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2017 PDGA Innovation Grant Winners Announced - Round 1

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 PDGA office received 26 applications for consideration for this wave of the grants, which were recently doubled in both funding and number of winners in a decision made by the PDGA Board of Directors in 2016.

We're delighted and proud to announce, in no particular order, the ten recipients of the PDGA Innovation Grants!

Josh Woods #65964, Morgantown, West Virginia

Parked: A Disc Golf Think Tank

Social scientists have studied almost everything under the sun. Yet, the total amount of attention given to disc golf by social
scientists falls somewhere between very little and none. The primary goal of Parked: A Disc Golf Think Tank is to provide the sport with
the careful analysis it needs and deserves. The purpose of Parked is to publish research and analysis that will provide more demographics
for disc golf. For example –

  • How many people play disc golf?
  • Is the sport growing? If so, why is it growing?
  • Is it growing faster in some regions than others? Why?
  • How does installing a new disc golf course affect the surrounding community?
  • Does it increase outdoor recreation? Reduce crime? Provide public revenue?
  • How is disc golf portrayed in the mainstream news media?
  • How is news coverage of the sport connected to its growth?
  • What, if anything, is constraining the growth of disc golf?
  • How relationships within and between disc golf communities and parks departments might be improved?

The goal of Parked is to encourage thoughtful writers from both academia and the disc golf community to answer these and several other important questions. By creating a network of disc golf experts, Parked will provide a dynamic environment for intellectual inquiry that produces specialized knowledge. With support from a PDGA Innovation Grant, Parked will solicit article submissions from leading disc golf experts and academic scholars. The grant will allow Parked to pay contributors a small honorarium for their work. Although private companies have offered to sponsor Parked, the publication is determined to run the organization as a non­profit, educational blog, completely free from product advertising, and dependent only on associations like the PDGA and other funding agencies in the government, education and non-profit sectors.

Mark Verrochi #41379, Valley Center, California

Tournament for Tournament Directors

The event is called Tournament for Tournament Directors as the purpose is entirely geared toward helping people with hosting/running tournaments. The goal of this project is to bring together tournament directors from and around Southern California to a seminar (somewhat similar to the Director's Cup held on the east coast each year). One significant difference is the event is not only for people that have been tournament directors in the past but also for volunteers and players that have shown interest in running tournaments and being more involved. The event consists of four “rounds” as follows:

Round 1: Pre-Event Planning

  • Sanctioning and tour standards
  • Coordination with local PDGA coordinator
  • Working with local authorities / permits / reserving disc golf facility
  • Event Format

Round 2: Player Experience

  • Obtaining sponsors
  • Course layout and design
  • Player’s Packs
  • Providing value

Round 3: The Main Event

  • Tournament central
  • Scoreboard / scorecards
  • Participants will play 9 holes of disc golf
  • Checking and uploading scores
  • Handling the unexpected

Round 4: Event Closeout

  • How to conduct awards ceremony and raffle
  • Thanking sponsors
  • Payments of fees and submitting TD report
  • Lessons learned
  • Questions / Comments

Anthony Cochenour, Mt Prospect, Illinois

One Hope Disc Golf Course

Anthony works at a Non­Profit Residential Treatment/Day School. The youth involved in the residential program are in DCFS custody and have had a tough life dealing with issues like neglect and abuse. They are boys range from 8­-18. The Day Treatment school which is where this started are 4­th-12th graders. These youth are mostly from the residential but also come from area schools to which they've been removed due to various reasons. What we have done is made a nine hole disc golf course on our property last year. We supplied those students with discs and bags but we are asking for the funding to help continue the teaching and enjoyment of disc golf. The school has supplied the current students with discs, but we would like to have enough discs to have a "school" supply and also be able to give those youth that love and enjoy disc golf their very own discs to take with them when they either leave the residential services or graduate. Since last year, myself and the teacher whom I work have developed a few youth who love to play, and we would like to continue this.

