Friday, September 14, 2018

Dreams Do Come True For Paige Bjerkaas, Your 2018 Worlds Champion


Imagine wanting something for over a decade, striving and pushing yourself to grasp your ultimate goals. For Paige Bjerkaas, that long stretch came to an end as she captured first place at the 2018 Pro Worlds. While Paige prepares for every tournament in much of the same way, she went into this year’s event with a calm mindset and aimed to finish in the top five, but obviously exceeded her own expectations.

We got a chance to chat with Paige as the news was still sinking in, learned what was going through her mind during the five-day event, and explored how she feels like this is more than just a win on her own list of career highlights.

Focused On The Family

Bjerkaas started playing disc golf around the age of 10 when her family moved to Denver, Colorado. That year also marked her first tournament participation, and in 2009 she got the chance to travel to the Junior World Championships. There, she watched as Val Jenkins took home the win, and Paige vowed to herself that someday she too would win a world title.

Fast forward to 2018, where she’s been on tour for the last few months and has had support from her friends and family every step of the way. “I worked hard and it paid off, and I didn’t have to be mean or put on a super game face,” she said. “[People are] giving me this credit that I’m so humble and nice, but I was raised that way, it’s my parents. I think they won Worlds too - they deserve it.”

Perfecting Her Performance

Paige was able to play multiple practice rounds on each of the two courses before the competition began, and between this knowledge and comfort in her game plan as well as her trusted bag of discs, she was excited and ready to give it her all. As she played each hole, reminding herself to stay calm and stick to her plan became the focus.

Yet when she found out that Thursday’s round was her highest to date with a 1021-rating, she had to let that moment sink in: “After my last putt, Robert McCall told me that I had the best round by 5 strokes. He told me it was 1021-rated and I said ‘are you serious?’” Paige laughed as she shared, still letting the reality of her win sink in.

The OB and wooded shots at Fox Run Meadows and Brewster Ridge can be challenging for anyone, but Bjerkaas relied on her plastic to do much of the work. She throws a 168g BioFuzion Enforcer that came in handy on most of her drives, a Fuzion Burst Getaway that earned her some birdies, and a Fuzion Judge that helped her to stay in the fairways on tricky holes.

Vying for the win is tricky by itself, but when you have stiff competition from other DD team members, it can sometimes change up the flow of things. “We’re going to do our best to beat each other but sometimes, in the end, it doesn’t work out in our favor. We like to celebrate each other’s successes,” she said. And celebrate she will! Congratulations to Paige on her amazing performance and good luck during the rest of the season!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 4: What The Future Holds For Missy


We’ve really enjoyed getting to know more about Missy Gannon, one of the ladies on the Dynamic Discs team. It’s truly incredible how influential disc golf can be in someone’s life, and Missy is a perfect example of that. From not really loving it the first time she played to quitting her job and going on tour full-time, a lot can happen in just a few years!

In this final part of our DD Women’s Series on Missy, we’re going to explore what she’d like to accomplish during the rest of this touring season and discuss where the world of disc golf might take her. After all, anyone can take a streak of luck and run with it, thus changing the future of their disc golf career.

What’s In A Name?

Putting yourself out there on tour brings a lot of changes to one’s life, but one lesser thought of reality is that people start to know who you are. For Missy, disc golf used to be a sport she played with her friends and local club members, but it was never something that she was ‘famous’ for. But lately, that’s changed: “When you’re a newbie in this big field of great women players, you don’t realize that people are starting to notice you even if you’re not playing well,” she shared.

The more and more events she competes in, the more Missy is finding herself in the spotlight. With this bit of notoriety comes another challenge - fine-tuning your mental game to make sure you don’t feel pressure to perform well now that people know who you are.

Looking Long Term

For the rest of the 2018 season, Missy is almost treating her tour like a mini-vacation. She’s happy that she can sort of hit reset on her life and is thankful that she’ll never look back and wonder what would’ve happened had she not gone. While she’d love to cash at her remaining events, the intrigue of finding out how she compares to other women out there is more important.

Will we see Gannon on tour next year? “It would be a sweet life to be able to continue doing this, [but] I also have to be a little practical too. If it turns out to be a summer thing then that’s ok,” she explained. For now, Missy and her beau have enough saved to continue the rest of their journey this season and then will spend some time on the East Coast with friends and family while they evaluate their plans for next year.

If she ends up placing well during the rest of the season and cashes at the bulk of her events, Missy might just decide to go for it and stay on the road for another year. Otherwise, her goal of experiencing life on the road just once will have been crossed off of her bucket list. Either way, she’s doing something that most of us only dream about.

