Want to get a new course in your home town???

Everyone wants a new course and its easier than you think when you take the right
steps. Closing deals and getting a park/city/county to move forward on installing
 a new course, often requires "speaking their language". Key power points like:
 low  cost family recreation,
sustainable recreation,
prevention of obesity are direct and to the point and help allocate land/funds,
especially if the funds come from an existing grant or one they may want to write.
Rarely does a park have concerns about tournaments or leagues, but there are occasions
when it’s important as is the ability to generate revenue through admissions or disc sales.
 Theres also a keep up with the Joneses mentality where its important that residents from their
community are not going to another city for recreation that can easily be created
 and at a very low cost compared with any other park facility. It may also be
important for a city to have a course before a neighboring city,, city's are
very competitive with each other and for the low cost of a course and the ability
to use areas that cannot be used for other recreations,,,sometimes it just takes
a really good proposal in writing. Proposals that include free donations of any
equipment or labor get the attention of the higher ups, including the mayor.
Phone calls to park departments makes it too easy for one guy to say no, while
an official proposal in writing or given in front of a city council produces
many more course approvals.

Making parks/cities aware the hillsides and unused areas of the park are just
as good for disc golf as the well maintained park land that many parks already
have slated for passive areas or future developments. 

Our course design and installation contracts come with up to 300 FREE custom
stamped discs for the park/city/club to use as they see needed.
These can be sold as fund raisers to help off set the cost of a course or for
future course improvements. The FREE discs can also be given out at a grand
opening or a club launching event.

Gateway is NOW paying ADDATIONAL commission on leads that turn into course
contracts. This compensation will be 15-20% paid in merchandise and can be
great for disc golf clubs who can use the products to help grow disc golf
in their community or raise funds for benches or tee pads.

Most park dpeartments are in the middle of developing the 2012 budget,,,,,
Please don't hesitate to contact me personally to help get the ball rolling
for your towns NEW COURSE!!!!

314 303 1488 or david@gdstour.com

Earn Commission on course design and installation contracts.

Everyone wants a new course and its easier than you think when you take the right steps.
Closing deals and getting a park/city/county to move forward on installing a new course, often requires “speaking their language”.
Key power points like low cost family recreation, sustainable recreation, prevention of obesity are direct and to the point and help allocate land/funds, especially if the funds come from an existing grant or one they may want to write.

Rarely does a park have concerns about tournaments or leagues, but there are occasions when it’s important as is the ability to generate revenue through admissions or disc sales.
Theres also a keep up with the Joneses mentality where its important that residents from their community are not going to another city for recreation that can easily be created and at a very low cost compared with any other park facility. It may also be important for a city to have a course before there neighboring city,, city’s are very competitive with each other and for the low cost of a course and the ability to use areas that cannot be used for other recreations,,,sometimes it just takes a really good proposal in writing. Proposals that include free donations of any equipment or labor get the attention of the higher ups, including the mayor. Phone calls to park departments makes it too easy for one guy to say no, while an official proposal in writing or given in front of a city council produces many more course approvals.

Making parks/cities aware the hillsides and unused areas of the park are just as good for disc golf as the well maintained park land that many parks already have slated for passive areas or future developments.

Our course design and installation contracts come with up to 300 FREE custom stamped discs for the park/city/club to use as they see needed.
These can be sold as fund raisers to help off set the cost of a course or for future course improvements. The FREE discs can also be given out at a grand opening or a club launching event.

Gateway is NOW paying ADDATIONAL commission on leads that turn into course contracts. This compensation will be 15-20% paid in merchandise and can be great for disc golf clubs who can use the products to help grow disc golf in their community or raise funds for benches or tee pads.

Most park dpeartments are in the middle of developing the 2012 budget,,,,,Please don’t hesitate to contact me personally to help get the ball rolling for your towns NEW COURSE!!!!