The youth while at school has learned that Disc Golf is a fun recreational sport that allows them to be outside and enjoy nature. The young people who live in our residential then are able to take this knowledge and use it after school and on the weekends. Many of these youth are from the inner city of Chicago and have never seen Disc Golf and don’t even know what it is. We have encouraged these youth to try something new, and a lot enjoy it, especially when we take them of trips to few local courses we have in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. The funding and resources would allow us to continue future waves of youth into learning and hopefully enjoying this great recreational sport.

Dominic Schaner #49698, Sebastopol, California

Self Worth & Self Expression Through Disc Golf

This project, Self Worth & Self Expression Through Disc Golf, will bring the sport of disc golf to at­risk youth, empowering them as individuals and allowing for personal growth in self-worth & self-expression. This project, Self Worth & Self Expression Through Disc Golf, will be implemented at TLC Child and Family Services ( Based in beautiful Sonoma County, TLC Child and Family Services offers a continuum of evidence based treatment and relationship­focused care to youth and families. TLC’s Residential Treatment program offers trauma informed support to high school aged youth experiencing emotional and academic challenges, providing a safe, therapeutic environment that embraces each individual’s unique strengths. TLC’s main campus is also home to Journey High School, a certified non­public and private school where students receive uniquely tailored instruction in a normalized high school environment. Students are provided clinical support via individual, family and group therapy from our skilled Mental Health Team to enhance academic success. For families wishing to adopt and, or open their homes to a child in need, TLC provides Resource Family Services to provide children (from birth to 18 years old) with loving homes. For older teens, transitioning into adulthood, TLC offers a Transitional Housing program, which provides safe and affordable housing, independent living skills and supports services to young adults.

This project will introduce an often neglected and silenced population of our society to the sport of disc golf. By doing so, the sport will grow. In turn, and through disc golf, at-risk you will grow as individuals. By playing disc golf, at-risk youth will learn to be self-reliant in a safe space (playing disc golf) and develop authentic expressions of self-worth and identity. TLC Child and Family Services has agreed to purchase the disc golf discs if this PDGA Innovation Grant is successfully funded. Also, TLC Child and Family Services purchases Sonoma County Park Passes every year, which will allow at-risk youth access to the local disc golf courses.

Zoe Andyke #39504, Eugene, Oregon

Central Linn Elementary, Middle & High School Equipment

Multiple times throughout the year, Zoey Andyke teaches Disc Golf to the students of Halsey / Brownsville Oregon. Dena Weber, a PE teacher at Central Linn Elementary, contacted and scheduled time with Zoey to teach her kindergarten through 6th-grade students about Disc Golf basics this week. On their lunch break on May 30th, Dena took Zoey down to the middle/ high school and introduced me to the two PE teachers there. While Zoey was there, she was able to schedule time with Emily Shear, a PE teacher at high school, to bring equipment and come back to teach all of the 7th-­12th grades PE classes in the fall: October 10th­13th. As the conversation continued, the two contacts spoke about their shared PE budget only being $500 for the entire year! These two schools, which represent more than just two small agricultural communities in Oregon, are excited about teaching Disc Golf as a regular curriculum option, and helping talk to community members and other resources about getting a course, and desire to teach in their schools.

Valarie Jenkins #17495, Bend, Oregon

Women's Disc Golf Instruction Videos ­ Funding Round 2

The ladies of the PDGA Women's Committee are looking for additional funds to help create women focused instructional videos. These videos would promote the PDGA and the PDGA Women's Committee by providing women with more information to enhance their disc golf experience as well as their game.

With the emergence of support for women disc golfers, there is a need for more instructional videos to encourage more women to play. 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 cover the basics of throwing drives, mid­ranges, and up shots, 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. The PDGA Women’s Committee received the PDGA grant this past winter for $500, but we need additional funds to create these videos. We would use these funds to pay videographers and an editor to piece together a series of videos specifically geared toward female disc golfers, and these videos will be featured on the PDGA YouTube channel soon. 

