Paige Bjerkaas #33833 is a pro disc golfer on the Dynamic Discs team. Her disc golf career started in 2007 competing as a junior disc golfer. Paige is the 2018 Female Pro Disc Golf World Champion, winning in a 49 player division of professional women disc golfers. The 2018 Pro World’s competition took place at Smuggler’s Notch in Jeffersonville, VT, Paige earned her first world championship title as a professional at this competition. In 2010 Paige earned the title of Female Junior II World Champion at the Amateur Worlds in Marion, OH. She is also a student at Emporia State University in Emporia, KS, and works at the Dynamic Discs retail store in the off season. Her parents have had a huge impact on her disc golf journey!
Who introduced you to disc golf? At what age did you begin playing?
My parents introduced me to the sport. They found out about disc golf the year I was born. My parents put a disc in my hand as early as 6-7 but I didn’t play a full 18 until I was 10. I competed in my first tournament also when I was 10.
What disc would you most recommend to a new female player?
I would recommend a Diamond for a new female player.
If Dynamic Discs said you could only play with 3 discs from now until eternity, which 3 would you choose?
The three discs I would use forever would be the Opto Ballista Pro, the Lucid EMAC Truth and the Classic Judge.
Dogs or Cats or Both or Neither?
I love kitties!!!
Often players get nervous before a tournament starts, and sometime it holds them back from playing. Do you get nervous before an event starts? Any tips on shaking the nerves?
I definitely still get nervous at the beginning of the tournament. My tip for that is getting a good warm up in. If your body has been throwing the shots and putting already, it’ll be easier for you to execute with nerves on that first hole.
What event do you look forward to the most each year?
On a PDGA Radio podcast episode from earlier in the year, you mentioned you were a fan of the Beastie Boys! Well, the Beastie Boys are one of my favorite bands too, that put a smile on my face when I heard that:) 2 part question: 1.) What is your favorite Beastie Boys album? 2.) What song off that album is your favorite?
I love the Beastie Boys!!! Licensed to Ill is my favorite album and my favorite song on that album is No Sleep Til Brooklyn.
If you could have a spirit animal, which animal would you choose?
My spirit animal is a penguin because I am very clumsy.
If you could have an official beverage or snack of disc golf what would it be?
My official snack of disc golf would be Gold Fish!
Congratulations on winning your first Pro Worlds title! The whole disc golf community is excited for you! A lot of young ladies look up to you, and will be looking up to you as you continue your disc golf career. What is the best advice you can give to a new female disc golf player?
Thank you!! The best advice I can give to not only a new female player, but any new player, is learn to throw a putter! Start with putters. It teaches you smooth form. And when you mess up on a putter shot, it shows you what you did wrong. You can easily see the mistake you made.
Bonus question: How can your fans support you and your tour?
I can be supported through the Dynamic Discs website! Just type my name Paige Bjerkaas in the search bar and my Discs should come up! I have signature Fuzion Judges and a custom DyeMax design that can be put on almost any disc!
What is the most significant change in women’s disc golf since you started playing?
The amount of women that play now, amount of touring pro women, and the communities they have built.
What is your favorite disc golf driver?
It’s gotta be the Opto line Diamond right now…thanks for introducing me to it, Fairy Disc Mother!!
If you could travel to anywhere in the whole world to play disc golf where would you go?
Anywhere I’ve never been; Japan, Finland, Australia, the Disc Golf Cruise!
What is your favorite in state (Wisconsin) disc golf experience or event?
The Indoor Disc Golf Experience
Standing Rocks Open
Sorry I can’t pick just 1.
How did you learn to be such a smooth operator on the disc golf course?
I married Smooth as Butter himself! But really, the love and encouragement from everyone I’ve met or played with over the years.
What is Carol Correa making for dinner tonight?
Lol! Pork chops, sauteed mushrooms, grilled asparagus with fresh lemon
If you could have an official beer of disc golf what would it be?
You’re a mom to a beautiful young lady! How do you balance motherhood, work and being able to get on the course? Any tips for young mom’s to keep playing disc golf while balancing other aspects of their life?
