Grow The Sport | Kids Disc Golf
Grow the sport! Or should I say #growthesport? If you spend any time with avid disc golfers, you know it won’t be long before you hear someone talk about growing the sport. And why not? Growing the sport that you get so much enjoyment from just makes sense. Growing the sport exposes others to that same level of enjoyment. Growing the sport means more people playing, more course options, more products and product availability, more competition, and more media coverage.
So, how do we grow the sport? There are as many answers to that question as there are people with opinions. To me the simplest answer is to just get more people playing.
This can be done in numerous ways but one of the most influential, and rewarding in my opinion, is to get the kids involved. And I’m not the only one with that opinion. If you regularly listen to and interact with disc golf media outlets or engage with some of our leading pros you will hear this echoed time and again.
During an engaging discussion between 2016 USDGC Champ Jeremy Koling and top touring pro Paul Ulibarri they talk about just this thing. In Episode 4 of “2 Pros and an Average Joe” (typically filled with insight and laced with humor) you can hear them discuss their ideas on the exciting future of the game.
Koling says “One of the things that is so exciting when we go to Europe is seeing all the kids playing the game… the kids are involved with the culture, they’re wearing the disc golf gear, they’re in packs of kids their same age, it’s the cool thing to do.” Ulibarri emphasizes the opportunity and importance of getting this sport into the schools. He says, “It is a sport, it’s an activity. If you put it in the schools, it will grow. You’re getting these kids outside, they’re exercising, there are so many places to go do it, it’s free, all that stuff. And that’s where the potential is to me.” Koling then continues by saying “If that is instilled in children it is going to flourish as they get older… That’s one of the biggest thing that Europe has on America right now. They have the kids involved. That’s why we’re seeing so many young talents coming out of Europe.” He then continues to talk about the younger American talent we’re also seeing such as Eagle McMahon. Don’t underestimate the next generation of disc golfers and their talent! They then go on to talk about some intriguing ideas around disc weight, disc size, and basket size for kids. Give it a listen!
In a recent podcast by Ultiworld Disc Golf (hosted by Steve Hill and Charlie Eisenhood) they interviewed 2012 World Champion and 2016 Player of the Year Catrina Allen. In a discussion about how to bring more players in the sport she spends some time talking about how to engage women, but then emphasizes her belief in the importance of growing the sport with kids by getting it into the schools (starting at 25:30).
Eisenhood then simply states “I think more people should be talking about getting disc golf into the hands of kids.” Allen continues to talk about her 4-year-old nephew and how fun it is to have him out on the course with her. By not focusing on the kids we find ourselves working from the top down to grow the sport which she suggests is backwards, rather than try and work from the bottom up which makes more sense. After the interview with Allen concluded, Charlie and Steve carried on the discussion for roughly 20 more minutes and raised some excellent points. They clearly emphasized the importance of engaging kids in the sport if we really want to see long term established growth. Give it a listen!
In the PDGA Women’s Symposium broadcast by Smashboxx TV you can hear several of the presenters talk about getting kids involved in the sport (which ultimately also grows women’s engagement in the sport). In Episode 60 of the Disc Golf Answer Man (jump to 33:44) you’ll get the joy of hearing several kids from Amsterdam asking questions to 2010 World Champion Eric McCabe and hear Bobby Brown say “It’s really cool hearing from kids that are learning to play disc golf.” No surprise coming from the DD camp who is set to hold the first standalone Junior Worlds competition in 2018.
During an interview with 4-time World Champ Valarie Jenkins on the Disc Golf Show, the host Nick states “I’m thinking there should be some sort of Junior’s tour too.” We at Kids Disc Golf agree and are doing just that!
And the list actually goes on and on. If your instinct alone doesn’t confirm the opportunity to grow the sport through kids playing disc golf, then some of these snippets might help get you there.
Not much surpasses watching the kid’s excitement when they throw a drive longer than they have before, or watching their astonishment when they sink a thirty-foot putt. At Kids Disc Golf, we believe we can play a major part in this growth by offering premier competitive opportunities geared specifically towards kids.
Straight from the Kids Disc Golf website, “At Kids Disc Golf we believe the future is now. This means we aren't going to sit around and wait for disc golf to become a major sport before offering premier level disc golf experiences to kids. In fact, we are trying to catch up with everything kids are doing in the world of disc golf. We have a passion to provide competitive opportunities to Junior disc golfers everywhere. We believe that one day disc golf will be a legitimate option for a child when choosing a school sport. We also believe that focusing our time and attention on this new generation will help bring the sport of disc golf to a whole new level by giving kids a genuine opportunity to become seasoned and well trained in disc golf competition which will in turn produce higher competition!”
Let’s do this!