Ingrid Harrald, Homer, Arkansas

Homer Flex Disc Golf Activity Program

Homer Flex High School is looking to incorporate disc golf into its physical education program as well as expanding student interaction and community involvement. Flex is a small alternative school located within walking distance to Jack Gist Community Park with a Disc Golf Course. Flex students are currently very interested in playing for their physical education credits. This sport has been encouraging to the Title­one students, as it is available to all skill levels and is free to play (besides discs). Disc golf encourages the students to get outside and introduces a healthy activity to youth that may not have many opportunities for other price­restrictive after-school activities. 

Unfortunately, as a school we do not own any discs so are scrambling to borrow them from our local disc golfers every time we want to play. The local club has been incredibly supportive and has loaned us some discs, however as the student interest grows, we are looking to grow the program. Our school vision is to purchase enough sets of discs for all students to play. We would like to enlist Patrick Miller and Edan Badajos (Moose Pretzel Golf Course Owner) to assist students via clinics on techniques and strategies to the sport. We would also like to purchase a portable basket or target for students to use and practice with during lunch and school breaks outside. Gradually we would like to incorporate the sport into classroom curriculum in subjects such as science and math.

Charles Brown #78961, Denton, Texas

Denton Youth/Beginners Club

Denton Youth/Beginners Club will focus on the growth and promotion of disc golf for the Denton, TX area. The club will help target middle schools, high schools, churches and senior centers in the community. Money from the grant will be used for equipment to travel from organization to organization within the community to set up a temporary course and run clinics. By traveling to schools, clubs, churches, etc., we are more likely to introduce the sport to a greater audience. Right now, Denton has one disc golf course that is in a sparsely populated area and only one shop that sells discs. Unless someone goes out of their way, or they already know about the sport, they are not introduced to this great sport.

Stan Balke #28703, Eugene, Missouri

Introduction of Disc Golf to Special Olympics

Stan is introducing disc golf to Special Olympics in the state of Missouri, use it as a pilot program, then eventually get disc golf in Special Olympics nationally. His approach is to showcase disc golf to the Special Olympics in Missouri. Showing how the sport is a low impact, non­contact sport, that is inexpensive to individuals.

Stan is currently working and has been in contact with Susan Shaffer, Training Director of Special Olympics of Missouri. Last year, a small group of golfers gave a 4­day clinic to about 85 Special Olympians, the week of June 20­-23rd in Mexico, MO.Starting with the basics of disc golf, how to play, putting, etc. The second & third day we practiced the putting again and added throwing drives. On day 4, a small course at the training camp was set up. The looks on the faces of these special athletes were amazing. They all loved the sport, and all that participated could play with minimal problems, some are playing quite well.

Special Olympics is building a new Training For Life Campus in Jefferson City, Mo., slated to be finished in 2018. There was talk of including some disc golf baskets on the grounds of the center, but this is still to be determined.

John Reid #55966, Monroe, Georgia

Camp Sunshine Clinic

Camp Sunshine is a Camp for kids with Cancer in Georgia on August 26th, September 16th, and October 28th. John is taking a team of disc Golfers down to camp and run a clinic working with the kids this is my 2nd year doing the clinic. We work with kids with that have no handicaps, and some have handicaps. My goal is to reach the kids and give them all at least one disc so they can have their own. It is gratifying to work with the kids and to teach them about the sport of Disc Golf.

The PDGA office wishes to thank everyone who applied for this round of grants. Applicants who were not chosen this time are encouraged to re-submit their applications for consideration in 2017. Ten additional grants will be awarded in mid-December of 2017 with an application deadline of December 1. Information, guidelines, and an application can be found on the PDGA Innovation Grants page.


Several of these projects are very worthy especially the ones geared toward helping disenfranchised youth. It may not grow the sport but it helps kids gain self worth and get some exercise instead of playing video games. The think tank may be constructive but the opposition I've been receiving from the "get off my grass" crowd is not helping to grow the sport. In fact many of the people I play with have turned away from the PDGA because of these people. They do not want to understand a huge problem exists with the rules. The group's I deal with have even printed stickers that say "It's called Golf in these parts" in response to the get off my grass crowd belittling the Folf crowd. Which by the way outnumber disc golfers. That is a fact get off my grassheads.

Submitted by bryanzera on

It would be great if we could get some contact information for these programs. There's one close by that I'd like to offer to help with!