I don’t know, I’m still trying to figure it out! I DO know that it’s a team effort, because I definitely don’t do it alone. Having a support system is vital and for me, it was about re-evaluating and re-prioritizing my responsibilities. Having a child was a major life change which meant disc golf was no longer my biggest hobby.
Carla & Sergio’s Daughter Giovanna modeling a Ladies First Disc Golf top
I don’t play nearly as much as I used to, and that was hard to accept at first, but it did make me appreciate my time on the course more, and life in general. Things are different now, disc golf has a different meaning for me now too; it’s not about hitting a lot of events and winning, it’s an opportunity to see old DG family, friends, and an opportunity to grow more.
Tips for young Moms? Stay positive, stay healthy, work hard, be brave, be kind, build a support system, and if possible…join a ladies league.
I started playing disc sports around 2003 when I played on a recreational ultimate Frisbee team in high school. When I went to college, I played on the competitive co-ed team starting in 2005. My friends and I used to throw Frisbees around campus and use light poles and trash cans as targets. I didn’t even know disc golf existed! In 2008, one of my professors took me to the campus-owned disc golf course, and I played my first legitimate round. I wouldn’t say I was immediately hooked, but I started phasing out of ultimate and focusing all of my free time on disc golf.
Forehand or backhand or both?
I mostly throw backhand but often use forehand for putter upshots. I developed this skill from throwing an ultimate disc for years.
What are your 3 favorite discs from Innova?
Photo Courtesy: Innova Disc Golf
Photo Courtesy: Innova Disc Golf
Photo Courtesy: Innova Disc Golf
If you could choose any disc golfer in the whole world to be your partner in a doubles tournament who would you choose?
I swear I’m not trying to be mushy! I would choose my life partner Shawn Sinclair. When Shawn was on tour full time, he was one of the top pros in the world! He is still a 1000+ rated golfer, but he hasn’t played a competitive round since 2009. Although we play for fun all the time, we have never partnered up for a doubles event. I know that we would have a ton of fun and not take things too seriously. I also know what I would be getting myself into and wouldn’t be nervous around him if I made a bad shot, because he witnesses my bad shots all the time!
What are your 3 favorite courses in Tennessee?
Harmon Hills in Fall Branch, TN
Photo Courtesy: DG Course Review
Cedar Hill in Madison, TN
Photo Courtesy: Dg Course Review
and Victor Ashe in Knoxville, TN
Photo Courtesy: DG Course Review
You performed very well at Am Worlds in Minneapolis in 2014. What was the deciding factor when you decided to compete as a pro?
I put a lot of thought into “going pro” before I actually did it. I wanted to make sure that I felt comfortable and confident enough to play in the big leagues. I played amateur for six years, albeit I took a year off from tournaments to do a year of volunteering with AmeriCorps, and had to work my game back up when I returned to competing. After I placed second at Am Worlds, I figured it was time to move up. I had played two other Am World events prior to that and hadn’t even made it into the semi-finals. You can imagine how happy I was to not only get into the semi-finals, but to take second by only five strokes!
Photo Courtesy: PDGA Tour Flickr
Moving up to pro is really a personal decision that is different for everyone. I considered how well I did locally and statewide (at the time I was living in Columbia, SC), and I had won several advanced tournaments up to that point. I knew it would take me some time to become a strong competitor in the pro field, but decided it was time to take the leap.
Photo Courtesy: PDGA Tour Flickr
If you could have an official beer of disc golf what would it be?
I’m from Philadelphia, so Yuengling of course!
Prior to disc golf you played Ultimate Frisbee. Do you still play Ultimate? Was it hard to learn disc golf discs after throwing an ultimate Frisbee for years?
I haven’t played ultimate in a few years. After playing on my college team at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, I played a bit recreationally in AmeriCorps in 2010-2011, and I tore my meniscus. That kind of sealed the deal for me for awhile. I played in a competitive league in the summer of 2013 when I lived in Columbia, SC, but I didn’t love it anymore.