314 303 1488 or david@gdstour.com

2011 Gateway Open Recap

This past Saturday we hosted the 20th annual Gateway Open at Foundation Park DGC in Centralia, Ilinois. I’d like to start off by saying this disc golf course plays as close to ball golf as a course can get. The course and park were in immaculate condition with the entire 18 holes cut down to 3-4”, virtually no sticks laying on the course and long, flat natural tee offs on every hole. The course played to a par 71 for both rounds. The first round was played from the short tees and the second round was played from the long tees; all par threes were set up in the short position and all other holes were set up in the long position for both rounds. Birdies were extremely hard to come by; you had to execute at least 2 good shots on every hole to score well. Making par after par on this course is actually a good thing and if you’re not making bogeys, I’d say you’re playing awfully well.

Brian Johnson had the low score both rounds, shooting a very respectable 64 from the short tees and a GREAT round of 65 from the long, for a total of 129. If I’m not mistaken, that 65 is a course record from the long tees. Justin Bunnell took second place with a score of 65-71=136, and Jerry Barklage at 47 years young took third with 2 -69′s and a total score of 138. Those three players were the only ones under part for the event.

Rob Nahlik won the Advanced division with a score of 73-77=150, and our own James “Ozzy” Osbourn took the Rec division with a score of 74-84=158.

Last but not least, Doug Bickell took the Bullseye basket prize by winning a Ring of Fire competition with a Wizard after qualifying on an accuracy shot using a Slayer. Way to go, Doug! Congratulations to you and all the division winners.

Results are below:

Open Division Payout
Bryan Johnson 64 65 129 $200
Justin Bunnell 65 71 136 $140
Jerry Barklage 69 69 138 $100
Aaron Walther 68 76 144 $80
John Ruvalcaba 66 79 145 $60
Tom Murdick 72 75 147 $40
Roger Reyes 73 74 147
Tim Lewis 73 75 148
Greg Doh 73 77 150
Doug Bickell 70 80 150
Matt Wellman 77 74 151
David McCormack 76 76 152
Dave Dick 80 85 165
Jay Baird 83 90 173
Advanced Division Payout
Rob Nahlik 73 77 150 $60
Dave Rudibaugh 76 81 157 $40
Butch Apfel 78 83 161 $20
Eric Fussell 84 81 165
Jeff McClusky 76 89 165
Tony Devoto 80 93 173
Rec Division Payout
“Ozzy” 74 84 158 $60
Steve Bevel 80 88 168 $40
Greg Van Horn 81 87 168 $20
Drew Weyenberg 95 109 194
Tony Nasser 106 111 217
Danny McLean 83 DNF

Justin’s Mid-America Open Recap

Last weekend I traveled the 99 miles west to Columbia, MO for the Mid America Open, which I believe was my first PDGA tourney in 3 years other than the Gateway or Ozark Mountain Opens. The Men’s Pro division turnout was pretty weak with only 9 players, but three were 1000-rated pros and a few others were Columbians who knew the courses really well, so I knew this would be a tough event to win.

During the first round at Indian Hills I played with Fred Garver and Jake Bowen, both of whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. Since I hadn’t played that course in years or much disc golf period, my score suffered; I struggled and shot a 58. Many of the pin placements were tougher to get to than I remember and some I had not seen before at all. Fred ended up shooting the hot round in Open with a 52, which was pretty solid. He made a lot of jump putts and all of his testers for par.

Gateway Disc Sports has supported Fred Garver with discs and apparel for many years and this weekend Fred put those discs to good use. Fred threw “E” Warriors and “E” Scouts for most of his mid range shots with many parked right under the basket. He also made nearly everything inside 40’ with his trusty array of Wizards. It was obvious from the start that he was there to take nothing less than first. The only good thing about the first round for me was that I was only 6 shots out of first place, but little did I know that would be the closest I got.

