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Seven More PDGA Innovation Grant Winners Announced


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

The next round of PDGA Innovation Grants will be awarded later this summer. More details about how to submit a grant application will be released in the weeks to come. For the moment, we are delighted and proud to announce, in no particular order, the next seven recipients of the PDGA Innovation Grants, as told in the words of ther applicants:

Ivan Jakovljevic #96981 - Belgrade, Serbia

Free Public Training Sessions in Serbia

Team ‘Frizibijak’ (Frisbeeiac) stands for Serbian Disc Golf, pioneers with an idea to organize a series of free public training sessions at various urban locations for anyone to attend. The project’s main goal is to present disc golf to a country that had very little exposure to this wonderful sport outside of Belgrade, where sessions and amateur tournaments have been ongoing as of late. There are still many people in other cities of Serbia waiting for their chance to throw a disc for the first time.

Training sessions will consist of:

  • Introduction to disc golf basics
  • Proper warm-up and games
  • Coaching and movement corrections
  • Short-distance putting contests
  • Team relays
  • 'Around the world game' contestants 
  • Long distance contests
  • Course tryouts

Sessions will benefit any interested party, regardless of age, but would also be valuable to the rising number of active players in the local community who will be taking part in official events in years to come. The PDGA Innovation Grant will provide funds for equipment and will speed up the process of promoting disc golf in Serbia.

Andy Parkison #41017 - Visalia, California, USA

California Disc Golf Junior Championships

The third annual California Disc Golf Junior Championships will take place in October of 2018 and looks to continue the trend of growing the largest 100% FREE juniors-only disc golf event in the world. In 2017, the CDGJC included enormous players packs for the 138 kids that competed across 11 divisions, all while giving them the experience of taking part in a professionally run, PDGA-sanctioned event. More information about the 2018 event can be found on the California Disc Golf Junior Championships III Facebook page.

Jeremy Ryder #86351 - Waxhaw, North Carolina, USA

Waxhaw Community Beginner Clinic

Jeremy Ryder teaches at Waxhaw Elementary School in Waxhaw, North Carolina, where he also has an after-school disc golf team. In the last three years, he has built an 18-hole beginner disc golf course on the Waxhaw Elementary School property. Jeremy plans to share the course with the community through a series of free Saturday disc golf clinics in May, offering a crash course in disc golf to anyone who wishes to attend. Everyone who comes will learn the basics of disc golf, be given a free disc, and then be set loose on the Waxhaw course to try out their new skills.

Ralph Pilsbury #94506 - Skowhegan, Maine, USA

A Disc For Every Kid

The elementary schools in Ralph's district educate their students about activities that help them to "Connect, Create, and Move". These "CCM" days are held twice throughout the school year. Ralph has used these days for the last seven years to teach kids how to play disc golf, including tips on safety, stance, grips, and how to throw. The kids then break into groups and experience the thrill of disc golf. A Disc For Every Kid will provide each student under the age of 12 with a disc that they can keep. A majority of courses in Maine are pay-to-play, but generally kids under 12 get in free. A Disc For Every Kid will ensure that not only can they play for free, but they can throw a disc at no cost as well.

Adam Smelko - Kane, Pennslyvania, USA

Kane Area High School Disc Golf Implementation Project

Kane Area High School in northwestern Pennslyvania currently teaches disc golf in some of the smaller classes using a movable disc golf course that is set up in various spots around the campus. The PDGA Innovation Grant will allow for disc golf to be extended to the larger classes, which would not have been possible without the grant due to inefficient amounts of discs and targets. By doubling the number of targets, the school will also be able to accommodate and develop the skill sets of individual groups of students. With the addition of midrange discs and increased numbers of drivers and putters, the students will have a better understanding of how and why different discs are used, which allows them to appreciate and enjoy the game even more. By increasing participation at the high school level, in addition to expanding at the school, the community should see more use of the local off-campus course, Milton Craven Disc Golf Course at Evergreen Park.

Jaime Giangrosso - Trussville, Alabama, USA

Cahaba Huskies Disc Golf Program

The Cahaba Huskies Disc Golf Program will be a physical education unit taught to kindergarten through fifth-grade students throughout the school year at Cahaba Elementary School in Trussville, Alabama. The funding from the PDGA Innovation Grant will buy the school collapsible disc golf targets, golf discs, mini-marker discs, ultimate discs, curriculum, and an education DVD for the students to watch during class. Cahaba Elementary students will now be able to learn the exciting game of disc golf during their physical education classes with official disc golf equipment. This opportunity will introduce our students to disc golf and help them improve their skills throughout the unit and throughout their elementary school career.

Not only will this program be offered to our students, but Cahaba Elementary will also extend the opportunity to play disc golf to the parents in a monthly after-school program they will host known as Family Fitness Night. Once a month, families come to experience what their children are learning in physical education class and/or just exercise as a family. One of the program goals is to promote family fitness and to encourage lifelong physical activity. The school is within a mile of our community disc golf course and the hope is that by exposing this game to the students during class, they will be encouraged to begin playing disc golf on the local course.

Edward D Carfolit - Columbia, South Carolina, USA

Disc Golf After School

Columbia High School already hosts a weekly disc golf club after school. However, the majority of CHS students have had little to no exposure to disc sports despite growing up near dozens of fantastic disc golf courses in the greater Columbia area. The aim of CHS Disc Golf After School is to give students a healthy alternative to traditional sports, along with a free midrange disc and a putter. The CHS campus is large enough to set up three baskets, and in the future Edward and his team hope to organize weekend meet-ups at a local Columbia disc golf course.

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