There was a definite learning curve for me when it came to throwing golf discs. Ultimate discs require a lot more touch – if you put the kind of power on it that you’d put on a driver, it’s going to flip over every time. If you’ve thrown one ultimate Frisbee, you’ve thrown them all. When I started playing disc golf, I figured out quickly that I should learn to throw different discs for different shots/distances. It was hard – there were so many options! My drivers flew on a 45-degree angle up in the air most of the time I threw them, and I didn’t have smooth form. I’m not sure whether playing ultimate was beneficial or a detriment to my disc golf game, but I guess I’ll never know!
Is it possible to own too many Italian Greyhounds?
No way! Unfortunately, we lost our little girl Bamboo last year at 16 years old, but we have our one-year-old boys Otis and Bruno. They are quite a handful! I keep asking them if they want a little sister, but unless Shawn has a change of heart, it probably won’t happen for a couple more years. Follow me at @iggy.discgolf.life on Instagram for lots of adorable photos!
In April you will be hosting the 5th annual Ladies and Gents Mixed Doubles tournament. We hope to make it to your event in the future. Tell us what makes this event so special and why ladies and gents in the disc golf world should add it to their disc golf plans in the future?
The Ladies & Gents Mixed Doubles is my favorite day of the year! Although I live in Nashville now, I travel back to Columbia, SC to run this one-day, Throw Pink charity event that raises money for the South Carolina Cancer Alliance. This event is special to me because I lost my mom to cancer when I was 11 years old, and I am very passionate about raising awareness and money for cancer research. We have raised over $7,000 for the SC Cancer Alliance to date, thanks to all of the generous sponsors, players, and volunteers who participate each year. All of these amazing people make this event special. Players include world champions as well as first-timers and all skill levels in between.
Each year, my goal is to not only raise as much money as possible, but also to ensure that everyone has a ridiculous amount of fun. My hope is that no one leaves empty-handed. Along with a players pack, I typically have 50 CTP prizes, a ring of fire, a large raffle, and other fun side games. This year, we have some sponsors who are stepping up big time, including Smoky Mountain Discs, our title sponsor; the Columbia Sports Council, who is providing lunch for all players and volunteers; DiscStalker, who always provides a free item in our player pack; Innova Discs, who gave me an awesome sponsorship package for ordering tournament discs; and Paragon Discs, who sent me a hefty box of apparel. And how could I forget Ladies First Disc Golf! You are one of our most popular sponsors because of all of the sparkly women’s apparel you donate.
This event has been the largest, PDGA-sanctioned mixed doubles tournament in the world for three consecutive years, and I’m hoping to keep the streak going. If you’d like to be a sponsor, please email me at saraBlamberson@gmail.com
Sara is the most recent member of our team of Sparkle Sisters. Use coupon code SL15PCT when placing your order to save 15%.
I started playing waaaay back in 1983, the summer that I got married. My husband (Eric Vandenberg) loved to play catch with his friends. He always wanted to attend the Canadian National Frisbee Championships but had never found out in advance when the tournament was being held (pre-internet days). We noticed a flyer announcing the 1983 competition and went to see the competition, expecting to see freestyle, but instead when we arrived the competitors were playing disc golf. Eric was immediately excited about the discovery of a Frisbee sport that could be played solo, rather than needing a partner of similar ability. The next weekend we were out on the Island with our 110g pro models trying to putt into heavy chained baskets.
Soon after we bought “state of the art” Midnight Flyers and Ben-Wal 21cm discs. In September the new high-tech Innova Aero had arrived in Canada and we started buying these for ourselves, our family and our friends. I would certainly have quit the sport if it had not been for the Aero since my short fingers could not get a good grip on the Midnight Flyer and I was pretty much hopeless at that point. In contrast, I could get a nice grip on the Aero and it actually flew a little bit for me.
It’s too bad that there is no video of me playing during my first year. I had little arm strength, no wrist snap and there was absolutely no indication that the situation would ever improve. It is only because Eric was well and truly hooked on the sport that I continued in any fashion at all. In 1984 Eric started competing and I tagged on as a groupie, and observing the female players. The year after that I had improved enough that I felt ready to start competing myself.