Fred went on to shoot the best score in the second round, giving him a six-stroke lead after day one. I sat in fourth place, eight strokes back. After a better day two, I was sitting in third place going into the final nine, 1 back of Ken Franks and five ahead of Bryan Johnson. Fred again had the low score and cruised down victory lane to win the 27th annual Mid America Open by twelve strokes. I can honestly say that even on my best day I probably wouldn’t have beaten him. The crowd was behind him and he never let off the gas, hitting big putts and playing really solid golf all weekend. Hats off to Fred, he played great! As for me, I’m happy with second place; I didn’t really think I was going to take first because I’ve played maybe 20 rounds in the last two years. During the final nine I threw some great shots, some big drives, and made some solid putts with my own trusty Wizards, one of which I’ve had in my bag for nearly ten years. During the final nine I realized I had forgotten how it felt to perform in front of a crowd and how it felt when the crowd reacts to a great shot; it was awesome!

All in all, I had a great time seeing my old friends and meeting new ones, shooting some okay golf and discovering my love for competing in disc golf all over again. Keith Amerson, George Smith, and Mark Ehlert of the Columbia Disc Golf Club do such a great job of running this event and Gateway is happy to be a proud supporter of their club.

On a related note, Fred has been working hard on his course at Garverland and plans are under way to get Titan Portable targets out there soon. If you’re coming through Columbia in the near future, make sure you call Fred and set up a time to stop by his place and play his killer disc golf course.

–Justin Bunnell

20th Annual Gateway Open

Come out this Saturday, July 16 and play at the 20th Annual Gateway Open!

This 72-hole event is open to everyone and takes place at the Foundation Park Disc Golf Course in Centralia, IL. Registration is from 8:00 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. and the players’ meeting is at 9:45.

More details are on the flyer available here.

Gateway is now on Twitter!

Our official Twitter page is now up and running! Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/Gateway_Discs.

Nikko Wins Stockholm Open for 2nd Year in a Row

Nikko cruises to a 9-throw victory in Sweden; unfortunately he went straight to Amsterdam with his winnings and hasn’t been heard from since, so there’s not much more I know to the story.

If you would like to know more about Nikko’s travels, please go to his blog and leave a comment asking for more details:

www.nikkodiscgolf.com

David McCormack is Interviewed by The Maryland Heights Patch

Local Disc Golf Legend Making National Impact

Former elite disc golf player David McCormack is a key player in course design around St. Louis and the Midwest.

David McCormack spends his days working in disc golf.

For over 30 years, the Creve Coeur resident has remained an active influence in the sport, from his youth as a world-ranked professional to his company that today boasts some of the sport’s elite apparel. Along the way, his “hobby” as a course designer has produced over 37 courses and spread a reputation out of the Midwest and onto the rest of the nation.

It is a job that fills his days with countless tasks, from tracking the performances of his sponsored professionals, to coordinating with park directors for the next course installation, to blogging about the current state and future direction of disc golf.

Yet, of all the places McCormack could go when he needs some time away from work, he goes golfing.

With a ball.

“I can bring some of the same things I love about disc golf into ball golf,” McCormack said. “I’d say it’s fairly challenging, and the margin for error is quite a bit different. And that’s it, too; ball golf is different. I started playing disc golf when I was a little kid, so that just comes really natural to me.

“Now, disc golf doesn’t offer me that escape. Every time I go out to a park, I see something that reminds me of actual work.”

It’s the ultimate sacrifice. For over 30 years, hundreds of thousands around the Midwest—perhaps even you, if you’ve ever set foot on one numerous St. Louis’ courses—have taken an escape because of one man’s work. McCormack’s impact on disc golf, a sport that swaps balls for Frisbees and holes for chain baskets, is felt in nearly every facet of the game today.

That’s not to say there wasn’t some play time mixed in along the way. For awhile, play time is all there was to disc golf. McCormack and a Frisbee became familiar with the trash cans around the St. Thomas More church in Bel Ridge as a second grader, but his first design as a 12-year-old was a par-two object course around his house, and that is what kicked off the legend. Nine trees and signs eventually spilled beyond the neighbors’ yards, and then grew to the small neighborhood block. Then 18 objects were marked around the big block.

