So with the start of the season right around the corner, I look back at a year and a Disc Golf Season unlike any other that I’ve experienced before. My 2015 started off with the amazing life-changing moment of becoming a father to the most incredible baby boy, Arian Jenkins in February. His arrival made me truly reevaluate my life and reschedule my entire Disc Golf Season around my pride and joy…the one that now calls me “Dada”.
The 2015 Disc Golf Season has proven to be one of the most eventful and spontaneous years to date as I got the opportunity to travel the country on the PDGA Tour with a 3-month old baby. Now seriously, who does that? Who has ever taken a baby on tour with them traveling coast to coast playing Disc Golf tournaments along the way?
I continue to be a perpetual road warrior and a present mainstay figure on the PDGA Tour on my 16th season as a Touring Professional Disc Golfer. But now that was a much different scenario with the ability for Leah and I to take Arian on his first road trip to the West Coast at 3-months old. Typically when I’m gone, I’m usually gone for weeks or months at a time but now I no longer wanted to stay on the road for too long because I didn’t want to miss him growing up. It was a chance of a lifetime to bring them on tour with me and to not miss a single waking moment with my Baby Boy.
Disc Golf Adventures
Our first official road trip started at the Glass Blown Open in Emporia, KS taking us all the way to Santa Cruz, CA for the Masters Cup and the St. Jude Disc Golf Charity Invitational in Monterey, CA. It was great to be able to play throughout the day and no matter how it went on the course I had my beautiful girlfriend and smiling Baby Boy waiting for me after every round. It was obviously much different for me for the fact that being a father was so new for me but I could definitely feel an overall shift of priorities.
We ended up spending over 3-weeks in the Bay Area, soaking up some sun and visiting some epic scenery up the Pacific Coast Highway on our way north to Oregon. I also got the chance to play a bunch of new courses that I’ve only driven by in the past. I enjoy playing as many courses as possible no matter how easy, difficult, short or long…I like to take the best aspects of every course that I play as I believe that it truly makes me a better course designer because of it.
I only participated in 15 PDGA Events including two top-5 finishes. I played in all 4 PDGA Majors (Scandinavian Open, European Open, World Championships and the United States Disc Golf Championships) and had two Top-20 finishes. I also had several strong finishes at the Green Mountain Championships, European Open and the United States Disc Golf Championship Major Events. I know that I could have played a lot better at many of the events but I was also really focused on living on the road as father.
It was a lot of fun still traveling the country on the Disc Golf Tour, spending time with the family and of course taking in as many awesome experiences as possible. That’s definitely what the tour has evolved into for me over the years and I’m not one to drive to destinations without checking out all there is to experience along the way. I’ll tell you that taking the roads less traveled will really open your eyes to how truly beautiful this country is.
Teaching the game
The Deep in the Game Tour Finland Clinics with the Hat Guy made a huge impact in the local disc golf communities that we visited bringing some more education and excitement to the sport. We set out on a 2-week tour throughout Finland again last summer going to a few new locations as well as visiting some locations in high demand. It was amazing to meet many of the participants that traveled hours to attend the closest clinic to them, it showed real dedication on their part as they really want to take part in the events and improve as players. And that’s really what it was all about, learning and progressing as a player through proper teaching and the great opportunity for the chance to get one-on-one instruction.
We really hope that everyone had an enjoyable time and at least received some solid information to take away from the event to apply to their games. But it all comes down to this, if the players want to really improve their game, then they really need to take what they’ve learned and commit to practicing this proper technique instead of going back to their same throwing habits. Dedicated time to practice and constant repetition of correct form will go along way into producing some really great Disc Golfers in years to come. Special thanks to the Antti Vuento (The Hat Guy) for being a great tour partner and for the awesome adventures along the way!
It was an amazing tour with so many great experiences that I got to share with my family as we went out of way to visit as many National Landmarks as possible along the way. We started with a fun 2-month road trip to the West Coast and back, traveling through 11-States and covering over 7,300 miles. It made it incredibly fulfilling to be able to make that trip again as I absolutely love getting back to California whenever possible.
After we returned back to Oklahoma, I got about a week of down time before traveling to the East Coast, then flying to Sweden & Finland for the Deep in the Game Tour and the European Majors. It was 40-days before I got to see Leah and Arian again as they both flew to Pittsburgh, PA for the 2015 PDGA Professional World Championships. We then continued on back to my parents house after that event.
