Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 2: What Competing Is Like For Natalie

We’re particularly excited about this DD Women’s Series, as we have had the chance to chat with European team member Natalie Hollokӧi. In Part 1 of this four-part series, we learned a bit about her disc golfing background and once again saw how interconnected Ultimate and disc golf are throughout the world.

Natalie’s success has come as a result of hard work and dedication in a disc golf scene that’s completely different from the one we’re most familiar with. In today’s DD Women’s Series entry, let’s explore the European disc golf scene and what it’s like for a female pro player.

Different Divisions

Experienced disc golfers won’t be surprised by this information, but those new to the scene might be shocked to learn that competitive divisions in Europe are quite different. While we make every effort to learn each division and keep up every time the PDGA makes a change, players across the pond have made things much easier.

While this isn’t a hard and fast rule for every event out there, most European tournaments feature simply professional and amateur divisions for both men and women. Forget about FA2, MP40, and the like - it’s kept as straightforward as can be.

Not only are players less confused by this standard, but it also fits in nicely with the way tournament rounds are played. Natalie explains: “When I started to play, what [I noticed that’s] different compared to the US is the first round is always random. You are playing mixed, at least one woman, one master, etc on each card. The second round is by score, again mixed. The third round is by score and category. They still do this in Switzerland.” Utilizing this process allows players of all skill levels to get to know one another and tends to create more camaraderie on the course.

How’s The Competition?

The US always boasts a push for women to join the PDGA and we even hold women’s only events in an effort to have more ladies involved in the sport. In Europe, it can be a bit of a different story, however. “There’s an outdated viewpoint in Europe - some men don’t really want the women there. But some TD’s really push to have more women, and they do get a lot of support,” Natalie explained.

We know that countries like Finland are simply bursting with disc golf activity, and naturally a lot of newer players there must be women. In Switzerland, Hollokӧi has less competition than she would stateside. “In Switzerland, there are only six professional female disc golfers. Three years ago there were only three of them,” she said. While this might lead some to believe that winning an event is easy, the courses in Europe are no less grueling than what we compete on in the United States.

Learning from Natalie about disc golf in Europe and specifically in Switzerland has been eye-opening and we’re excited to bring you more in this DD Women’s Series. Stay tuned for Part 3 where we learn more about what tour life is like for Natalie.
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