Question from Julia:
What’s it like to be a Professional Disc Golfing Woman?
Response from Des:
I have been a professional disc golfer since 2001. It has been a wonderful experience that has been full of unique opportunities to travel, meet new people, and teach others about the lifetime sport of disc golf.
I feel blessed to have lived a professional lifestyle which has allowed me to travel in all of the lower 48 states, to Japan, Canada, Australia and even playing on a private island in the Bahamas on the Disc Golf Cruise coming again in 2013 www.discgolfcruise.com. I do though consider myself to be pioneer pro. There are many great long-term professionals before me who are also pioneers in many aspects of the sport. I consider myself a pioneer pro because in my professional career I will not see self-supporting disc golf incomes for professional players.
What this means is the professional disc golfer, especially women should enjoy the game for all it offers; health, friendships, travel, sport, intelligence but have a solid career choice in order to fully enhance the enjoyment of the game. It is tough to make a living just playing disc golf. When I first starting touring in the summer, I worked as a substitute teacher in the winter. I saved up money to enjoy disc golf and travel during the summer months. I currently promote the not for profit Educational Disc Golf Experience (EDGE- www.edgediscgolf.org). EDGE has been developed to provide schools and other youth programs with a sound program of teaching disc golf fundamentals and allied skills.
If you look at the last fifteen years of Pro Open World Champion women you will noticed that we all love to play, are still playing or involved in disc golf but also have interesting career choices:
Elaine King 5x World Champion, Director of Quality; GSK
Juliana Korver 5X World Champion, Freelance computer guru
Des Reading 3X World Champion, Business owner and Non-profit contributor
Brigitta Lagerholm 2004 World Champion, Professional make-up artist
Valarie Jenkins 3X World Champion, Recent college graduate
Sarah Stanhope 2010 World Champion, High school science teacher
Paige Pierce 2011 World Champion, Age 20 (could be you)!
To answer your question directly, it is fun to be a professional woman disc golfer. It is a good conversation starter. There have been more positive experiences that have come out of me following a dream of playing professional disc golf then negatives. Sometimes it gets old playing with the same women over and over and I wish for larger field sizes but then I read questions from 10 1/2 year old girls and I get excited about the future of disc golf and women. Just remember to focus when it is your turn to throw and keep up your grades (math and physics really do play a huge roll in disc golf). The greatest thing about being a girl is that we can be anything that we want. So enjoy yourself, your hobbies, your family, your friends, and enjoy the flight of life.
See you at a tournament soon, just come up and say ‘hi’,