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…
I don’t know about you, but I have big goals for my disc golf game in 2016.
Increasing my player rating, playing the Wisconsin Disc Golf Tour, competing at Am Worlds, and having lots of fun of course!
Whether you have performance or competitive goals, or you just want to get out to some new courses this year, it’s not going to magically happen on its own.
In my experience I have found that the single biggest predictor of achieving any goal (disc golf-related or not) is the level of accountability and support I have.
When I first wanted to start playing disc golf regularly a few years ago, I was new in town and didn’t know anybody. I was really self-conscious about going to the course alone. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb on the course as I was oftentimes the only woman and a beginner to boot. I didn’t want to hold anyone up or be ‘judged’ by the more experienced players. Consequently my rounds were few and far between.
My playing frequency, skill, experience, and overall enjoyment of the game increased exponentially after I joined the Disc On! Ladies League (DOLLs), started playing tournaments with my new friends from league, and after meeting my boyfriend, traveling around to different courses each weekend with him and his friends.
I have learned so much from playing with other people (most of them better than me): proper throwing form and technique, disc flight paths, how to adjust your strategy based on the weather, selecting the proper disc for the shot, course etiquette and rules, and how to stay in the game mentally when you are having a bad round, just to name a few.
So if you’re looking to up-level your game and want someone to join you out on the course, where can you find them? Making friends can be hard at any age. Here are a few tried and tested sources from my own experience and from some of my fellow disc golfers:
Online. Disc golfers are very active online, from Facebook groups and exchange boards to Instagram accounts and more. A simple search should turn up a lot of options. The PDGA website is also an underutilized gold mine – the member database makes it easy to search for players in your area and local coordinators.
On the course. If you catch up to a group and the offer to let you play through, ask if you can join their group! Single ladies, the odds are especially in your favor 🙂 Helping someone search for a lost disc is also an easy icebreaker.
Local shop owners. If you’re fortunate to have a disc golf shop near you, the owners/employees are a great resource. They will know all about local leagues, tournaments, and course regulars to whom they’d be happy to introduce you. Plus you can strike up a conversation with the other shop customers.
Leagues. Many courses host weekly league play and are a great way to meet a lot of people in an organized setting. There are a range of options, from non-competitive women’s leagues like DOLLs, all the way up to PDGA sanctioned leagues that count toward your player rating.
Tournaments. When I was new to the sport, the idea of playing in a tournament sounded very intimidating. Luckily I was encouraged/lovingly peer-pressured into signing up for a tournament by other DOLLs members and found out that I loved it! There are multiple divisions to choose from so you are competing against players of your same gender and skill level, and you can meet people from all over the state. I’ve had the most fun at all-women tournaments like the Women’s Global Event and the Wisco Disco.
Does the idea of striking up a conversation with a stranger make you cringe? Me too, most of the time. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past couple years, it’s that disc golfers are some of the friendliest and most generous people around. Even though it’s an individual sport, there is so much camaraderie. The great thing about disc golf is that you can play with people of all skill levels and still have a good time. You’re in good company.
And finally, once you’ve found your new disc golf friends, don’t forget to pay it forward! If you come across a solo player on the course, invite them to join you. Talk to someone you haven’t met before at a tournament or the new guy or gal at league. Put up a post in your local Facebook group inviting anyone to join you for your next round. And grow the sport by inviting your non-disc golfing friends too!
What are your 2016 disc golf goals, and who is going to help you reach them?
About the author:
Casey Pennington, PDGA #74708 started playing “frisbee” golf over ten years ago when she began organizing tournaments on a homemade course at her annual family reunion. (She has since graduated to real discs and metal baskets.)
Most days you can find her taking a break from her consulting business (www.caseypennington.com) at one of the courses in Sheboygan. On weekends she loves to travel around Wisconsin for tournaments and casual rounds with friends, rain or shine or snow!
1.) Your fixation with Frisbees started not with disc golf but with ultimate Frisbee. In what year did you start playing Ultimate Frisbee? What year did you start playing disc golf?
