Judah Berman - April
Judah Berman is not your typical 8 year old boy. However, if you put him in a lineup of kids his age you wouldn’t think he stood out. It’s when he throws those round pieces of plastic that we call discs that you realize you’re watching something special. Judah recently competed in the Mid Atlantic Junior Disc Golf Championship tournament in the 8 and younger division and took down first place with ease, or at least he made it look that way. He won by a solid 20 strokes ahead of second place where there was a three way tie. How did he get such a big lead? Well, for one, he was about a year older than most of the competitors, but that wasn’t what we think was the biggest factor. It was his ability to throw the disc accurately and with enough power to get him into good placement on nearly every throw. It seemed he was hitting tunnel shots without trying. And if demonstrating his throwing skills wasn’t enough, he was able to talk about almost every mold of plastic by almost every disc manufacturer. However, he does have his favorite plastic to toss. We’ll get into that a little bit during our interview.
We were able to catch up with Judah’s dad, Brian and talk for a little bit about what it’s like raising Judah. Brian said, “He is constantly talking about designing disc golf holes…He sees a portion of land while driving and mentions how it would make a cool disc golf shot.” Brian also made mention that kids are the future of the sport and while He [Brian] may not have a future in the professional tour, that Judah could. Brian wants to invest his time in raising Judah and helping him develop the skills that seem to come so naturally.
Here’s how our conversation with Judah went:
KDG: Where are you from?
Judah: I am from Chapel Hill, North Carolina
KDG: How old are you?
Judah: 7 almost turning 8
KDG: What’s your home course?
Judah: I like UNC right over here…it’s the disc golf course nearest to us. That’s why I always practice there.
KDG: Is that course mainly wooded or does it have open fields?
Judah: It has some trees, but it has some nice open fairways. And I learned that the tree holes are shorter, but there are more obstacles, but the field ones are less trees but they make the holes longer.
KDG: Do you prefer fields or woods?
Judah: Because I’m smaller I like to throw in the tree areas, because I can get it around trees and bushes really easily because I’m smaller.
KDG: You said you’re almost 8… when did you start playing disc golf?
Judah: When I was two years old I threw discs that my dad had in boxes, and I just threw them around in the back yard.
KDG: Who taught you to play?
Judah: My dad.
KDG: Where do you learn how to get better?
Judah: I got better at playing Cornwallis because they are technical shots and I need to learn those before I get to the really big shots.
KDG: How often do you practice?
Judah: Ummmmm…like every day. I just ask my dad, “Can I go play outside and I always bring with me some discs”.
KDG: Do you play other sports? Maybe soccer?
Judah: I just never play soccer, I just play disc golf. I actually have a putting basket in the back.
KDG: What’s your favorite disc/s?
Judah: I have a lot of discs that I like to throw. One of my favorites and the new disc I put in my bag is the Proof by Dynamic Discs. I put it out there and it just flips for me. And I think maybe….maybe… the Diamond [Lat64] would do the same thing, but it would just be a driver instead of a mid-range.
KDG: Do you prefer throwing drivers or mid-ranges?
Judah: I can throw the driver pretty far and it has more of a nice grip on the bottom than mid ranges. My dad told me that mid-ranges are more bigger and drivers are more skinnier. And I like skinnier.
KDG: How often do you get out to play a round of disc golf?
Judah: Whenever my dad takes me. Like twice a week.
KDG: Do you play the junior tees if they have them or the normal tee locations?
Judah: If there are junior tees I play them but usually I play the normal tee pad.
KDG: Do you like playing in tournaments?
Judah: Yes. I like to compete with other kids. I played junior tournaments and have won some.
KDG: How far can you throw a disc?
Judah: I can throw about maybe, 200. I made a short course for beginners call rainbow hills. It’s a good course for beginners. I used trees for the baskets.
KDG: Straddle or Straight style putting?
Judah: Straight with the basket. Like shake the baskets hand.
KDG: Do you ever straddle putt?
Judah: Yes, if there is a tree in the way I tend to straddle putt.
KDG: Who’s your favorite disc golf manufacturer?
Judah: Latitude 64
Judah: Because I have a lot of discs from Latitude. I have the Jade I have theDiamond. I have the Pearl and the Ruby and some more. Ken Climo and Cam Todd signed a Latitude 64 disc. They both signed it on the top.
KDG: Who is your favorite professional disc golfer?
Judah: Paul Mcbeth. Because He has good form. He is really talented.
KDG: Do you have a favorite female disc golfer?
Judah: Mommy! Hahaha. Probably Paige….Or mommy!
KDG: What else do you like to do when you’re not disc golfing?
Judah: Nothing! Actually I like to play rush hour! (He held up a puzzle type game where you have to solve the traffic rush hour on a board with moving pieces.)
KDG: Going to Am Worlds again?
Judah: Yes! (Dad chimed in and says, “We aren’t positive about that”)
KDG: Are you a member of any disc golf clubs or organizations?
Judah: Yes, PDGA 82877. I’m a Kids Disc Golf Supporter.
KDG: Do you have any sponsorships?
Judah: I don’t have any, but my dad is talking L64 and Dynamic Discs.
KDG: Do you hope to be professional one day and play in the pro events?
Judah: Yes….Y-E-S (He emphatically spelled out “yes”)
KDG: Do you prefer playing with other Junior players or adults better? What do you think?
Judah: Adults. Cause, I just like learning from them and looking at them seeing what they do.
KDG: Why do you like disc golf?
Judah: Since I was two I just saw one disc and took it with my first shot and then boom I just liked it right away and it became my passion!
KDG: What would you tell someone who has never heard of disc golf before? Why should they play?
Judah: It’s a good sport to like interact with people and learn how they throw discs and teach them how to throw a disc, and it’s a good sport to play. It’s not like basketball or football. It’s different. It’s like ball golf a little but it’s with a disc and a basket instead of a ball and hole.The other sports are all used with balls. Disc golf is not used with a ball. It’s used with an aero dynamic thing…it’s an aero dynamic thing that you can throw really fast.
KDG: What’s one course you’ve heard of or seen in a video that you would love to play if you had the chance?
Judah: The Memorial course. Fountains Hills. It has a lot of technical shots there that like you throw over water. Ummmm…that’s a techincial shot like hole one.
KDG: Do you have any aces?
Judah: No, Not yet! I have got really close to the baskets, but no aces yet.
KDG: What weight discs are mainly in your bag? Light weight discs or standard 160-170’s
Judah: (Dad answered that he used a mixture of weights and putts with a full weight soft Challenger). I can putt with it really good.
KDG: Do you throw sidearm or backhand more? Or does it just depend?
Judah: Backhand, but I throw a flick sometimes too. I don’t throw thumbers yet.
KDG: Is there anything you would like to tell other junior players out there?
Judah: Ummmm… Put a disc in your hand and you’ll crush it!