Good luck with the rest of your season Missy! We’ve really enjoyed getting to know you a bit better!
Monday, September 10, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 3: Missy Gannon Goes Full Time


In this DD Women’s Series, we’ve been getting to know Missy Gannon, an East Coast native who spread her wings to Colorado, only to find a passion for disc golf and a supportive community around the sport. After becoming immersed in her local club and spending time honing her skills, the idea of venturing out on the road as a touring pro started to get more and more exciting.

Part 3 of this series sheds some light on how Missy decided to take the leap to play disc golf full-time and how she’s making up for lost years. Let’s jump right in!

Changing Plans

When Missy and her fiancé decided to move to Colorado, there was never any inkling in their minds that they would fall in love with disc golf. But after playing more and more regularly and growing their game, the thought of it becoming a job became more of a reality. “There was no original plan to leave Colorado and the booming disc golf scene there,” she said.

However, around the holiday season of 2017, Missy began to feel like she needed to make a change. Noting that there are so many up and coming players who are just entering into adulthood, Missy’s age started to play a factor in her decision making. “I thought ‘man, I’m 28 now and I’ll be 29 in March. It’s kind of like now or never.’”

Thinking It Through

Gannon didn’t jump on tour right away in 2018, and it actually took a good six months or so for her to feel confident in her decision. “It was the combination of ‘I like my job’ but I wasn’t in love with it, my fiancé is in construction so he was pretty transplantable, and we weren’t super tied to Colorado other than deciding to move out there,” she explained.

Making sure they could afford it was another endeavor, and as Missy didn’t want to have to rely on cashing at events to ensure their tour was sustainable, they had to make sure they had enough saved up before they hit the road. Going back to their love of the outdoors, the pair realized that if they camped instead of paid for lodging and really stuck to a minimal lifestyle, they could make it work.

“Being uncomfortable isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you can be comfortable with the discomfort. You can’t live the same way you did before,” she says about going on tour. As much of the latter portion of the season is based in the Northeastern area of the country, they will be able to visit their home base in New York and make things work, at least for the time being.

We’ve seen Missy perform exceptionally well so far in just the few months that she’s been a full-time player, and we’re excited to see what the rest of the season has in store. Be sure to check back with us for the final part in our series to learn about her long-term plans for 2019 and beyond.
Friday, September 7, 2018

Check Out Clips From Our Arrowhead Stadium Event


In our fourth rendition of the Disc Golf Experience, the DD team invaded the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri for a day of fun on the football field. With nine baskets set up safari style, attendees were able to throw shots that they probably never even dreamed of!

Our VIP experience gave some the opportunity to hang out while enjoying food and drinks, and then allowed for one amazing shot from high up in the stadium down to a basket on the field. Others tossed their discs through the goal posts or weaved their way around the entire stadium complex.

We love putting on these types of events, as it gives area locals the chance to experience disc golf in an entirely new way. Whether you’re a fan of football, disc golf, or both, the Disc Golf Experience is a must-attend for anyone.

The DD team is looking forward to putting on more of these events, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted as to when and where the next one will take place. For now, check out some sweet action from the Arrowhead Stadium Disc Golf Experience.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 2: How Missy Grew Her Game In Colorado


Disc golf is the perfect sport for anyone who’s looking for a fun new activity, but sometimes making a name for yourself can be a challenge, especially when you’ve just moved to a new area. In Part 2 of our DD Women’s Series, we learn how team member Missy Gannon got comfortable with disc golf in her new home of Colorado.

Not only did it take some time for Missy to fall head over heels with the sport to begin with, but acclimating to a new town and new job also took some adjusting. She shared with us how her local disc golf community helped to instill a passion in her and grow her skill set at the same time.

Support From Others

Playing disc golf with your close friends is awesome, but there’s nothing like getting to meet others and be a part of a community. Missy found out about the Longs Peak Disc Golf Club and was pleased to find it was only about half an hour away from her place of work. Every Wednesday after work, she’d drive down and play with a ton of other Colorado locals.

“I ended up joining the summer league and doing really well, sometimes beating some of the guys! Eventually, at the end of that first summer in 2016, I technically won the summer league in the women’s division. It became something where people started to realize who I was and the skill level I was bringing,” Missy explained.

Her desire to get involved extended beyond just her time on the course, and until recently, Gannon also held a position on the Longs Peak Disc Golf Club board.

Moving On Up

Missy’s love for disc golf was now in full force, and at the end of 2016, she decided to take her game more seriously and moved up into the Advanced Women’s division. Right around this time, she started reaching out to potential sponsors, knowing that having the support of a team behind her would help to propel her game even more. Another big decision came around this time, as Missy wanted to take her disc golf career to the next level:

“After doing a ton of research and seeing what was out there, I decided that I was going to make AM Worlds happen that year. It felt really quick but I was almost 28 by then - I just have to do it. I kept playing competitively at almost every Colorado event up until July when AM Worlds happened,” she said.