When Missouri’s first disc golf course hit St. Louis in 1979—Hazelwood’s White Birch Park, designed by the “Father of Disc Golf” Ed Headrick and featuring the now-traditional chain baskets—the only obstacle 15-year-old McCormack couldn’t throw a Frisbee around was how to cover eight miles on two wheels.

There began Endicott Park in St. John, providing hundreds of targets and just a bike ride away. Officially established in 1996 and considered one of the backbone courses of St. Louis, Endicott unofficially began in 1980 with a can of spray paint and 18 special trees.

“We were used to throwing down six of my neighbor’s yards at a time, par fours,” McCormack said. “Then we started taking our bikes up (to Endicott) and playing around with a lot longer shots, with a lot of power, throwing to where we couldn’t see. We spray painted lines on trees with pruning sealer for ‘holes,’ at about the same heights as the baskets were in Hazelwood.”

Already crushing maximum distance with his arm, a driver’s license took care of the rest. McCormack began to abuse White Birch three rounds at a time, as well as ranging out regionally to courses such as Albert Oakland Park in Columbia. By 1989, he had played 200 courses nationwide and won more than 25 tournaments in the fledgling Professional Disc Golf Association. Continued success on road trips to all corners of the U.S., sometimes for prize offerings of just $500, ultimately led to McCormack being a top-10 disc golfer in the world rankings.

His eventual retirement as a pro became a seed for the sport, branching out in several directions. While he toured, Gateway Disc Sports had spawned out of the trunk of his car, credited as the first company to market a durable disc golf bag toward professional players. Made out of material bought from the Federal Bag Company on Cherokee St., the bags are now a common accessory in the game today.

Gateway eventually expanded into golf discs, gaining worldwide professional acceptance with a straight-flying putter, the Wizard.

But McCormack’s lore grew exponentially from his unrivaled course design. Influence from his professional days landed his first funded blueprint in 1993: acreage from Schroeder Park in Manchester and 18 baskets supplied by Discraft. Soon after, Sunset Hills and Ellisville followed suit and sought McCormack’s advice, producing the Watson Trail and Bluebird Park courses.

McCormack designs are now found all over the Midwest and as far as Pennsylvania and Georgia, but St. Louis has remained a natural epicenter. Courses such as Jefferson Barracks in Mehlville, Sioux Passage in Florissant and Endicott have become nationally respected courses, and more are on the way. McCormack is currently hatching an 18-hole course in Bridgeton’s Carrollton Park.

“My job has been to create recreation,” McCormack said. “To help people escape from reality for two hours, to generate some camaraderie with friends.

“My biggest thrill is going back to a course that I designed and seeing a new path in between some basket and the next tee pad. I know how that path was created, and when I come there and see that usage, that’s a personal gratification I take every time.”

Beaver state fling day 1

David Feldberg 12626 1043 55
1032
51
1067
-16 106
Gregg Barsby 15857 1019 52
1056
54
1043
-16 106
Paul McBeth 27523 1031 52
1056
55
1035
-15 107
Will Schusterick 29064 1026 52
1056
55
1035
-15 107
Dana Vicich 26228 991 57
1016
51
1067
-14 108
Nate Sexton 18824 1013 56
1024
52
1059
-14 108
Nate Doss 11794 1035 54
1040
54
1043
-14 108
Garrett Gurthie 13864 1020 54
1040
54
1043
-14 108
Kyle Crabtree 25596 1021 56
1024
53
1051
-13 109
Josh Anthon 17946 1033 54
1040
55
1035
-13 109
Nikko Locastro 11534 1043 54
1040
55
1035
-13 109
Matt Orum 18330 1027 51
1064
58
1011
-13 109
Chandler Fry 25541 998 56
1024
54
1043
-12 110
Paul Ulibarri 27171 1030 52
1056
58
1011

Nikko and his friends take the traveling Frisbee show to Des Moines

The Youth movement in Disc golf was in full effect this past weekend in Des Moines Iowa.
The top 4 finishers in the mens open division were all 22 years young or younger, expect lots more from them and other young guns as each week goes by.
Leading the way once again was Nikko Locastro with a 4 throw win over Arizonian native Paul Ulibarri (22) and taking home the 1st place trophy and the check for $1,220.00. Rounding out the top 4 were 3rd place and former Gateway sponsored pro Garret Gurthie from Gainesville Florida (21) and southern California’s Paul Macbeth (20).