Fall of 1986 for ultimate & late 1999 for disc golf. Technically, my sister and I used to throw a Wham-O Frisbee in our back yard for hours on end when we were pre-junior high.
2.) What are 3 simple things a new player can do on the course to improve their game?
Most of the things I would recommend to a new player to improve their game are off the course activities: play catch; throw all your discs in a big open field with different angles so you know what they do naturally, before you try to steer them; and on the course, relax & give yourself a break. We are playing disc golf, usually in lovely places, so relaxing and enjoying the round usually leads to more fun than putting pressure on oneself.
3.) Who is your favorite movie star from the 1980’s?
So many. I loved the Brat Pack – Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen…
and Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller was the smart aleck’s smart aleck.
4.) You have found yourself in a few “final 9” rounds that determine the winner of a multi-round tournament, these rounds often have a gallery and a little added pressure. What do you like to do before the start of those rounds to relax and take your mind off of those 9 holes?
I love to play a good game of catch – where I can run around a bit. I also like to hang a bit with friends I might not have seen as much during actual tournament play. I find listening to music helps, and will usually throw on some Bad Religion, Green Day, Rise Against, etc. If there is a ton of time, I try and see some of the other women’s divisions if they are still playing; there are a lot of terrific women out there on the course these days 🙂
5.) Are you a wizard? We understand if you can’t reveal this information. However based on some of the lines your throw and putts you make, we can see that you are magical.
If I am, I have yet to find my magical superpower (not for lack of trying). Though (to dork out for a second), I tend to be more of a ranger than a magic user in RPG adventures.
Sorry to disappoint, but spending 20 years throwing to a moving target through moving defenders (and being obsessive about ultimate), as well as 50-50-50 warm up drills is more to credit for that than any wizardry. (50-50-50 was where we partnered up and had to complete 50 consecutive throws of forehand, backhand and overhead. A drop or mis-throw reset the count to zero.)
6.) Whether you are a wizard or not, who is your favorite wizard?
7.) If Discraft said you could only play with 3 discs, which 3 discs would you choose?
Z 150 Flick,Glo Buzz, 150 ESP Avenger (though I would add my Crank as disc 4).
8.) If you could have an official beer of disc golf, what beer would that be?
9.) If you could choose any fictional character as your doubles partner, who would you choose?
It is a close race between Ender Wiggin and Aragorn, son of Arathorn.
10.) We (Ladies First Disc Golf) are grateful for you, and your kind soul. Who in disc golf are you thankful for?
So many people, from whom I have learned so much. Amy Dubrioullet-Cooper, for starting me on this crazy adventure in disc golf; Nancy and Mike Glass for their constant support and encouragement, as well as all of my teammates on the many teams I played on; Elliot Fu and Jordan Halpern for always being willing to throw with me;
Lisa Warner for befriending me when I was a new golfer; Des Reading, Juliana Korver, and Elaine King for being so amazing / inspirational / encouraging when I first started, and for blazing the trail for all of us following in their footsteps; Erin Oakley, Val Jenkins, and Jenny San Filippo, and so many other women who are constantly bringing more women into the game and doing all they can to encourage the growth of the women’s game; and finally, all the women with whom it has been my privilege to throw plastic.
Also, Discraft has been an amazing sponsor for me since 2003 – their plastic has been so consistent for me that it has allowed me to constantly improve my game. Pandamonium has been keeping me looking sharp since 2014.
Your parents introduced you to disc golf, at what age did you begin playing? How many total years have you played competitively?
My parents started playing in the mid-80s, and so I grew up in the sport. My parents loved the sport and loved traveling to play. My brother Avery was about 8 when they started playing, so he got into it right away. My parents also got really involved with our local course and eventually became the local caretakers, so this meant I also spent a lot of time at the course as a kid. I played a little when I was young but I wasn’t hooked on it. I always said, that it was something my parents did, so I didn’t think it was cool at the time.
I started playing tournaments when I was 15 and won my first event I played in. I made it to my first Am Worlds in Nashville that same year. I played Juniors 15 and under, and won. From that year on I’ve been playing competitively
You are a member of the Innova Women’s team. If Innova said that you could only play with 3 discs from now until eternity, which 3 would you choose?