While Missy has decades of disc golf left in her, she’s aware that she got a bit of a later start than many of her current competitors. This motivation to not waste time and take her performance to the next level is what helped her to make some of the most important decisions in her career.

Her persistence paid off because just before she played her final nine holes at AM Worlds, she was presented with her Dynamic Discs sponsorship offer. If you’re wondering what’s next for Missy and her disc golf career, be sure to check in with us for Part 3 of this DD Women’s Series!
Sunday, September 2, 2018

Is Disc Golf Too Easy?


Transport yourself back to the time when disc golf was just starting to plant its roots across America and imagine what it was like to design one of the first disc golf courses in any given area. Do you think that our forefathers considered that one day, players would be absolutely shredding and shooting 10, 11, or 12 down could be the norm?

Our guess is probably not, as disc golf didn’t quite have the competitive spirit that it has these days. As the sport grows and players become more and more talented, we’ve seen tournament performances become increasingly impressive. After all, Paul McBeth’s 18 down during the Discraft Great Lakes Open earned him almost two minutes on ESPN, and Eagle McMahon’s back to back 16 down rounds at Konopiště literally had the world talking.

We pose the all-important question - is disc golf too easy? Your answer will largely depend on who you are and your current skill set, but we thought we’d touch base with some of the DD team members to get their perspective on where the sport is headed.

Time And Effort

AJ Risley shared with us an important insight to consider when assessing if disc golf is too easy, causing us to remember that touring pros aren’t really like everyone else:

“I don't necessarily think the sport or the courses have become too easy, but the players have gotten much better. As touring professionals who don't have other serious jobs that take up the majority of our time. We're able to focus a lot more on all the aspects of the game that help us fulfill our maximum potential.

For example, I'm able to play several practice rounds, putt for a few hours, and scheme about the course I'm playing each and every week while I'm on tour. There are different ways that we've seen course designers challenge the players over the recent years, but overall I think players have gotten better and better.”

Considering All The Elements

Dynamic Discs CEO Jeremy Rusco points to various aspects of the course, rather than the players themselves, and brings up some interesting viewpoints:

“I do not believe that we are to the point where disc golf is too easy. Our equipment and our talent (athletes) have certainly improved over the last 10-20 years which has caused us to change courses to accommodate, but I do not think that the top talent of our sport should make us change things drastically. The shift has been gradual and will continue to be gradual for as long as we continue to improve our top talent base. Out of around 40,000 active PDGA members, I'm going to estimate that we have around 10-20 players that can shoot a consistent 16-18 down and for that reason, we do not need to be overly concerned with this topic.

Many have asked me whether we need to change the targets that are on the course to the Marksman and I disagree with this being the way of the future (for the time being). Today, most of our player base is composed of recreational players that enjoy hearing the sound of the chains more often than not. They want the game to be 'easy' and enjoyable. It is what keeps them coming back to the course. Replacing our current baskets with Marksman baskets will only discourage continued growth for our sport, and until a vast majority of our society knows what those metal baskets are, we shouldn't change them up.

With the above being said, I am 100% on board with events that utilize the Marksman basket to increase the difficulty. Jerry Patterson with Launchpad Disc Golf has hosted numerous events in the Kansas City area setting up temporary courses with Marksman baskets and has seen great success and interest in this. I think that this is a great opportunity to increase the difficulty at the competitive tournament level on a temporary basis.”

The idea of changing up the basket style for specific events is one that many have toyed around with and perhaps it could become something we see more often at large scale events.

Going Hole By Hole

Right in line with the sentiments from AJ and Jeremy, Eric Oakley points to other contributing factors that may explain why players seem to be getting better and better. He shares:

“I personally hope that 16-18 doesn’t become the norm to help keep it special. Course design is our best chance of keeping those things from happening, so when someone does go off, we can celebrate it even more. With better course design we can challenge professional players to execute and be on to win or perform well at a tournament.

Too many courses have tweener holes that are easily scored by the best players with no real challenge unless they go for the big shot. The hole should be designed to require a quality shot from the tee, on the approach, and everywhere in between. If we could get more people together for course design I believe the sport will shape into something great on the professional side, but that takes a lot of knowledgeable people who understand the level at which our sport is being played.

That is why we see so many courses being shredded - they generally are outdated by the skill level, but with some minor adjustments they can be made challenging for all professional players.”

We’d love to know what you think - if we want to keep these 1100+ rated rounds from becoming commonplace, how do we address it? Is the answer in redesigning our courses, using different baskets, or is it really not an issue at all? Most sports do have a handful of players who are truly exceptional, and it doesn’t call for a complete overhaul of the game.

Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!