After 2 completed rounds Nikko, Paul U and Paul M were all tied at -21 under.
Nikko shot 55 at Ewing park in a steady spring rain which was 4 back from Cale Leiviska (the elder statesman at 26 years old) who carded a 51.
The weather cleared up nicely with lots of sun and a light breeze for the 2nd round at the very challenging layout in Pickard park. Nikko’s 49 was the hot round there and put him in the 3 way tie for the lead.

On Sunday the kids and the event moved to Big creek a tight technical course carved out of the Trees, tall grass and poison ivy.
If its one thing I remember about this course is ” STAY IN THE FAIRWAY” and you will produce much better results.
Nikko missed a birdie on hole one as the 2 Paul’s made deuces on the easy par 3.
Hole 2 gave up a star birdie frame and then the action heated up on hole 3 as Nikko’s clean release followed by his yell of “go in the basket” on this blind left to right over a little hump pin location,,,,,KABANG a loud sound of plastic meeting chain and the conformation form the group on the next tee with the filed goal sign of its IN!!!! Nikko’s 4th career tourney ace launched him into the lead and $120.00 cash for the ace. The excitement turned Nikko cold for the next few holes but he heated up again on the back 9 birding 6 of the last 9 holes.
After round 3 it was now Nikko and Paul M tied with Paul U 3 back, rounding out the top card was Garret G 5 back.
Nikko and Paul M agreed to split the 1st and second place money if it came down to them in the top 2 spots.
I’m not sure if this had any effect on the outcome but Nikko bested Paul M by 7 strokes by playing Barry Schultz style smart and consistent golf at at Beautiful Walnut Ridge course. Nikko’s solid putting and short game with the Wizards proved to be enough as he stayed in the fairway and out of trouble carding a bogey free round for 17 holes and a tie for low score with GG at 51. Unfortunately Paul M tried to do a little too much on this technical course finding himself slightly off the fairway and off his game, which cost him a little touch on his putting from the extra efforts. Paul U moved into second early on the front nine making lots of birdies but came up short in his bid for the win holding on to 2nd and a $815 pay day!

Nikko says the courses In Des Moines are AWESOME and he loves playing there!!!!! The courses let you throw the discs and have fun.
Theres a great mix of shots to throw including several mis-direction holes and trajectories of release.
Good shots are well rewarded with birdie chances and poor shots find the Shule (rough) and subsequent bogie’s.
Ive played all these courses and agree on how good they are for top players when set up in the long placements from the long tees.
The one thing I’m not sure on is what the pars are for the courses, which is something a good course designer will make sure of.
If I’m not mistaken theres quite a few holes that will go from a par 3 to a par 4 depending on which pin location or tee is used.
This is something I try my best to keep from doing, as it makes it very difficult to par the hole and course correctly on the signs and scorecards. Its also not quite clear on who actually designed these gems,,, if anyone knows,,,,please give him the accolades here.

I heard Nikko say the courses were pretty hard but at -41 and an average of -10.25 under per round, it doesn’t sound like the type of “HARD” courses of,,,,lets say,,,, a major is set up for in Ball golf, where a total score for 4 rounds of -4 to -8 will win the US open.
Unfortunately if the course are made so difficult that the mens winner will only average 2 or 3 under per round, this means the 950 rated guy will wind up +20 over. Disc golfers, Frisbee golfers and frolfers like to go neg ( shoot under par) every time they play,, even lower level ams think they should be able to shoot under. It is of my opinion that PAR in golf is supposed to be good,, in ball golf its really good, but somehow in disc golf, par is bad,, if a pro cant birdie a certain hole,, the hole sucks. The way disc golf is set up and courses are parred a pretty good athlete who picks up disc golf can start shooting under par within a few months.

