Why Disc “Downtown”?
Disc golf is head to head as the fastest growing sport in the world. It is traditionally played in large parks, state forests, and even alongside golfers on traditional golf courses. So where does the idea of Disc Downtown come from? We believe just like anything else, you don’t have to always do things the same way they have always been done. Our mission is to grow the sport of disc golf. We want to build stronger communities, encourage healthier lifestyles, and bang the chains!
Bringing disc golf into a more urban atmosphere exposes it a whole new group of people that may not ever run into the sport elsewhere. Who wouldn’t want to stop and see what’s going on when they see a bunch of people throwing frisbees (cough) between buildings and cars where they normally walk through to work or to the gym? Well, we’ve already found that not many people can pass up the opportunity. Through multiple pop-up events throughout the year, and three PDGA sanctioned tournaments in Grand Rapids, MI and Peoria, IL we have already exposed thousands of people to the sport of disc golf. And the great thing about disc golfers is we LOVE to talk about disc golf!
Many of the people that have stopped to ask questions, hang out, or just watch to see what’s going on have never really seen disc golf. Most say they have “heard” of it, maybe they “know someone who plays” but have never experienced it themselves. The excitement on a kid’s face when they make their first 20 foot putt or the laughter that comes out of an older couple who just found a new way to “challenge” each other tells the story. Disc golf is really a sport for EVERYBODY.
Not only do we want to grow our disc golf community, we want to grow the local communities. Through fundraising efforts, charitable donations, and a strong volunteer base, we want to bring disc golf to YOUR city. Every city has at least one if not a few local parks that could use something more. Why not put in a few baskets for the kids to come play? For the entry cost of a couple bucks, or maybe we have a disc or two we can spare, anyone can try out a new activity. Something that gets people outside and active, challenging them with something new. Give them a place where they can latch onto a supportive, loving community of disc golfers who want to #growthesport.
Team Disc Downtown:
Andrea Lange (Team Innova)
President & Executive Director Andrea first explored disc golf as a way to get away from the stresses of everyday life and enjoy the outdoors. What she soon found is community that welcomed her with open arms and a place where she could just be herself. Only two years since her first round, Andrea has dedicated herself to sharing her love for the sport of disc golf and exposing it to as many people as possible. Andrea leaves no stone unturned and lets no opportunity pass her by to get discs into people’s hands and support her community. Who else is going to host the first ever PDGA sanctioned event in a city home to 200,000 people? Andrea says “I am!”
Course Manager Working in corporate office during the week and a professional athlete on the weekends, Sam has found an outlet for his competitive spirit through the sport of disc golf. If you’re not sure where he is, just check the closest open field, he’s probably there practicing. Not only trying to improve his own game, Sam is always reaching out to newer and less experienced players to help them reach their goals. Did we mention he throws with both hands?
John H. Clark III
Board Member Few people have as strong of a passion for bringing new people into the sport as John Clark. A retired veteran, John works tirelessly at his local parks grooming and improving them. He works with the cities and parks departments to build a strong and sustainable disc golf community. Not having played his first round until he was nearly 60, John proves to anyone that it’s never too late to start.
Board Member You know that guy that just seems to know everyone? Yeah, that’s Chad Shine. He has done so much for the West Michigan community, from designing and installing courses to running tournaments, and president of one of the most influential clubs in the state: HomeTeam Disc Golf. If it involves throwing discs, Chad has done it, sold it, been there, and met the author. Michigan is the 3rd biggest disc golf state in the nation, and it’s because of people like Chad that keep it moving forward.
Board Member The creative juices are constantly flowing. Ivan Marston is an artist, a drummer, and of course, a disc golfer. It takes a lot of time and dedication to become skilled in any of those areas, yet Ivan is proficient in all three. He is always stepping up to the plate for the next challenge and heavily involved in building the disc golf community. Recently becoming a father of his first born daughter, we just hope he trains he on the disc golf course. Look at some of the sweet stamps on the discs you have up on your wall, Ivan may just be the guy who drew it.
Resident Volunteer & Photographer Just 12 months ago, disc golf was just another hobby for Chad Pierce. Once he landed in West Michigan’s disc golf community, it became life. Jumping in with both feet from day one, he has been doing course construction, volunteering at tournaments, and helping out any way he can. Chad is also a talented photographer and you’ll definitely see his craft in many of our pictures. With a strong work ethic and unmatched desire to improve, Chad is a huge asset to Disc Downtown and our disc golf community.
See you on the course!