A Teebird, an Aviar, and a Pulsar- that’s their ultimate disc… that would be sad if I couldn’t ever throw a Frisbee again
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 don’t get nervous anymore, but I definitely still get anxious right before my first tee shot of an important round. They’re two different things right? I think it’s good to have the butterflies because that means you’re doing something worth it. The best thing to do to cope is focus on your routine and go through the motions that you practiced to get to that point. Usually after that first throw, or that first hole, I feel like I’m on track and calm down a bit
Lots of disc golf ladies (and guys) look up to you, as you are a kind, friendly and a very talented disc golfer, who do you look up to?
Awww, Thanks 🙂 My mom has been my biggest female role model.
I can’t hide how much I am like her in so many ways; She’s passionate, compassionate, creative, stubborn, and full of life.
Her and my dad have been so supportive of me no matter what path I’ve chosen in life. They’re amazing people, if I do say so myself.
If you could have a tee off song, for your first hole of a tournament what song would you choose?
We actually get to choose our tee-off song during the Glass Blown Open, and it was hilarious hearing everyone’s choices. At first, I had picked a song I liked at the moment I filled out my registration; which was “Shake it off” by Taylor Swift. So, you tee off in less than 30 seconds and so I teed off with her singing “I got nothing in my brain, that’s what people say!” So in the final round, they asked my song and I left it up to them to choose. I stepped up to the tee and they cued up Eye of the Tiger. I had my best round of the tournament after that, such a solid song to keep you going!
If you could have an official beer of disc golf what would you choose?
Any beer brewed by Nate Doss! 🙂 I love IPAs, it’s gotta be hoppy in all aspects, aroma, flavor, and aftertaste. Nate and I are planning to open our own brewery, and of course, it will be disc golf themed. We hope whatever we brew will be the official beer of disc golf and we can give back to the sport that made us who we are.
In early 2015 you did a series on yoga stretches for disc golf, any thoughts on doing a yoga for disc golf video? Do you practice yoga while on the road?
There’s a reason I did it all in pictures, I’m no yoga instructor. I did it because it’s been such a great routine to add to my life and helped all my trouble areas from disc golf; back, hips, shoulders.
I try to keep up with it everyday but I always stretch the mornings of tournament rounds. I carry my older yoga mat with me, and it’s come in so handy! I’m able to pull it out and stretch anywhere not worrying about the itchy grass or dirty cement, I’m laying on.
Sweet or savory? What is your weakness when it comes to treats?
Savory. I love cooking. I love the cooking shows. I love making up recipes. I love eating at awesome restaurants along our travels and I’ll try anything
Difficult weather conditions are part of the game if you had to choose, would you rather play in a rain but somewhat warm conditions, or wind but very cold?
Bring on the rain! I think it was last year that felt cursed because in all large tournaments it rained, and I mean poured! If you play tournaments, I highly recommended investing in a solid rain jacket and pants. It’s an investment that is so worth it when you need it.
We know that milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard, how can disc golf bring all the girls to the park?
Haha! Now I’ve got that song in my head..
While there are still relatively small numbers of women competing, there were a lot less when I started. Its great to see more women out there playing, especially in women’s leagues and women’s tournaments. These women-only disc golf events are the perfect tool to get more ladies playing because they’re run by women who want more ladies to play! Once they new players have fun playing and relationships are made, that’s what keeps them coming back.
I run DiscGolf4Women.com and that was my hope to connect ladies from around the world who find themselves the only ones at the course. We want to be that encouraging place to go to ask questions, voice their concerns, and learn from other ladies in the sport.
I am also the Chair of the PDGA Women’s Committee who are “dedicated to attract encourage and retain female participation in organized disc golf events”. Our biggest accomplishment was spearheaded the women’s disc golf movement by creating the Women’s Global Event in 2012. This is a blanketed tournament consisting of women’s events run around the world on one day. This is a great chance for local areas to run their first women’s event to be a part of something bigger, and a great first tournament for ladies to play in. Keep an eye out for the official date announcement for the 2016 Women’s Global Event on www.pdga.com or on our Facebook Page @PDGAwomen.
