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Evolution Of East African Disc Golf Continues With Zambia Open

An 18-hole course in Zambia has gone from dream to reality in a short period of time. Photo: Corie Thuma

The last time we shared about disc golf in Zambia, staff member Elem Katambo had just returned from the first PDGA-sanctioned tournament in Africa, the Ethiopian Open hosted by Yohannes Desalegn. Katambo shared his experience with the community in Macha, but also shared with the Eagles Wings Disc Golf staff his vision of adding nine holes to the existing course and hosting the first PDGA event in Zambia.

Now, his dream is becoming a reality.

Eagles Wings and a team of 12 disc golfers will travel to the East African nation in January, spending 10 days to assist with the installation of the second half of the course before running the Zambia Open, a PDGA C-Tier. The crew will include 2015 United States Women’s Disc Golf Champion Hannah Leatherman, 2018 EDGE Award winner Dustin Leatherman, and a mix of disc golfers representing the United States and Canada. The staff in Zambia is already working on the course design, building baskets, and preparing for a great event.

One of the exciting components of this trip, in particular, is the opportunity to partner with Desalegn and John Luetzow, the duo responsible for the Ethiopian Open who helped plant the seed with Katambo and have been nothing but supportive. The Zambia Open will take place the week before the Ethiopian Open, which allows players to participate in both events of the inaugural African Disc Golf Tour.

In addition to helping build the event, Eagles Wings is focused on is the long-term sustainability of disc golf in the countries we work in. While everyone is excited about running a PDGA tournament, the question we are asking ourselves is, “How can we provide the staff there the greatest opportunity to share the game of disc golf with their community now and in the future?” One way this question will be answered is by bringing aboard the first Eagles Wings international disc golf intern, Esther Schultz.


Elem Katambo (far left) with junior disc golfers in Zambia. Photo: Corie Thuma

The Leathermans met Schultz at last summer’s PDGA Junior World Disc Golf Championships, and her initial plans to travel to Africa to attend a missionary school fell through due to the area becoming too dangerous. After sharing about the trip and possible internships, Schultz agreed to spend not just 10 days, but a full three months in Zambia. During that time, she will work with the team there to teach and help implement disc golf programs that can run well beyond her departure.

We feel the future is extremely bright not just for disc golf in Zambia, but in all of Africa, and we are thrilled to play a small role in that. While this project requires the effort of many people for whom we are incredibly grateful, we have to make a special mention of Innova Champion Discs. The company has made a significant investment into the entire African Disc Golf Tour, and its generosity is taking the project to a whole new level.

All are welcome to come and play in this historic event, but if you can’t make the trip you can still contribute. There are options to sponsor a local player, a hole, and more, and in exchange for your generosity, you will receive some Zambia Open swag as a thank you. You can find out more information about the event and sponsorship opportunities at Eagles Wings Disc Golf.

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