Today we bounce a beam of sunshine your way by introducing Miss Kona Panis. Along with a delightfully infectious personality, this girl has game. In part two of this player spotlight we learn a little more about the person behind a smile that radiates like a Colorado Bluebird Sky. We dig her, and think you will too.
What do you love most about disc golf?
I’m a competitive person. I want to compete with the best like Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen. To have goals, to attain them is rewarding. I’m young and I hope that in promoting the sport I can encourage more women, especially younger women to come out and play. I also love to travel and it’d be cool to tour with a group of players—if they could put up with my sass.
What other types of sports and activities do you enjoy?
Growing up in Colorado, being outdoors is a lifestyle. Camping, hiking, fishing, I spend a lot of time outside. Disc golf is kind of like all those things combined. Well, except for the fishing. Oh wait, I do fish my discs out of the water sometimes. Plus, we live close to some of the best mountain courses like Conifer and Bailey—if you’re ever in Denver, you’ve gotta play them.
Can you quickly describe your view of how social media benefits disc golf, as well as the individual athletes?
It brings people in disc golf closer together. This year’s Memorial was a great example. People I follow on Instagram were sharing posts of the tournament and when I saw them in person it was like we already knew each other—like a reunion with people I’ve never met. So cool! Social media benefits the athletes by allowing them to connect with fans. Fans know what tournaments they are playing in, what discs they throw, clinics they can attend, sometimes even engage with them on a post. It’s also a good way to promote sponsors and all of the new gear.
If you could only follow one disc golfer on each of the “big three” platforms, who would it be and why?
On Instagram… OverStable. I love the quality of his photos. He captures the lifestyle of the sport. I’d love to see him feature players other than just the same pros we always see (and more women). For Facebook… Jerry ‘Swami’ Swain, everything he posts is very positive and he is consistent with his message. When Innova first sponsored me Swami was always supportive but gave me a hard time too. Ya know, stay humble. We’re BFFs. Twitter: Paul McBeth. C’mon, he’s the World Champ. For people discovering disc golf for the first time, who better to follow, right?
Can you imagine life without social media?
Like I mentioned earlier, it keeps all my friends close. I know how they did in a tournament before everyone else (sometimes during the round!) and they share snaps off the course. It’s like I’m with them all the time. I like sharing what I’m up to… new discs I’m throwing, new courses I’ve visited, friends I’m meeting. Can I imagine life without it? Nope.
Who do you feel is the greatest female disc golfer in history?
That’s tough. What does ‘great’ mean? The most world titles? The most exposure? I mean, Juliana Korver is a 5x world champ. But Paige and Catrina are everywhere on YouTube and social media—remember when Paige’s ace was on ESPN? How many people were introduced to disc golf from just those few seconds of video? History is still being written.
What are your long term goals as a competitor?
A PDGA pro world title, of course. Everyone competing right now aims for that, right? Long term? I want to compete on the World Tour.
What kinds of things did you learn while caddying for McBeth at the Memorial?
It was very humbling. But, one thing you don’t see in the videos is that he’s really encouraging and funny. He was always complimenting others on his card and in between throws he was making jokes and having fun with everyone. Another thing I learned caddying for Paul is you can have a bad round, but tomorrow is a new day and you can come back and win it all. Make no mistake, he puts the work in. Still, he’s just a goob.
You are obviously a confident young lady. Even McBeth commented about how you were at giving him a hard time, picking at him and what not. Where do you think your confidence comes from?
I think my confidence comes from being in such an open family. Growing up I’ve always been open with my parents so it transfers over to meeting new people. I also joke around with my family and friends a lot, so once I’m comfortable with someone I’ll give them a hard time.