Which would be your preference? And do you sense that women may sometimes tend to feel slighted by some of the course-related decisions?
I would almost always prefer to play the same layouts and courses as the MPO. The only scenario I can think of where that is not the case would be on a course that requires 300+ feet of distance on your drive to clear water or OB.
There are two reasons that I have this preference. The first is for practice. When FPO must play 2-3 different layouts on a course while MPO plays 1 layout, or have to practice 2-3 more courses for a tournament than the MPO we already start at a disadvantage. That is 2-3 times more practice we have to get in before a tournament, so either we don’t get to practice each layout or course as much, or have tired ourselves out by practicing so many different tee shots before a tournament.
The second reason is because when the FPO division has to play different courses or course layouts than the MPO division it seems to make our PDGA player ratings for those rounds worse. I am not sure the exact science behind that but it certainly does seem to happen. I can understand that tournament directors want to make things easier for women because they think it might attract more women to the event, but unless a course or certain holes are unplayable for an FPO player due to OB and the fact that we don’t throw as far, I would always prefer to play the same course layouts and courses for tournaments as the MPO division.
What are the key discs in your bag to start the season? Are there any new models that you believe will be staples in your bag?
My main drivers to start the season are one of my HL Star Terns and a Champion Katana. I also have my usual Gstar TeeBird, Gstar Leopard, DX flat top Roc, and Pro Yeti Aviar all in the bag. I like using Gstar plastic for the discs in my bag like my Teebird and Destroyer because for me it provides a little less stability than a star or champion plastic does. My Leopard is Gstar because I like it to be very flippy to throw hyzer flip shots through the woods. I love the feel of Gstar plastic and think most of my discs in my bag would be Gstar for feel alone if all the disc flights were what I needed! I also added a brand new Star Shryke, Star Roadrunner, and Champion Cro to the bag for the first time this season!
Tell us a little more about the Shryke, and how it compliments the other discs in your bag.
I am working the Star Shyrke into the lineup, its stability is a little more than my Champion Katana and a little less than my HL Star Tern which makes it a great fit right now. I really enjoy its flight because it is fast with a lot of glide.
Disc golf can vary wildly from state to state, and even city to city. How would you describe your local scene in Florida with where you were in PA?
The courses in Sarasota are generally shorter, and very flat compared to courses up north in the Philadelphia area. In both places there is a good mix of wooded and open holes, but Florida definitely offers more excitement when it comes to bugs, spiders, snakes, and gators! The thing I like best about both places we live are the people we get to hang out with in our local disc golf scene. We attend as many weekly doubles and league events as we can in between our disc golf travels to spend time with all of them. In both places we live the disc golf community is like a second family to us which I think is so unique to this sport!
In addition to your competitive schedule, you have made time to focus on a disc golf-centric ministry outreach as well. From that standpoint, what are you looking forward to in 2017?
There are a lot of things I am looking forward to with Eagles Wings Disc Golf in 2017! We are headed on another mission trip this year this time to San Jose, Costa Rica in March to build a disc golf course for missionaries there and teach the locals how to play.
I am also excited that we are continuing Chapel services this year at many major and local tournaments, which is basically a traveling church for disc golfers who are out on tour. I love our chapel services because I hate missing church all the time when traveling for disc golf, and it is a great opportunity for me to continue to grow in my faith while out on tour.
Besides the mission trip and chapels, Eagles Wings Disc Golf is planning to teach a lot of disc golf! We have added some new employees this year which will expand the impact we can have across the country. We have a lot of programs, events, and tournaments lined up this year especially for youth, families, and women in our communities.
For those interested in helping with either of these ministries, what are some things they can do?
If people are interested in helping there are many ways to get involved. If someone wants to get directly involved in one of our programs we are always looking for new staff and volunteers and would love for them to check out the get involved section of our website, www.eagleswingsdiscgolf.org.
If you can’t help directly, but like what we are doing, we are always raising money for new programs or initiatives, and seeking donations of disc golf items to take overseas, or to get into the hands of new players locally. For more information you can email my husband Dustin Leatherman at email@example.com.