Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 1: Getting To Know Natalie Hollokӧi

There are many things about Europe that make it quite different than the United States, and when it comes to disc golf, female players certainly experience their game in a unique way. A member of the Dynamic Discs team for 3 years and counting, we chatted with Natalie Hollokӧi to get to know more about her and learn all about European disc golf. In Part 1 of this series, we explored Natalie’s background with disc sports and got clued into a few highlights of her career.

A Star From The Start

Natalie began playing Frisbee back in the 1980’s, and in her home country of Switzerland enjoyed just about every game you can play with a plastic disc. She naturally gravitated toward disc golf and Ultimate specifically, and at the age of 9 really started to improve upon her skills. She notes that her background with discs in general really helped her to understand how to manage specific shots when on the course: “You can really feel the difference in disc golf if [someone has] played Ultimate before or not. The path of the flight is different.”

This ability to finesse a Frisbee is what furthered her interest during her childhood as she preferred Ultimate over disc golf. In her teens, she put down the plastic for a while to focus on her education and employment, yet said that every time she saw a Frisbee she would feel her heart begin to beat faster with excitement.

Entering The Scene

In 2009, Hollokӧi just couldn’t stay away from disc sports any longer but felt she was too old to enjoy Ultimate like she once used to. Deciding to give disc golf a try once again, she set her sights on competing in the 2010 European Championships near Paris. It was a childhood dream of hers yet she found a bit of a setback in her way: invitations were only granted to the event to the current Swiss tour winner or the Swiss champion.

“People said there was no chance but I went for it anyway,” Natalie said, as she recalls deciding to compete in the Swiss Championships only two months before the event. Due to a mixture of nerves and excitement, she found herself in a three-way tie for first place and after a few playoff holes, she secured the win. Hollokӧi made her way to the European Championships and placed 6th, which was the highest female Swiss finish at that time.

Disc Golfing In The USA

As Natalie’s skills grew and she found more confidence in her game, she naturally gravitated toward events in the US. Fondly recalling her first experience at Worlds in 2011, she had told herself: “You are now playing with the big girls, just keep to your game.” Hollokӧi continues to say, “I had the honor to play the first round with Des [Reading]. I was so impressed watching her. I played so well after the first round that I was in 8th place.”

Natalie continues to play numerous events in both the European circuit and the US tour. Her love of disc golf is apparent with each excited laugh and story she shared during our talk. Be sure to check out the upcoming Part 2 in Natalie’s series where we’ll learn more about what the female disc golf scene is like in Europe.
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