There isn’t a day that goes by when a disc golfer asks themselves, “How do I become a professional disc golfer?” Think about it for a second… getting to play the sport you love while turning that into an income stream, or even a full time job. Sounds pretty good, right?
Becoming a professional disc golfer is possible, and might be easier than you think, but that’s just the start. Making a living out of it can be accomplished, but takes a lot of hard work, time, and determination.
Open, Pro or Touring Pro?
One could define a professional disc golfer as someone who plays disc golf and earns money from it. That is the basic separation between amateur athletes and professional athletes. At any local PDGA sanctioned disc golf tournament you’ll find Open and Masters divisions for men and women. The top winners in those divisions take home a cash prize. Thus, those are professional disc golfers.
That stage of being a professional disc golfer isn’t exactly uncommon, but it might not be what you dream of. That dream is typically more along the lines of waking up during the week, going to the course to practice, going to the field to practice, fine tuning putting, getting in great physical shape, and going to bed before doing the same thing the next day. Then, on the weekends, it’s waking up, heading to a tournament and leaving with some extra cash in your bank account. No meeting with clients. No sales calls. Just disc golf with a cash prize at the end of it.
Reaching this level is a bit more rare. If you reach this level of a professional disc golfer you can likely call yourself a “Touring Pro.” Touring Pros do nothing but travel the country (and world) and play disc golf for a living. There’s nothing stopping you from becoming a Touring Pro, but like we said, that takes hard work, time, and determination.
Play with Better Disc Golfers
The best advice on how to become a professional disc golfer? Play disc golf. Specifically, play with those better than you. Be sure to play with disc golfers better than you. Challenge yourself to beat them.
Watch how they attack the course. Pay attention to what lines they try and hit and the different routes on a specific hole. It’s important to stick to your own game, but if you find others in your group always beating your scores on certain holes, it might be time to rethink your approach.
Take notes on when they attack holes and when they play a little more conservative. Think of one of your more difficult par 3s or a longer par 4 at your local course.
On the Par 3, the distance required to get inside the circle is within your range, but it also takes a near perfect shot to make it happen. Is it smarter to put your drive in a better position to walk away with par instead of risking bogey?
Or on a Par 4, instead of going for glory and attempting a run at an eagle, a safe drive followed by a great approach shot might leave you with an easy look for birdie. One bad shot can easily turn that birdie attempt into scrambling for par or bogey.
Knowing when to attack and when to play it safe can make a difference on the scorecard. Learn from those around you… then do it better.
YouTube… Watch More YouTube
If you aren’t able to find a full card to play with at your local course, it never hurts to bring up some YouTube coverage from the SpinTV or Jomez Productions, for example. Don’t just casually watch it either. Really pay attention to the discs they throw, the weather conditions, where they place shots, etc…
Think of this like a film session after a sporting event. You watch and rewatch certain holes to see what happened. Focus on their form and how they might have changed approach depending on what others on the same card are doing too.
Finally, watch their body language. You’ll notice many different approaches. Some are very focused and really stay in the moment. Some are a little more laid back and can laugh and smile a bit between holes. Others might let their emotions get the best of them. If that does happen, how do they react on following holes? It’s more than just how you can throw the disc. What happens between your ears is just as important.
You Can Do It
The more you’re seen at the top of disc golf leaderboards the more eyes you’ll naturally get looking at you. Continue to improve and work your way up. Keep on grinding and soon you’ll walk off the final hole and someone will walk up to you and say “Hi, I’m from Discmania. Congrats on the win. I’d love to talk.” — That is the start of something big. It came to you. It can happen. It has happened. There’s also a shortcut to the team – Discmania Combine. The Combine is an event we use for recruiting new players. If you feel like you should be our team member, sign up and show us how it’s done!
A few years ago the world was introduced to an upcoming disc golfer Eagle McMahon. It was the 2015 Glass Blown Open and this unknown name was killing the leaderboard. He was already on Team Discmania. He had our discs in his bag and was proudly wearing our brand. We found him by watching him come up the ranks. Now he’s a household name. You can be a household name too. Keep playing disc golf. We’ll be watching.