I started playing BALL Golf about 11 months ago and I cant get enough. Since my job has me involved with disc golf and disc golfers 60 hours a week, playing disc golf purely for downtime is quite difficult and often not a break from work. I love playing disc golf, seeing new disc golf courses and meeting new people in this industry, but in order to get a break from work I found that the 2- 4 hours on a ball golf course helps provide the balance I need in life. If its one thing for sure about both disc and ball golf is they allow you to “be” and “live” in the immediate presence, something thats is helpful to living a successfulness well rounded life. My time on the golf course has me there,,,, thinking about shaping the tee shots, choosing the right club to hit the green, reading the greens and focusing on my shots. I’m truly “THERE” when i’m out there and very seldom does my mind drift off to work or any other of life’s demands or obligations. I used disc golf for this escape for over 30 years but now,, for me,,, its ball golf. If I go to the park to play disc golf, I’ll see a guy or girl and soon after a conversation about Gateway discs will unfold, or something about Nikko, a new course or “THEIR GAME” and all of a sudden I’m back at work. I still play disc golf, but its hard for me to do for relaxation anymore. Luckily I can find the time for ball golf. Being an athlete, I’ve been able to learn the game rather quickly and I’m getting better every time I play. This of course would not be possible without ongoing lessons from the Berry Bros ( mad dog and bummer), practicing on the range and playing as often as I can. Also,,,,having the right equipment that fits your game, that you have confidence in is a big plus. I recently filled a few gaps in the line-up and it helped immensely. I went to a golf outfitter and had my game evaluated and was given several choices of gap wedges and hybrids. After hitting clubs in each category from 4 or 5 different companies I made my selection and feel it really helped with the confidence in using these clubs right off the bat. Luckily I didn’t have to choose a callaway wedge or a Nike hybrid as both of these companies clubs in this category looked and felt uncomfortable and I didnt hit any of them very well.
I guess the question is ” if I were sponsored ball golfer how would I feel about having to use a specific club that when I knew there was something that fit my game better’ that I had more confidence in??????? ??????
would getting a free club that I didnt like make me feel like i could play my best????????????
Do pro disc golfers really get paid enough by their sponsors to play at a disadvantage against players who can use whatever discs they want?

My golf bag line-up looks like this.
Putter= Odyssey white hot (answer style)

Wedges = 56 Degree Callaway tour X-22 Sand wedge (medium bounce)
52 degree G16 Cleveland gap wedge (Low bounce)

Irons PW- 4 = Callaway tour X 20. (stiff shaft)
#3 hybrid =18 degree Taylor made rescue (tuned to open and 19 degree)
3 metal = 15 degree Callaway Big Bertha (stiff shaft)
Driver = 9 degree Taylor made R-11 turned down to 8.5 with a neutral face and draw weighting. (GREAT TECHNOLOGICAL Advancement).
Driver = Titleist 910 10.5 degree extra stiff shaft
= 14 clubs.

I have 3 pairs of shoes, Footjoy, Adidas and nike.
I use either a Nike, foot joy or Titleist golf golve and for the most part try and use Titleist pro-v 1, Taylor made penta, or Callaway Tour i balls, but only when I find them. I’m not good enough to buy $4 golf balls yet, but theres plenty of golfers who do,,,, that lose them in the rough and woods. When I hit a poor shot in the woods or rough, I always come out with a pocket full of really nice balls. Its seems those that buy really good balls, hit shots in the woods,, there loss my gain.
If I start playing better I wont be in the woods to find them and will eventually have to buy good balls myself, by then maybe I wont be hitting so many poor shots and it wont cost me $16 a round just in balls :) !

This weekend I played a really tough course from 6,700 yards ( 2nd longest tees of the 5 sets they had) called Stone wolf and shot an 83, which is +11 over. I am very proud of this round ( my best ever) and hopefully it helps build my confidence to shoot scores like this more often.