We made plans to do another huge road trip throughout the Midwest through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan only to pass through to the Upper East Coast and Quebec, Canada. I got the opportunity to play one of my favorite events, the Green Mountain Championships in Jeffersonville, VT and finishing my year by playing the 2015 United States Disc Golf Championships in Rock Hill, SC. Shortly after we started on our final leg home and back to Oklahoma for the winter. We traveled over 14,000 Miles in Arian’s 1st Road Trip visiting 36 States and 1 International Country, he’s off to an excellent start for not yet being a year old.
I’ve set several goals for 2016. They include:
• Take the Disc Golf World Tour to the next Level
• Play my best at every Event that I attend
• Bring Disc Golf to the Mainstream Media
• Hosting 20+ Disc Golf Instructional Clinics
• Promote all my sponsors to the best of my ability
• Travel the world teaching and playing the sport I love
During the 2016 season, I will be playing a few less events but really focusing on the overall promotion of the sport through my new position as the commentator of the Disc Golf World Tour. It seems to be the natural progression of any top athlete as I will be concentrating more on the Disc Golf Business side of things this season and trying to really grow the sport in the most effective ways possible. I have always felt that I could provide the sport with a lot by being a proactive player but I now realize that I can offer this sport so much more as a promoter.
I also now share the duties of a DiscGolfPark Representative which has taken up a majority of my efforts lately as of right now in the early stages it’s a very time consuming position. I throughly appreciate and value the proper Disc Golf course design as I’m now responsible for selling the DiscGolfPark concept to city parks, state parks, golf courses, schools, etc… I’ve so far found it to be a very rewarding experience as it has definitely allowed me to utilize my Disc Golf experience and the business side of our sport. Overall, the installation of more Disc Golf Courses throughout the country is going to produce more player which in turn will grow the sport by leaps and bounds.
I will also keep myself very busy helping to organize the Discmania Combine Tour in cooperation with the existing Discmania Tour and the Flying Circus Events with Simon Lizotte, Eagle McMahon and Eric Oakley. It’s going to be an entirely new tour concept giving talented players a chance to earn a roster spot on Team Discmania by qualifying through a series of skilled events to prove their professional abilities. I’m really looking forward to this tour and it’s going to be a lot of fun getting back on the road again!
And lastly, I’ll be traveling over to Europe on three separate trips this summer for the Disc Golf World Tour. We’ll be taking advantage of having me over there again by hosting several Deep in the Game Disc Golf Instructional Clinics throughout the Czech Republic, Estonia, Sweden and Norway! I’m really excited that the Deep in the Game Clinics are still very highly demanded and I’ll be exploring to some new international markets as Simon and McBeth will be traveling exclusively throughout Finland this summer. The European Disc Golf Scene is truly exploding right now!
I plan to certainly play a lot less than in years past due to many of my other responsibilities consuming so much more of my time plus I don’t want to be away for longer than I have to these days. I recently completed my 2015 tour schedule and I have around 5-7 tournaments planned, traveling throughout the west coast this spring, traveling to Europe in early summer for the Czech Republic and Estonian Events, then back in the US for a few events to be named during the fall. This season’s tour will be structured around the Disc Golf World Tour Events and several Deep in the Game Clinics throughout Europe this summer. I’ll be making lots of trips back home in between events instead of staying out on the road as I have in the past, the priority is family these days.
The 2015 was an unforgettable season but I couldn’t have done it without the ones that support me the most. Special thanks to Leah and Arian for giving the opportunity to get back on the road again to live that Tour Life that continues to drive my soul. It means the world to me that Leah likes to travel just as much as I do and it was extra special to be able to take Arian on the tour with us at such an incredibly young age. We look forward to taking back out to all of the places that he’s been before so he’ll get the chance to experience that for himself.
It’s been a passion of mine for a long time as I enter into my 17th year as a Touring Professional, it’s going to be a tremendous 2016 season. I will continue to promote Disc Golf as one of the best sports on the planet in hopes to gain even more exposure this year. I am looking forward to another exciting and successful season on the Disc Golf Tour, I will do my best to make the most of it every single day.
Thanks to all of my sponsors: Innova Champion Discs, Discmania Discs, Keen Footwear, Grip Equipment, Clif Bar, Huk Lab and Team Jenkins, I couldn’t do what I love without everyone’s support and assistance along the way!
Thanks to all my friends, family and travel companions throughout the year that have made my world travels possible and my disc golf dreams a reality. Here’s to an incredible 2016 Season!
2015 Disc Golf Tour by the Numbers:
40 (Arian visited 36) – US States Visited
3 – Countries Visited
55 (815 Total) – “New” Disc Golf Courses Played
3,100+ – iPhone Photos Taken
18,162+ – Ground Miles Traveled
15,451+ – Air Miles Traveled
33,613+ – Total Miles Traveled