With success on and off the course, Nate Sexton won’t soon forget 2017 and neither will most of the disc golf world. On the course, his biggest win came recently when he won the United States Disc Golf Championship (USDGC), his first Major win, one that he’s been looking for since turning pro in 2005 (he’s been full time since 2013). Off the course, he may have “walked away with the biggest prize.”
Sexton, 32, did it by shooting four rounds in the 50’s: 59 (-7), 58 (-9), 57 (-10), and 58 (-8) – something that every great player sets out to do at the Winthrop Gold Course, but few are able to accomplish. When asked how he did it, Sexton is modest, saying it just so happened to be his week when he was able to execute his game plan better than everyone else. But watching his play you’ll see that his nearly automatic forehand drive, precision backhands when he needed them, and clutch putting were just as important.
It’s fantastic. It’s hard to believe. Every day it sets in a little bit more
When asked what it felt like to win the USDGC, the often light-hearted Sexton replied: “Man, it’s really a nightmare as you might expect.” Then, getting more serious he continued: “No, it’s fantastic. It’s hard to believe. Every day it sets in a little bit more,” said Sexton, adding that it’s a cool feeling knowing the experience will always stay with him.
Next on the tee: Coraline
The USDGC wasn’t the only big win for Sexton this year. In June, Nate’s wife Brianna gave birth to Coraline, their first child. Sexton said the addition of Coraline has been amazing. “Watching her grow and learn to do new things has been incredible and my wife and I are so excited to get to be there for her and watch her grow up,” said Sexton.
A few months later, Nate continued the big life moments (though not quite as awe-inspiring as a child) when he bought an RV, calling it the biggest purchase of his life. The RV has been home to the family since the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open in August. Brianna has taken a year off of medical school so the family could be together and have a disc golf touring adventure at the same time. After each round of the USDGC, Nate could be seen catching up with Brianna and Coraline.
A knack for commentating
Also this year, Sexton has become more of a fan favorite for the commentating he does for Jomez Productions post round coverage. While listening to Sexton do his thing, it’s easy to understand why. Not only will he tell you what’s special about the hole and why a shot’s amazing, but he’ll add a healthy dose of humor to the recap as well.
There’s a good example of that when Sexton teamed up with Jeremy Koling for the USDGC’s final round lead card commentary (in which both men appeared on the lead card as well). While recapping Hole 12, Koling explained how he tried to “play catch” with the basket during an approach shot, but he came up much shorter than intended. Sexton then had some fun with Koling’s “play catch” phrase with, “I mean, not a great effort by the basket either. It pretty much just stood exactly where it was,” teased Sexton.
Red hot Firebird
Innova Star Team member @frisbeenate was looking for a reliable Champion Glow Firebird that he could easily find on the course. We were able to produce these multi-colored Glow Tour Series discs to help him perform at his best. A significant portion of each sale will go directly to Nate. These Firebirds have a very minor dome and are softer than your average Champion Glow disc to accommodate Nate's performance needs. Not to be confused with domey or gummy, these discs have just the right amount of give coupled with a comfortable profile. #discgolf #innovatourseries #innovadiscs
During the video coverage it’s not uncommon to see Sexton throwing his Tour Series disc, the Nate Sexton Color Glow Champion Firebird. In its third year, the disc has become one of Innova’s most popular Tour Series discs. He’s been carrying 3 in his bag (2 from 2015 and 1 from 2016) and said he uses it all the time. “I throw them a lot. At least 10 times per round. It’s probably one of my most used discs,” said Sexton.
Factory Store Commemorative Firebird
USDGC win: a long time coming
Winning a Major like the USDGC was something Sexton had always hoped he would do, but after trying for 12 years he wasn’t so sure if it would happen. At the 2015 USDGC, Sexton came as close as he ever did to winning a Major. He had the lead going into the final round of the USDGC, but stalled out and had to settle for 4th.
I wanted to believe I was capable of winning a tournament like this, and I guess I am.
– Sexton when accepting the USDGC trophy
“I was told I had a pretty mean forehand when I was 1 year old. I think it comes back to my dad. He and I and my brother and stepmom played frisbee together all the time while I was growing up.” @frisbeenate leads #usdgc2017 by three strokes going into today’s final round. It starts with the first throw. For Nate, it began on the sidelines of his parents’ ultimate games. What’s your #loveatfirstflight story? #discgolf #innovadiscs
Sexton is looking forward to sharing the experience with his family in Oregon, notably his dad Jay, who caddied for Nate in 2015 and two other USDGC’s, but was unable to make it this time. He said his dad was really excited to hear the news and told Nate that little Coraline must have been his gold luck charm. Nate said he may even loan out the USDGC trophy to his dad for a while.
The summer of Nate!
It’s hard for anyone to look back on their life and single out one year that stood above the rest, but Nate might be able to do that with 2017. At the USDGC podium he summed it up quite well. “With my beautiful wife and baby daughter here with me, and with the trophy I’m about to go pick up, in this moment, I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted,” said Sexton.