Scenic views abound on Åland, where travelers will soon be able to flock for a flurry of disc golf activity. Photo: DiscGolfPark
It sounds like the stuff disc golf dreams are made of: Sixteen disc golf courses packed into an archipelago half the size of Rhode Island, all nestled conveniently between Stockholm, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland.
Junior disc golfers train and compete daily at the Macha Disc Golf Course. Photo: Esther Schultz
Imagine a place where, every day, the disc golf course is packed with kids eager to learn the game. Imagine that every day a full-time professional on staff trains these kids, one age group at a time, instilling technique as well as dedication and discipline.
One could ask: Is this place home to a future world champion?
Students weld baskets in Nicaragua, where disc golf has grown with the help of the Marco Polo Program. Photo: Jason Hendrickson
The 2010s saw exponential growth for both disc golf and the PDGA. We’re looking back on a phenomenal 10 years in our Decade on Display series, where we reflect and reminisce about the sport’s successes both on and off the course. Keep an eye out for more through the end of 2019.
Paul McBeth (left), Gregg Barsby, Catrina Allen, and Henna Blomroos celebrate after the 2017 European Open. Photo: Eino Ansio | Spin 18
NOKIA, Finland -- The European Open will take center stage this week as 2019's first professional PDGA Major, with 144 competitors ready to tackle "The Beast" for the first time since 2017. If you can't be in the crowd of thousands here at Nokia DiscGolfPark for European disc golf's most prestigious affair over the next four days, there are still plenty of options to keep track of the action.
Here's everything you need to know to follow the European Open:
Brazil is a country of great and striking contrast. Across the crowded cities and sprawling countryside, the mansions creep up on the favelas, or vice versa, often separated only by a road or a containing wall. The jungle engulfs the habitation, and the churning sea of humanity breaks in crashing waves over coastal mountains and hills to leave ghettos that cling to near vertical planes through marvelous feats of ingenuity and the sheer structural integrity of the human spirit.
Singapore Sling Tournament Director Lance DuBos, left, gathers tee signs for this weekend's event. Photo: Brian Hoeniger
This weekend is looming as a historic milestone for disc golf in southeast Asia, as the first PDGA Tour events will be held on the island city-state of Singapore and in neighboring Malaysia, two countries only separated by the one kilometer-wide Singapore Strait.
A scene from the opening ceremony of the Xiamen Beach Ultimate Open. Photo: Brian Hoeniger
When we last checked in from overseas, the PDGA and Prodigy Team contingent in China had arrived back in Shanghai by bullet train. They then took to a sports field at an experimental middle school in the country’s largest district to introduce disc golf to teachers and students, who were already learning ultimate Frisbee. The school’s 350 to 400 students spectated from the sidelines and oohed and ahhedas Will Schusterick and Dave Greenwell launched midranges and drivers the length of the pitch and beyond.
Three-time United States Disc Golf Champion Will Schusterick demonstrates proper forehand technique for a group of university students in China. Photo: Brian Hoeniger
On Monday the disc golf ambassadors to China and their China Disc Golf Center hosts sped north from Suzhou to Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province, traveling the 800 kilometers (497 miles) by bullet train in under four hours, with cruising speeds that reached 305 kph (190 mph).
Our visit to this metropolis of 6 million was hosted by Mr. Wong, vice president of the sports department at Shandong University, one of the country’s 15 double-A rated academic institutions, and Mr. Lee, a local sports organizer.
Songqing Guo took fifth place in the Advanced division at China's first PDGA-sanctioned tournament Sunday. Photo: Brian Hoeniger
Sunday marked a milestone in the evolution of disc golf, when the first PDGA-sanctioned tour event was held in the People’s Republic of China. Surely “Steady” Ed Headrick was smiling down on the proceedings from his eternal flight, knowing that the sport he formalized some 40 years ago was now taking off in the world’s most populous nation.
Disc Golf Hall of Fame member Dave Greenwell demonstrates proper putting technique in China. Photo: Brian Hoeniger
Thursday morning Team Prodigy members Will Schusterick and Dave Greenwell had the privilege of introducing disc golf to some truly beautiful people in Ningpo, China, an exercise in basic skills transfer that they will cherish as one of the highlights of their long careers in disc golf.
Ultimate Frisbee players at Nottingham Ningbo University get a lesson in disc golf. Photo: Brian Hoeniger
PDGA International Director Brian Hoeniger, Prodigy Disc President Michael Sullivan, and Prodigy team members Will Schusterick and David Greenwell have arrived in the Peoples’ Republic of China to begin a two-and-a-half week whirlwind tour that will include demonstration workshops to local students, training of physical education teachers in disc golf instruction, and meetings with local government officials.
Nigel Mills (left) celebrates with Philo Brathwaite after his 2017 Samui Swine Classic win. Photo: Samui Disc Golf
Flashback to 2003: Beyoncé was (still) lighting up the airwaves, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King triumphed as box office royalty, and Nigel Mills was parked at a comfortable job in Santa Monica, California. Born and bred in nearby Venice Beach, his days at powerhouse video game developer Activision found him working on titles like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x, where Mills served as the inspiration for a hidden character: a donut-scarfing, kick-flipping cop named Officer Dick.
PDGA International Director Brian Hoeniger #4022 is pleased to announce the completion and release of the 2015 PDGA International Program Guide which provides in-depth information on PDGA activities and protocol in all countries outside of USA and Canada. In 2014, the 10th year of the International Program, there were 3100+ International Members, 360+ sanctioned events, and 28 PDGA affiliated countries in Europe, Asia, and Oceania.