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Board of Directors Doubles Number of Innovation Grant Winners and Funds Awarded

Today, we have not one but two exciting announcements for the disc golf world! Not only have the latest winners of the PDGA Innovation Grant Program been selected, but we are proud to roll out a much-anticipated change in the structure of the program itself.  Starting with this latest batch of applicants and continuing indefinitely for the PDGA Innovation Grant Program, the number of grant applicants to be awarded has been doubled from five to 10 and the maximum potential grant amount has been increased from $500 to $1,000!

The PDGA Innovation Grant Program was created to increase and promote the awareness of the sport of disc golf and the Professional Disc Golf Association. Applicants are encouraged to think outside of the box to develop innovative and unique programs which will promote the sport and increase participation. The grants are awarded biannually with application deadlines on June 1 and December 1. The increase in the number of grants awarded and the amount of funds up for grabs means that this program alone has the potential of redistributing $20,000 per year towards growing the sport.

With the popularity of the sport steadily on the rise, it’s no surprise to see a steady increase in the number of creative minds with exciting ideas. “The Innovation Grant Program has reached a tipping point. In response to the quantity and quality of grant applications we've received recently, we've doubled the number of potential grants we will award each round, doubled the maximum dollar amount for each grant, and streamlined the application process," said PDGA Board Member Justin Menickelli, one of the driving forces behind the program’s overhaul.

June Deadline Quickly Approaching

An unprecedented 21 applications were received by the PDGA office prior to the December 1, 2016 deadline for consideration.  The grants are typically awarded in the month that follows the application deadline and we apologize for the delay. However, we believe that the ends justify the means. If a two-month hold on awarding the December 2016 applicants meant we would be able to double the number of grants, it was worth the wait.

As of today, we are currently accepting applications for the June 1st deadline. Submitting your idea can now be done quickly and easily using the new PDGA Innovation Grant Program online application. If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to the Innovation Grants Program Director.

December 2016 Innovation Grant Winners

And now, without further ado, we are proud to announce for the first time that listed below are the 10 PDGA Innovation Grant Program winners from the December deadline!

The Physics of Disc Golf

Neil Dabb

The physics of a flying disc was a mystery for a very long time until someone divided the process into two parts. A flying disc has the cross-section of a wing, combined with the stability of a gyroscope (a rotating object).

Interest in science and hobbies are ignited at a very early age. The outreach program of the StarHouse discovery group has as one of its goals the development of an interest in science and technology among children of elementary school age. This is also the age when young people become interested in playing various sports. By incorporating the physics of how a Frisbee or flying disc flies, we hope to get young people interested in science, as well as a sport (disc golf) that they can enjoy for a lifetime.

Grant money would be used to develop two modules or learning activities demonstrating the physics of flying discs. The first would be on winged flight, and how the flying disc profile is the same as that used on airplanes and was developed by the Wright Brothers. The second would demonstrate how gyroscopic motion stabilizes the flight of the disc as well as other uses for this type of motion. The PDGA could use these lessons as a fun and educational way to promote the sport of disc golf.

Women’s Disc Golf Instructional Videos

Valarie Jenkins #17495

When we asked, "What would you like to see the PDGA Women's Committee work on?" there was an overwhelming response for instructional videos designed for women. There is an endless supply of men giving disc golf instruction, but there are key elements that need to be addressed in teaching a woman how to play and we want to focus on that. We would use these funds to finance a videographer and/or an editor to piece together a series of videos specifically geared toward female disc golfers.

We would cover the basics of throwing drivers, mid-ranges, and upshots, as well as how to build your mental game and even a video on how to run a women's league or women's tournament. These videos could be featured on the PDGA YouTube channel to be accessed by all disc golfers and PDGA members. This not only would create more content but enable the PDGA to stay relevant in standing behind the growth of the sport, specifically for female competitors.

California Disc Golf Junior Championships

Andy Parkinson #41017

The purpose of the CDGJC is to introduce disc golf and the PDGA to kids. This juniors-only event has always been and will always be 100% free for the junior competitors and comes with well-stocked players pack, including discs donated by several different disc manufacturers. In 2016 we saw a turnout of 68 kids with a 65/35 split between boys and girls, respectively.

Elk Meadows Eagles Soar with Disc Golf

Grant Mattox

Our project quite simply is to expand the reach of disc golf into our local elementary school. This will be accomplished by acquiring disc golf baskets for use in our elementary physical education classroom. These baskets will also be available for use by classroom teachers and during school recesses. And, If the project is successful, the baskets could also be available to loan to other schools in our community. By providing the equipment to other schools, they also would be able to expose their students to the sport of disc golf.