There are big differences in scoring between the 2 sports but I’d really like to see disc golf inch closer to ball golf in terms of course standardization, specifically the proper marking of par for holes and courses having it correlated on tee signs and scorecards.
Golf is hard and its meant to be hard,, I’m not sure if disc golf was meant to be just like this, but for me, i’d like to see us parallel ball golf in as many ways as possible. More courses with par 4′s and 5′s and played just like ball golf and marked this way.
NO we shouldn’t have to wear collared shirts and long pants when playing disc golf events. I wear the same clothes when I play ball golf that I would wear if I were playing in a disc golf event. This sport attire is not quite good enough to play at my head greens keeper buddy, Matt Seifferts country club, where I need to ” dress up” a little nicer. ( because we are his guests). I often go after work in a tee shirt and work shorts to my home course Normandie ( well known as a blue collar course) where dress code is really a non issue. Like any place of public business you patronize, theres some form of ” whats acceptable dress” and what your comfortable in. If you are playing in a disc golf event, you should dress accordingly, if you are playing recreational in a public park, as long as you have pants on it should be fine, If you’re playing a $5 a day course, you should at least have your shoes and shirt on too .

I’m sure most disc golfers could give a shit about the clubs in my “BALL” golf bag, but the point to the list is I feel I have the best equipment i can get and its a mixed bag of gear from 8 or so different manufactures, more if you count shoes and clothes.

If you look at a “whats in the bag” of the top professional ball golfers, theres hardly a one single player that uses clubs entirely from just “ONE” company and the reason is simple. If you want to play your best and be the best you can be, you need to have the best equipment regardless of who make its, especially if thats what your competitors are doing.
In disc golf today that would be Innova drivers, Discraft Mid-range( Buzz mainly) and Gateway putters and overstable discs like the demon, blaze and Spirit for windy conditions,,, which is exactly whats in Nikko’s bag and Ironically enough, he’s won the most money over the last 30 months (close to $130,000.00), player of the year & National tour points winner for the last 2 years and is the current number #1 ranked player in the world.
Is it possible being able to choose any discs he wants is giving Nikko a slight competitive advantage?

In the sport of both disc and ball golf its well known that it is a game of inches and that every single throw can decide the outcome and quite often the difference between 1st place and 2nd place (which by some is considered the 1st loser).
Given the choice, I’m certain most top pro disc golfers bags would look identical to Nikkos, after all its seems to be working quite well for him and from where I sit its giving him an advantage over his competition. Its true Nikko has an immense amount of raw talent, an unprecedented amount of tutelage for the last 10 years and access to all of the best equipment and training on some of the most difficult courses in the world. But,,, like almost every single pro ball golfer, HE “chooses” and is allowed to use the best of the best equipment available to him. This cannot be said for his competition this past week besides fellow Gateway Team Member ( and 2011 Memorial Master champion) George Smith who also uses a mixed bag, as all others are forced ( through sponsorship deals) to use discs from only one company or the other (I and D). Other than Gateway Sponsored pros ( which now includes Bradley Williams and Coda Hatfield) and a very small handfull of non sponsored players ( like Steve Rico), most top players do not have the option or choice today, to use a mixed bag and the best of the best equipment available out there. While these Gateway sponsored players are in uncharted territories and changing the shape of the game, I’m certain more will follow and soon Gateway will have more top players on our team and hopefully the resellers of discs will up the ante, provide sponsorship support and allow the players to use any of the discs they sell.

When we ( Gateway Disc Sports) started making discs 12 years ago we were only the 3rd company to come along who’s discs were being used to win disc golf events, lighting-Whammo-DGA and a few others were making discs, but no one was using them to WIN!!!.
At one point about 5 years ago we had 5 players using all Gateway discs that were ranked in the top 25 in the world.
( John E McCry, Shawn Sinclair, Justin Bunnell, George Smith and Garrett Gurthie),