Disc technology has evolved and is continuing to evolve, what are the biggest changes you have noticed?
The biggest change in disc technology was the invention by Innova of the bevel-edged disc (Eagle/Aero). A few years later Innova released the Roc which had a nice balance of stability and glide and quickly found its way into everyone’s bag (but remember that everyone’s bag contained about 4 discs at that time). The next cutting edge disc was (almost literally) the Eclipse by Discraft, which had a much sharper rim configuration than any other disc to that time. It was after the introduction of the Eclipse that the PDGA developed standards on rim configuration. Lightning had a few discs that were extremely popular including their initial release called the P-38. They subsequently made some discs in very light weights (110 – 130g) which was contrary to the trend of making discs as heavy as technical standards would allow. Players found that these light discs got more distance especially with a tailwind. Discraft had another big hit with the Cyclone, which had more glide than other discs of the time. Just recently Eric unearthed a series of articles where many top players, now sponsored by other manufacturers, listed the Cyclone as one of their key drivers. In the past 20 years driver technology has been optimized with a string of discs achieving popularity as distance records were broken (for example, Innova’s boss).
Another key turning point was the introduction of the Prodigy brand. The media splash of the product line and the sponsored team challenged the “Big 2” manufacturers. With the success of Prodigy a flurry of additional disc manufacturing companies has subsequently arisen. In the past few years there has been an increasing trend in disc manufacturing companies outside of the US.
Currently, 7 companies offer more than 40 discs and a total of 102 companies have PDGA approved discs. I could not have foreseen this proliferation of discs and manufacturing companies when I started playing long ago.
What are your 3 favorite courses in North Carolina?
I very much enjoy my home course, Valley Springs, in Durham. It has ups and downs through a pine forest with a balance of long and short holes requiring a variety of angles. There are multiple tees and a few holes also have two baskets, adding to the diversity of the course.
Photo courtesy Disc Golf Course Review
Castle Hayne in Wilmington is another wonderful course. It demands precise placement of the drive in order to have the correct angle for the next shot. When your game is “on” this course is lots of fun to play. If your accuracy is a bit off this course is intensely frustrating as you stretch to get out of trouble with a flick, an overhand or simply a pitch out.
Photo courtesy Disc Golf Course Review
If you want to have a truly enjoyable round, Glenburnie in New Bern is the place to go. The park is beautifully manicured with a mix of open and wooded holes. Alternate tees/basket placements add to the variety. At the right time of year you need to watch every step on hole 8 so you don’t step on little toads. There are lots of deuces to be had, but they can quickly turn into a bogey or worse by an inaccurate line through the woods or by the disc finding OB.
Photo courtesy Disc Golf Course Review
If you could give a new player starting out 1 tip of advice what would it be?
Throw only midrange discs. It is discouraging to see so many women (and men) playing with discs that are much too overstable for the amount of spin that the player can provide. This leads to the woman throwing every shot with a huge anhyzer in order for the driver to land in the correct spot, and as a result she never learns to throw a disc straight. By starting with a midrange you learn how to control the disc rather than adapting your throwing style to the particular disc. Once you master throwing a midrange straight, hyzer and anhyzer you are ready to start throwing a driver.
Name your favorite disc pre-2000, post 2000 and your current favorite disc.
Pre-2000 my favorite disc was the Cyclone and post-2000 it was the Avenger in X plastic (although I have tremendous fondness for many of my mid-ranges as well). Currently I am infatuated with the Orbital by MVP, although its use is limited to long turnover shots.
Your well decorated and enduring career in disc golf has allowed you to meet many women disc golfers and have a unique perspective on the growth and change of women’s disc golf. Have you noticed an increased momentum or any significant changes in women’s disc golf in the past decade?
