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).