Unfortunately this form of exclusive sponsorship, while it may have been helpful for JOhn E or Justin to give them a fire inside, it proved to only create someone to root against as opposed to for and didn’t really make players want to switch to ALL Gateway. This did open the eyes of a lot of player though as you couldn’t deny the discs were able to be used to play at the highest level of competition. In hindsight it wasn’t a good idea to “MAKE” someone throw exclusively Gateway regardless if it was successful for the handful of guys that were doing so. I wish I would have developed the mixed bag sponsorship program more successfully and much sooner as we have had many of todays top players throwing our discs in the past move on,,, including Paige Pierce, Will Shusterick, Devan Owens, Greg Barsby, Garret Gurthie, Matt hall and a few winners of the pdga advanced amateur championships over the years. Today many players are using Gateway discs to win disc golf events and leagues, but unless Gateway sponsors them at the next level, they will be forced to stop using Gateway discs in order to get a sponsorship from I or D. I’ve seen several players games go south after not being able to continue to use our putters.
There really needs to be more sponsorship options for these players so they can use the discs they want to.

Today there are more than 20 companies making discs for discs golf, unfortunately because of the exclusive nature of sponsorships, it is quite difficult for these new companies to get top players to use there products in competition, heck some top players wont event touch another companies disc, yet alone test fly one. I can appreciate the loyalty, but Its not like these players are getting paid so much they cant even touch the discs,,come on!!
So even after 25 years as a sport, theres still basically only 3 companies who’s discs are used to win disc golf events at the highest level in the US. In order for this sport to grow this has to change, the top players themselves need to find sponsorships that will allow them the opportunity to be able to use the best of the best equipment so that that are on a level playing field with Nikko and others who are able to use whatever discs will help their game the most. Of course the discs have to be great, they have to work for them and be better then something I or D makes or fit the players game better.

If todays $40 million dollar disc golf product wholesale industry was made up of 8 companies all doing about $5 million each, I think we would be seeing a completely different set of rules when it comes to sponsorships and more money for each top player that chooses to represent someone other than Innova or Discraft.
This change will lie solely on the top pro’s (or their representatives/agents) and their ability to build relationships with companies other than I or D and gain financial support for their disc golf touring outside of just these 2 companies who are restricting the discs that can be used and slowing down the growth of the smaller companies and the sport. Speeding up the growth of the smaller companies will surely help this sport and as a bi-product, raise the value of what a pro player is worth.
The 20 new companies ( and many more down the road) will be instrumental in creating the competition needed that will eventually raise the value of the pro player.
Until that days comes, top Pros will continue to find it difficult to negotiate more lucrative deals that would allow them to travel and tour full time, competing week in and week out, not too mention the ability to be able to choose the best equipment out there that will help them compete against other players who are taking advantage of this fact.
In any negotiation you have to have the ability to say no and legitimate choices that are just as good for you if in fact you say no.
Are players willing to leave I or D in hopes of a better deal and help pave the way for their and the sports future?

So Ive taken my mixed bag of ball golf equipment and I’m trying to be the best I can be,,, its not like I’m going ever be a pro, but I may be able to play in amateur events one day. If I stick with choosing the best of the best equipment,, its going to give me a lot of confidence in the equipment.
I’m fairly certain I will never be sponsored by any manufacturing company, but hypothetically if I did ( and they wanted me to switch to all thier brand) after 5 years of using this equipment,,, how hard will it be to give up the clubs I’m so used to?
I have heard its the archer and not the arrow for years, but I’m fairly certain its the combination of both. I’ve seen Nikko try and put a new destroyer in his bag.. he gets a stack of about 5 and winds up with 1 or 2,, and the others are cast off like mis-fits into a box to be sold. Same goes for Buzzes,,, he just cant get one off a shelf and its in his bag,,, it has to be the right one, the right flex feel and most of all flight. Same goes for all top players in Disc golf and the thing about it is, theres something different each player wants and uses for his game. So it most certainly is not just the archer it is the arrow and arrows in disc golf are made by a lot of different companies. Theres 20 new companies now that have great discs and many more will come later. This sport will change a lot over the next 10 years and the sooner players are more receptive to using some of the new discs and supporting these companies the more rewarding it will be for those who are good enough to be sponsored.