Thursday, March 29, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 3: Natalie Takes On The European Tour

When we talk about tour life in the context of disc golf, what usually comes to mind? For many, it’s packing your car full of gear and hitting the road for several months, playing event after event. Tour life can be difficult and equally rewarding when it’s done in the United States, but touring in Europe is a bit of a different animal.

In Part 3 of our DD Women’s Series, we'll get to learn from team member Natalie Hollokӧi the ins and outs of touring in Europe and what it’s like for a female pro player to embark on such a journey. If you missed our first two posts where we got to learn more about Natalie, be sure to check them out!

The European Tour

The European disc golf scene is different in a variety of ways from what’s going on in the US, but perhaps one of the major parts has to do with what touring actually looks like. Stateside, we have a wealth of events to choose from, including NT stops, Majors, the Disc Golf Pro Tour, and plenty of A-tiers to fill in the gaps.

In Europe, Natalie broke it down for us quite simply: “We have a European Tour and a European Pro Tour. [The] Pro Tour is only 2 categories: men’s open and women’s open. [The] European Tour is more for ams. As a pro, you can also play, but it’s mostly for ams.”

With only two main tours to choose from, it automatically cuts down on travel time and the grind that comes along with competing for months on end. The flip side, of course, is that there are fewer events to go to in general.

Those who decide to take part in either tour will find tournaments starting up around March and ending in October, and while every effort is made to include as much of Europe as possible, there’s only so many courses and accommodations available in parts outside of Northern and Northeastern Europe.

How Natalie Chooses Her Events

You’d think that with a limited number of tournaments available, Hollokӧi would make a point to visit every single one. Yet with balancing a full-time job and a personal life, she has to make her decisions carefully. “Often I have to fly - if it’s around 6 hours then I’ll drive but any more than [that] it’s not worth it,” she said.

As we learned in Part 2 of this series, there aren’t many professional female disc golfers hailing from Sweden, and that can limit the amount of camaraderie that so many of us love when touring with our friends. “I am often the only Swiss player, [there’s] not a lot of Swiss playing internationally. Often I am alone. I rent a car and have to find everything by myself,” Natalie said.

This doesn’t stop her though - as a self-proclaimed talkative person she meets new people and makes friends everywhere she goes! Natalie has already competed in a few events this year and we’ll no doubt see her perform well in 2018.

Our last segment in this 4-part series will take a look at Natalie’s mental game and how she manages to perform well under the pressure of intense competition. Stay tuned!
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