The most significant difference in the last 10 years is the number of touring women and indeed, the fact that women can earn enough to be able to tour. In the past few years media coverage of women’s golf has also exploded, due to the support of the PDGA to film the women’s card, due to TDs asking for the same, and due to videographers taking a special interest to ensure women are given air time. This would not be happening without viewers, and it is exciting to see that it’s not just women watching women’s golf, in fact men make up the vast majority of the viewership.
(Elaine commentating and playing on the lead card last round of the 2017 Hall of Fame Classic)
When Val Doss (neé Jenkins) departed from Innova, this further sparked the conversation about equity for top women golfers. The flurry of conversation on the internet, in publications and live shows demonstrates that disc golfers (being 93% men) are keenly interested in the growth of women’s participation. The desire has not changed, but what differs is the recent intensity of conversation on the topic.
At the PDGA Fall Summit, President Justin Menickelli opened the meeting with a graph of PDGA member demographics since 2006. The men’s numbers showed accelerating increase whereas the women’s numbers grew at a very much slower pace. The PDGA Board has committed to considering the growth of female participation with every decision made. That is an unprecedented level of focus for women’s golf.
We recently found out you are involved with the Disc Golf Foundation, can you tell us a little more about your work with the Disc Golf Foundation?
I was one of the founding members of the Disc Golf Foundation (DGF), which achieved registered charity (501c3) status in 2004. At that time the PDGA passed responsibility for the newly created Matching Baskets Program to the DGF. This program requires applying Colleges to raise money for 9 baskets, obtain approval from the College administration and submit design details for review. The successful applicant is partnered with Innova, Discraft or DGA who donates the other 9 baskets. 17 new courses have been established through this program, which is ongoing.
The DGF also focused on preserving disc golf culture and history through several projects. We partnered with DGA to establish the Headrick Museum at the International Disc Golf Center in Appling, GA. A travelling disc golf history exhibit has been established and is currently residing in the Lemon Lake Flight Center in Crown Point, IN. The DGF works with the Disc Golf Hall of Fame to support donations.
Photo courtesy of PDGA
The DGF supports local clubs by allowing donors to receive a charitable giving tax receipt for eligible projects that create and/or improve local courses. If you have a local project that benefits the general public and have potential donors who would welcome the opportunity for tax credit for their donations, contact the Disc Golf Foundation via email: info@DiscGolfFoundation.orgThe Board of Directors was refreshed in 2017 and I currently participate in Board meetings as an advisor and link to the PDGA Board. There are some exciting new projects being planned for 2018 that will focus on empowering passionate people to bring the joy of disc golf to the world! Find out more by going to our website at https://www.pdga.com/DGF and liking our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DIscGolfFoundation/
If you could have an official beer (or beverage) of disc golf what would it be?
I’m not a beer drinker but I love Mike’s lemonade. You can get the original flavor in “lite” which is less sweet, has fewer calories but the same alcohol content, and that is my drink of choice after a hot sweaty summer round.
Discraft was your main sponsor for decades until this past Summer, when the decision was made by you to part ways with the team. Are you enjoying the freedom of trying out all the various choices from new manufacturers?
It has been a refreshing experience for me to be able to throw any disc I please. However it has been overwhelming since there are now more than 1000 PDGA approved discs! The first new disc I added to my bag was a 162g Starlite Wraith which was given to me by a friend. I can get more distance with the Wraith, but it needs a broad, swooping path to achieve maximum distance so I only use it on wide open holes.
Next I have added the Wave and Orbital by MVP. The Wave has become my go-to driver, flying very straight for most of its flight with a hard hyzer at the end. The Orbital is very understable but has a really long glide and acts like a disc that has been carefully beaten in over years – I’m really excited about this disc. I’m experimenting with more MVP discs since the science geek in me loves the gyroscopic design principles as well as the nomenclature of the discs. My friends have given me a further list of discs I need to try out. In reality, I have always been very slow and cautious to replace discs in my bag so it will take time for me to discover what I like amongst so many selections.
We are honored and excited to have you on our team of Ladies First Disc Golf Sparkle Sisters. What is the best way to get women competing and playing disc golf?
