to the first New England Women’s Tournament Series in 2016. It is a series of women’s only tournaments throughout New England & New York with an aim to continue growing women’s participation in our area. We hope this may also encourage membership into our local organization, the New England Flying disc Association (NEFA) and the PDGA. The two events in this series I am most excited for are the Women’s Global Event at Maple Hill and the USWDGC in Sabattus ME.
What advice do you have for a female who may know about disc golf but hasn’t got up the nerve to try it out yet?
The number one advice I have is to play with other women. Sure you can play with your boyfriend and his buddies, but that will more likely be discouraging than encouraging. Women are most often unable to replicate what the guys can do on the course. Sure they can help us with parts of our game, but the learning really happens when playing with and watching women.
Don’t know any women who play? Locate a women’s league. Don’t have a women’s league? Start one. Build it and they will come.
How did you discover disc golf?
When I was first introduced I was still an avid softball player. I went out one summer day with a group of friends that I worked with and I was terrible. Usually I can try almost any sport and be halfway decent so it really drove me nuts that I wasn’t very good. It hooked me though and made me want to get better and in the meantime I fell in love with the game, being outside and one with nature, the social aspect, the competition, and the community.
Backhand, Forehand or Both?
4 years ago… forehand. Now, both, definitely. I like having the option depending on the layout of the hole, the wind, etc.
How many disc golf tournaments did you play in 2015?
17 PDGA, 1 Southern National, and about a dozen local club tournaments.
You are the 2014 Rookie of the Year, was that a goal of yours or something that was coincidental to the number of events you played?
It was never a goal of mine from the get go. Only once I knew I was in contention did I make the push to get the title… which involved a LOT of traveling and tournaments.
Since the Rams are no longer the NFL team for St. Louis, would you consider becoming a Green Bay Packer fan? If not Green Bay, which NFL team will you cheer for?
I have no problem cheering on the PACKERS (Go Pack Go!) especially since my good friend it a HUGE fan however I really have been following the Seattle Seahawks for the last few years since the Rams weren’t that great anyway.
Are there any States or tournaments you haven’t played before that you are considering playing in 2016?
I realllllly want to got to Manitowoc this year for the Silver Cup around my birthday. I have never been that far up north for disc golf.
Photo courtesy of Silver Cup Pro Tour Website http://silvercupdiscgolf.com/
If you could have a spirit animal, which animal would you choose?
So I didn’t really know how to answer without just throwing something out a random for no good reason so I instead when online and found a quiz… ha. Apparently I am a deer. Surprisingly the description was spot on however…