In this Innova player spotlight we focus on our mighty little spark plug down in Atlanta, GA. Innova Ambassador, Ashley Collins is turning into a really good golfer, and more importantly, an excellent promoter. This is especially true when it comes to growing the women’s ranks in the Atlanta area. Ashley blew us away with her enthusiasm for disc golf and her passion for life. She makes us happy. Now y’all can get some happy too.
So tell us a little bit about how and when you first discovered disc golf.
About 9 years ago my step dad, Paul Childs, took me to Pendleton King Park in Augusta, GA and handed me a bag of discs. He had already introduced my little brother to the game and as competitive as we are, I couldn’t let him be better at something. Since that day, disc golf has not only been my addiction, but as well as therapy, exercise, fellowship and my way of life.
What is it about the game that keeps you coming back for more?
Oh man, the people and beauty of the courses. It’s not all about the competition (well sometimes it is) it’s traveling and meeting new people that share the same love for the game as I do. I want to show more women and juniors how rewarding disc golf can be. It’s not just about the prizes, money, trophies or winning….. to me meeting more women and seeing new courses, that’s the reward!
Your day job is taking care of the grounds at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. Describe a typical day at the office and your passion for that type of work.
There’s not really a typical day. Everyday is different. I could be cutting grass one hour, planting flowers one minute to setting up for big events on campus and relocating all sorts of wildlife. It keeps me on my toes, I have the space to do field work and test new discs. I love seeing students watch and try and figure out why I’m throwing “Frisbees” on a turf field. I love being outdoors, I love planting flowers and knowing that my work brings more students, events, movies and weddings to the campus. It’s rewarding and feels good knowing my work and love for the outdoors is appreciated.
Are there any spots on campus you pass and think, “Man, that sure would make an awesome disc golf hole.”?
Is there?!? Heck yeah!! I’ve already sat down and had meetings with the Athletic Director and received her approval and support of adding at least a 9 hole through the campus. I even take a few discs and throw shot through the woods. It’s hard not to drive down the road and point some good holes out haha. When the right time and donors come, there will be at least a 9 hole course on Oglethorpe campus!!
How would you compare the Atlanta disc golf scene to other places you’ve traveled to play?
We come together when the time is right, especially for tournaments. But meeting other clubs and seeing what they do for each other and the courses is amazing. There are more women competing in most areas, but the GaLS group is growing here in Atlanta. I cannot wait to for there to be a big women’s tournament here, that way newcomers and juniors can see that they are not alone and we can properly grow the sport. Everyone is the future of disc golf.
Which courses are on your bucket list to play one day?
Flyboy Aviation in Whitesburg, GA and USDGC Winthrop Gold. But I would love to travel to Colorado and see their beautiful courses, as well as Washington with Sara Nicholson… beauty of nature and the game all in one….PRICELESS!
Clearly you have an eye for recognizing (and creating!) beautiful landscapes. What disc golf course comes to mind as one that impressed you visibly when you first saw it?
Well there are actually two. First, there’s North GA Canopy Tours (LULA) that has numerous approaches to the basket, plus the staff there and Keith Johnson take care of the place like it’s their home. Incredible hospitality! Second, I fell in love with Lovers Lane in Bowling Green, KY. Such amazing grounds crew there that has manicured the grass and trees. Everything was neat and clean!!
Do you have much time to spend working on the local courses?
I don’t usually have much time to work on my home course, which is Oregon Park in Marietta, GA. At least not as much as I would like. But the two disc challenge I am holding there will raise money for elevating a tee pad and maybe some directional signs for new players. I have helped install a basket and kill some poison ivy. I’ve given tips to those that have asked how to take care of things.