That is the magic question. Experience has shown that women’s leagues are very successful in supporting women who are learning the sport. Mixed leagues can also be a nurturing place for women to develop their skills but the format of the events is important. For example, straight up doubles leads to the “oh no I got partnered with the girl” effect which completely discourages women. One way to overcome this is to spot the mixed teams an appropriate number of strokes or have the woman play from shorter tees, so that getting the girl as a partner is an advantage.
It’s important to remember that competition is not for everyone.
Some women will never wish to compete, just like some men never wish to compete. Women tend to get pressured to compete much more than their male counterparts, doubtless due to overenthusiastic supporters. The goal is to get more women playing, which will encourage other women to play.
We need to attract a wider demographic of women to the sport. This is definitely starting to happen with outreach in schools, after-school centers and local communities. Support of kid’s disc golf will also ultimately result in a pipeline of girls playing the sport to bolster female numbers in the future. I would love to find a way to recruit teenagers who are already competing in individual sports where the competition opportunities dissolve after high school (except for the very elite athletes), for example track and field events. These females have the competitive urge and are comfortable in individual sports and therefore might be a source of our future disc golf population.
Are these the best ways to attract and retain female disc golfers? Perhaps not, but we will all need to use many different tactics to make women aware of the sport and teach them how to throw so that they can enjoy playing. As we all know, once you’ve caught the bug you are hooked!
Let’s take a walk down memory lane, what do you remember most about your first round of disc golf? Who were you with and where did you play your first round?
I was first exposed to disc golf in 2005, my friends and I used to go to a small 9 hole course that was in our neighborhood. I tried it out a couple of times, but never really played a full round. But my first ever REAL round would have to be when I bought my first set of discs in 2013, at the Delaveaga Pro Shop. My friends and I had made the trip to play Dela, but I didn’t have any of my own discs at the time, so I decided that I need to get my own (just in case I lost any of theirs). I bought a Reef, Skeeter, Sidewinder, & a Leopard. I survived all 27 holes without losing any of the 4 discs I had just purchased, sooo…I’d say it was a pretty successful first round. The Leopard is still in my bag to this day, however the rest have been sacrificed to courses all around California.
In 2016 you made it to #1 on the wait list for Am Worlds, are you going to try to play again this year in Quad Cities, IA?
As of right now I am going to try to make it out to Am Worlds. I am graduating college here in 8 weeks, and plan to be attending a lot more tournaments starting in June.
Which dairy state is superior in terms of cheese products: California or Wisconsin?
Jenny, why must you make me choose! They both have their positives, but at the end of the day…who can say no to Wisconsin Cheese Curds! I left a little bit of my heart in Wisconsin this past summer.
If you could play in a doubles tournament and choose any partner in the whole world who would you choose?
That’s a tough one…
If you could have an official beer of disc golf what would it be?
Well now that’s an easy on…my favorite beer, of course. The Deschutes Chainbreaker, White IPA. The name alone makes it ready to be an official beer of disc golf.
What is your favorite bag from Upper Park Designs? Is there a bag that you would suggest for female players?
I absolutely love The Shift by Upper Park Designs. I recommend The Shift to any and all female players, if I get the chance. It still has plenty of room to carry 15+ discs, snacks, clothes, etc. But it’s significantly smaller on the back than The Rebel, and I find it easier to carry around during my tournament play.
Use coupon code JENN on Upper Park’s website to get 10% off
What song describes your disc golf game?
One of my favorite warm up song is “The Heat by Jungle”, it has a funky beat, and always puts me in a good mood.
If you could only throw hyzers or anhyzers for the rest of your life which shot would you choose?
You have competed in the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships in 2015 & 2016 what is your favorite part of that event?
I love the team aspect of disc golf, I grew up playing team sports so being able to compete as a team is fun, and totally different than competing as an individual in Disc Golf. This event shows how knowing your teammates, and what’s in their bags is important. I personally feel that this is a great way to grow Women’s Disc Golf at a college level. We have 2 veterans going this year, myself and Bayli. Then we have 2 new girls who just started playing in January that are joining us. We are heading out to Georgia/South Carolina in just a couple weeks to defend our National Title, and hopefully bring home our 3rd consecutive win!