You’ve probably been trying to master cooking longer than disc golf, how long have you been playing disc golf?
My first round in September 1999 at South Park of Wood County parks next to Lake Wazeecha in Wisconsin Rapids. I was a freshman in Stevens Point, WI and met a guy in my songwriting class and he asked me to go with him. It was fun!
Your tournament career has slowed down from your early years in disc golf, but we know there are a few tournaments you play each year. How do you determine which disc golf tournaments you will play each year?
It sure has slowed down. Truthfully, it’s all about the people
It’s not about the game anymore, it’s reconnecting with people from a sport that I made great friendships with.
I try to play Silver Cup (Manitowoc, WI), Prairie Open (Kenosha, WI), and MXG (Milwaukee, WI).
Since being on MasterChef has tested your skills and taught you to perform under pressure, have you been able to translate this to making difficult shots, or risky putts in disc golf tournaments?
The biggest struggle with my game and with cooking under pressure, is my head. When I know I am “on” and not overthinking everything, I perform much better. I have been trying to let things go and not be so hard on myself. I just think that is life too.
What is your favorite tool for the kitchen and what is your favorite tool for the disc golf course?
My favorite tool is a spoon. People forget to taste their food while you are making it. If you following a recipe, taste what you making. There needs to be a balance in your food. It might need more salt, acid, heat, sweetness, spice etc… My favorite disc is a Bright Green Surge Flex ESP, 167 g, with Mickey holding a Mickey on it!
Pictured is a different but also amazing Mickey Disc drawn by Katrina’s friend Barrett White.
What kind of breakfast meal would you prepare for someone on the first day of a large disc golf event, like a Major or National tour?
First I would ask my client. Are you a big breakfast type of person or small? But, for me and if I’d have enough time, (which usually isn’t the case) I would like maple sausage patties with over medium eggs and American fries. But, if I am short on time (which usually is the case) I really just love yogurt, fruit and homemade granola with flax seeds.
What ingredients are needed for a top notch round of disc golf?
and a cold beer.
We know you were pretty much occupied with Master Chef when you were in California filming, did you get a chance to play any disc golf?
I wasn’t able to play any disc golf, but I did meet someone who plays and on a regular and has been in the California Disc Golf Scene for a long time!
What advice do you have for a disc golfer that may want to try something new like a tournament or league, but aren’t sure if they can stack up to the competition?
First off, don’t worry about the competition have fun, meet new friends and don’t worry if you are a new at the sport, because there is a lot of support out in the disc golf world.
If you could have an official beer of disc golf what would it be?
Moon Man No Coast Ale brewed by New Glarus Brewing in New Glarus, WI or Fantasy Factory IPA, Karben 4 in Madison, WI!!
How can we try the delicious food you cook?
Currently, I am offering private dining, cooking and mustard making classes, and you can follow my adventures on my blog. www.katrinakozar.com
I will also be preparing and serving lunch for the Disc On! Ladies League Double 9’r on November 7th, 2015 at Heritage Trails in Slinger, WI. Stop out and visit with me there, or find a partner and sign up.
If your little hearts desire you can keep up with my news and activities on various social media sites:
When we started Ladies First Disc Golf we decided that the first lady to place an order through our website would become the First Lady of Ladies First, we didn’t tell anyone of our plans. Well, not only were we lucky but we were also honored that Erin Oakley a great ambassador for women’s disc golf decided to be our first customer. We want to share the good work that many disc golfers do out of there own love for the game and we want to share this with you by interviewing them with 10 various questions. We are going to start with Erin, as she is our First Lady, we will choose a different lady each month of the year, but for now let’s get to know EO!
1.) As First Lady what will your primary objective be in relation to ladies disc golf?