In spite of high-stakes testing in "core" areas, Elk Meadow Elementary strives to consider the whole child and provide educational opportunities with that in mind. We try to provide a wide variety of experiences and disc golf falls squarely in that area. Our community is blessed with a disc golf community that includes professionals Nate Doss and Valarie Jenkins as well as a few local courses. Therefore, we believe it makes sense to try and provide an exposure to this lifetime sport. Funding from this grant will be used for disc golf baskets based on recommendations of Nate and Valarie with the current plan being to purchase Innova Discatcher Travelers.

Disc Golf Scout Day

Dr. Lee Nickles

The objective of this unique project is to educate the scouts of Pack #914 on the fitness, health, and sportsmanship opportunities that playing the lifetime sport of disc golf provides. We will provide an exciting and fun workshop for 40 scouts and their families and teach the basic skills, rules, strategies and etiquette needed to play disc golf. We will provide participants with discs so they can enjoy disc golf for a lifetime.

Disc golf aligns with several "Adventure Loops" which are how Cub Scouts earn their rank award each year. Scouts will also have the opportunity to earn a PDGA patch to display on their uniforms. (There is an area on the scout uniform to display non-scout patches and emblems). The Scout Oath, Promises, Law, and Outdoor Code align strongly with the Disc Golfer's Code. Scouts promise to keep themselves physically strong, mentally awake, honest, trustworthy, and conservation minded. The scouts will learn and abide by the Disc Golfer's Code to earn a special patch and sticker.

The Battle at Burke Lake –Women and Juniors Developmental League

Mike “Sully” Sullivan #68783

The Battle at Burke League will be a PDGA-sanctioned singles league hosted at Burke Lake Park, a beginner-friendly course in Fairfax Station, Virginia. The league will be sanctioned by the largest disc golf club in Virginia (a 501(c)(3) organization), the Northern Virginia Disc Golf Association.

Participating in the league will only cost $1 and will only be open to women and junior divisions. All participants will receive a PDGA rulebook, a custom hot-stamped disc, and a mini marker. The purpose is twofold:

  • To provide a competitive atmosphere utilizing the Official Rules of Disc Golf that is eminently welcoming to women and junior participants.
  • To provide the PDGA with a model to apply the principles of the PDGA’s Competition Endowment Program to PDGA League singles play.

CHAINging Our Youth

Kevin Tyburski #51742

This project would be an outreach of disc golf to youth in the area, primarily focusing on around 7-14 years of age. Though common in highly populated areas or more disc golf driven areas; it's not in our community, but we're working on it and this would be a step in that direction. The project would be directed toward youth interested in sports but unable to afford traditional sports. It's also a push by our newly developed club to get the word of disc golf injected into the community.

The event will be a one-day free event for youth in the area. The first TBD number of players to attend will receive free discs provided by way of the grant money and club funds. If more players attend discs will be provided by the club, club members with the option to purchase them at the end at a discounted rate.

We'll have demonstrations on proper technique on throwing, demos on putting, rules of the game, player etiquette, as well as additional demos by local players and pros. We'll also have some fun games geared toward the youth learning the sport with prizes to be awarded.

Disc Golf for Topeka Homeschoolers

Lee Allen #66604

Disc Golf for Topeka Homeschoolers will provide free discs, starter bags, and other equipment needed to 15-20 homeschool students in the Topeka, Kansas area. I have volunteered to teach a free class in the spring of this year about the sport as well. Homeschool children are a great target demographic for disc golf, as many homeschool parents are constantly on the hunt for hands-on opportunities that their kids can get involved with. The class will be conducted twice a week in the evenings, and on the weekends, as well.

Increasing Disc Golf in Hudson Elementary Schools

Moira Brookshire

Hudson Elementary School's Physical Education Department is implementing the sport, disc golf, into its physical education curriculum. We are adding disc golf to the physical education curriculum this year. Hudson's main focus is to promote participation in the sport of disc golf to encourage physical fitness for a lifetime activity.

Hudson has the support of the local club in Hickory, Sawmills, & Hudson North Carolina UFO to help increase the knowledge of the sport and help promote disc golf in the community. If our program receives the $500 grant we will purchase a basic package from Educational Disc Golf Experience, Inc., which includes a standards-based curriculum, an instructional DVD, age appropriate golf discs, portable targets, and additional disc sports items to support the curriculum.

This will allow us to meet state and national standards for PE instruction and give the students a proper introduction to the lifetime sport by using regulation equipment. This is the first time Hudson's elementary school students will be introduced to the sport of disc golf.


Eddie Diaz #75131

Discing4Kids is a volunteer, no cost, low impact program designed to teach our youth about the fundamental skills of disc golf. We have created an educational curriculum where we are able to encourage a healthy lifestyle with daily exercise, nutritional balance, a mentoring program which teaches leadership skills, self-confidence, accountability, self-discipline, safety, and environmental awareness. Our program is involved with over 250 kids per week, year-round, at various elementary schools in the Flagstaff United School District’s FACTS after school program. Our program started in May of 2015 with just 25 kids. We have since put discs into the hands of over 1000 children.

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