When was the first time you picked up a disc, and who were you with?
I first played the sport in 2003. A group of friends were making a trip from our hometown, Columbus, Ohio to Clearwater, Florida specifically to play disc golf. At the time I had never even heard of disc golf, but I decided to tag along anyway. When we arrived the first stop was at the Clearwater Disc Golf Store, where I purchased my first discs, a 162g Champion Leopard (the pearly stuff, old school), a protostar (wasn’t called that back then) DX Cheetah, a DX Eagle, a DX Spider, and a 11x Champion (CE) Aviar. The rest as they say is history, I’ve been playing ever since.
Sidenote: I really wish my dog didn’t chew up that Aviar
Do you prefer wooded technical courses, open long distance courses, or something in between?
Depends on the day, haha. No, but I prefer wooded, technical courses. I feel like they even the playing field for more players to compete.
What is your most memorable competitive disc golf round or moment?
It would have to either be the 4th round of the 2016 Amateur World Championships, or the final round of the 2016 Amateur Championships at Bowling Green. They were two of my highest rated rounds ever recorded at 945 and 939. For both of these rounds I felt everything finally coming together all at the same time. Those rounds are few and far between but you always remember them when they happen.
Photo credit: Tony Brunner
Do you think there will be a day when there is a tour for women’s disc golf tournaments that has enough stops on it with big enough payouts that touring can be a viable profession for women?
Absolutely. With more and more female-only events on schedule each year it’s only a matter of time. I feel like we, as women, need to make getting a women’s only tour a priority. We cannot continue to pay the same entry fees and spend just as much on travel as our male counterparts and only get paid, sometimes as low as, a third of the money/plastic as they do. Eventually it just doesn’t make sense financially and women will either return to playing locally, or even just casually, or worse give up the sport altogether. I certainly hope to see a tour for women only in the very near future and hope to be a part of it all.
Kristy at Disc Girls Gone Wild 2014. Disc Girls Gone Wild is one of the longest running women’s only tournaments, and a critical event in building women’s disc golf.
Forehand or Backhand?
Why not both?
If you had to provide 3 tips for someone who has been playing disc golf less than a year what would they be?
Find someone that is better than you and play with them as often as you can.
Shoot for par. If you shoot for par, the birdies won’t be far behind.
Have fun. The one thing that I have always told Miquiath (#76557), most folks that know me from tournaments know him, is that not everyone remembers who wins every tournament, but they do remember the great people that they want to play with again, and the people that they do not. Always try to be that person that people want to be on a card with.
Following tip #3 having fun with friends!
If you could have an official beer of disc golf what would it be?
Staghorn Octoberfest by New Glarus Brewing from the great state of Wisconsin, wouldn’t mind if a six pack made its way down to Ohio sometime this summer, wink wink.
We’ll deliver some Staghorn if we can Kristy!
Top 3 courses you have played?
Coyote Point DGC @ Lake Casitas, Ventura, CA:
Coyote Point photo courtesy DG Course Review
Idlewild DGC, Burlington, KY:
Idlewild photo courtesy DG Course Review
Legacy Trails DGC, Eagle Springs, NC
Legacy Trails photo courtesy of DG Course Review
Have you figured out how to get a hologram of yourself yet so you can attend all the disc golf tournaments you want?
No, but I have a team of scientists working around the clock.
Kristy’s team of scientists;)
You finished 2nd at the 2016 Amatuer Worlds in Madison, WI in the FA1 division, your 4th round you shot an impressive super hot 945 rated round, did you know your round was super hot when it was happening?
I knew it was good, it felt great, but I had no idea I was about to shoot the highest rated round of my career. As I said above it was definitely one of the most memorable rounds I’ve played to date and gave me a glance at what I know I can accomplish in the future.
BONUS: Watch Kristy in action at the final 9 of the 2016 Amateur World Championships:
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 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.