My ultimate goal is really to share my love and passion for the sport with others. I have run a ladies disc golf league (Trip C’s in Lansing, MI) for 10 years now and have met some amazing women because of it. It is not only a round of disc golf, but an out for these women to have a night with other women and play disc golf in a casual or competitive way. Working with the PDGA Women’s Committee for a few years and running my league, has made me grow in a way I could never have imagined as a person and a player. I take huge pride in both.
Being a fantastic event host
2.) How long have you been preparing for this role?
I am just finishing up my 16th season of disc golf, minus about a year and half off after each kid;)
Erin with her daughters
3.) What compelled you to become the First Lady of Ladies First Disc Golf?
haha, I had no idea of the title. I thought I would buy some minis to give out at my women’s league and at the same time, help a friend out because the company idea is so great and supportive of helping the sport grow.
4.) As First Lady do you have any thoughts on getting kids out to the courses?
Because I have 2 of mine, just don’t force it. My almost 12 year old will play women’s league once in a while, but it’s only to get time away from her little sister I am sure:) So I don’t force it on her, maybe some day she’ll like it again. Having their friends tag along helps get them out. Make it fun and non competitive.
Erin helping at a clinic to get more people playing in the parks
5.) Are there any tools you like to use on the course to improve your game? If so, what are they specifically?
I would have to say my favorite all around disc is my Diamond Light. I like taking chances and that is why I love to throw it. It will hold almost any line I want it to if I throw it correctly;)
6.) If you could choose a song to be played when you are teeing off, what song would that be?
Moment of Truth by Survivor
7.) What is a long term dream you have as First Lady?
I fell in love with all aspects of the sport when I started in 2000. My very long term goal is to someday open a Women’s History of Disc Golf museum of some sort. Some day….:)
8.) Many First Ladies are known for their style, as First Lady what is your preferred wardrobe on the course?
I tend to go with what is comfortable, mainly shorts and a dri-fit. But in fall I love pants and long sleeves.
Erin crushing a drive!
9.) If you could make an official animal for disc golf what would it be?
How about that Rainbow, Kitty, Unicorn animal. We can call it a Rakicorn.
10.) Lastly a very important question if you could choose an official beer of disc golf chosen by the First Lady, which would you pick?
Ultimate Frisbee and Disc golf greats Brodie Smith, Avery Jenkins and Simon Lizotte show us how to have fun with our favorite toy the disc golf disc or for some of you the Frisbee. This video brought a smile to my face, I especially liked the “wall ride” trick shot off the fence into the basket–BOOM!! What was your favorite shot?
Now it is time for some of us females to start working on our trick shots and battle these masters; take notes ladies!
Opening my own business has always been a dream of mine, and I have considered myself an entrepreneur my whole life, from kool-aid stands in the front yard to re-selling my clothes, I have always been trying to help others purchase the goods they needed. Maybe that is why in my adolescent and early adult life I had no clue what I wanted to do, because what I wanted to do took me learning who I was and finding a hobby that encompasses my life. Now that I have found that hobby and know myself a little better it all makes sense and that is how, when and why Ladies First Disc Golf was born.
This past Spring some changes at my work caused me to lose my company provided health insurance and the future was uncertain, but at least I had a job. I was actively looking for employment but nothing was appealing to me, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my freedom and happiness for maybe more money and benefits, but less time and joy. I decided to take a different path than the safe and secure corporate world, and decided I was going to start my own business. I still work at my current employer because I like what I do, but Ladies First is hopefully something I can do full time in the future.
I am full of ideas, they just come to me when I started thinking about the fact that there was not a one stop shop for the female disc golfer to get discs, apparel and accessories I realized there needed to be, because disc golf is growing, and female participation is also growing. That is where Ladies First came to be not just an idea, but now something that was really going to happen, and did! If you know me or have met me, you know that I like helping people, I just can’t help myself but help, which makes all the things Ladies First will do and accomplish great, we are helping ladies and gentlemen find the discs and disc golf apparel they need.
For now I just wanted to thank you for visiting the website and blog, and give a little background on how Ladies First Disc Golf came to be. Our inventory will be growing over time, so if you are looking for something and we don’t have it, please drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org