March 8th is International Women’s Day and the sport of disc golf would not be where it is today without the support of women from around the world. Some of my favorite memories in disc golf are of my neighbor Kate, who introduced me to the game, and when I volunteered at the 2016 USWDGC and got to see the top women in the world compete at my home course.
The first time I really played any disc golf was when I was in high school and my neighbor moved in next door. At her housewarming party where she invited several families over to meet, there was a large metal basket that I didn’t know anything about. She explained that it was for catching discs. As my new neighbor Kate sunk putt after putt from 30 feet she made it look effortless. I didn’t fully appreciate what I had just witnessed and didn’t realize how special it was to watch someone go 10 for 10 from the circle’s edge. She’s a woman in disc golf who still inspires me today. I wish 14 year old me hadn’t waited 5 more years to get into the sport. I'd have learned so much more from her at that time.
There’s plenty of FPO pros out there now and we know all the top players, and the field continues to grow every year. In 2019 at the World Championships 46 women competed in FPO! The USA was #1 in participants but there were also players from the following countries in 2019.
New Zealand (1)
South Korea (1)
26% of the field is from another country! It’s amazing, and shows just how women all over the world are competing in this global game. This incredible level of participation and determination across the globe will keep disc golf growing for years to come. This growth across continents is what it’s going to take to make this a global sport and the women are ahead of the men on this.
There are some legends that need more recognition in the sport. Too often the women who helped pioneer the early days of disc golf are forgotten. Everyone knows Paige Pierce is dominant, now sitting at 5 World titles, but there are 2 other women before her who accomplished the same feat. Elaine King won 4 titles in a row in the early 90’s and won her 5th in 97’. She’s still out there competing and has 3 World’s Masters titles to her name as well. Elaine King is also on the Board of Directors for the PDGA! Juliana Korver has 5 FPO worlds titles as well! Anytime you’re throwing a JK Aviar thank Juliana Korver.
There’s so much history in the FPO game, with names like Vanessa Chambers, Des Reading, Sharon Jenkins, Valarie Jenkins (yeah there’s 2 dominant Jenkins), Sylvia Voakes, and Kathy Hardyman. Be sure to check out the 10 accomplished women that are in the PDGA Hall of Fame. Women have tirelessly promoted the PDGA and helped grow the sport since day 1 and we continue to celebrate that, especially on International Women’s Day.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397
2016 USWDGC group photo.