When Dana Vicich was young, he was a fan of anything you could throw. Rocks, balls, frisbees. It didn’t matter. Vicich loved to pick something up, aim at an object and give it a toss. As he continued into the frisbee world, Vicich and his friends played a very basic version of frisbee golf and even called it “frolf” after the “Summer of George” episode of Seinfeld where George Catanza goes frolfing.
From an iconic TV series to today, disc golf has been a big part of his life. While no stranger to the professional disc golf scene, Vicich had a breakout year in 2017 that ended with an appearance in the Disc Golf Pro Tour finals.
While he balances continued success in disc golf, course design, and being a family man, Vicich says he has a lot to look forward to in 2018.
When did you first get into disc golf?
My love of frisbee was just beginning to come on strong as my first love, baseball, was ending. While playing my final baseball tournament in Battle Creek, MI at the Mickey Mantle Midwest Regional Championships, my friends and I saw these racks of discs for sale at a gas station or something right next to our hotel.
I remember being so excited to see that there was really a thing called disc golf! I bought a few discs and we hit the parking lot, thinking we were going to crush these discs like we could our frisbees. Let's just say that a DX Whippet doesn't share the same flight characteristics as a frisbee.
After a valiant effort in the tournament and no college baseball in my future, my baseball playing days were through. As that door closed, another had unknowingly opened. A parent had seen us trying to throw our discs and casually mentioned that our hometown had just installed a course! One of the firsts things I did when I got home was to head over to Fox River Park (side note: this was a Houck design). Sure enough, there was a 9 hole course there! This was when I went from frolfer to disc golfer. Clearly, it was meant to be.
Dana Vicich with a long putt attempt at the 2017 Disc Golf Pro Tour finale. (Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen)
You and your wife recently welcomed your second daughter into your family. How has the adjustment to being a family of four been?
I thought I was busy when we had our first. Now, I'm really finding out the meaning of busy! Losing the 2-1 parent to kid advantage was a bit of a shock at first, but we've adjusted nicely.
Ever since you joined Team Discmania, what disc has helped reinvent your game?
Without a doubt, the Swirly S-Line CD2 would have to be that disc. First off, the Swirly line plastic looks and feels amazing. More importantly though, the Swirly CD2 is an incredible flying disc. It's got sneaky long distance that will make you question it only being a speed 9. I also love that it isn't super sensitive to nose angles, you can be off a little bit and not be totally punished.
You’re also an important member of the DiscGolfPark team. What DiscGolfProjects have you been working on?
Closing out 2017, I had Avery Preserve DiscGolfPark open up in Plainfield, IL. We worked with the Park District to completely redesign the course and upgrade all of the equipment.
This winter, I've been working with the McHenry Conservation District in Cary, IL to design an 18 hole DiscGolfPark. The property is great for disc golf and it is super exciting that disc golf is going in at a conservation site.
Looking forward, I'm heading to Florida to work with a retirement community to design a short, recreational course. This is my first out of state project, so I am looking forward to that experience.
I’m always looking for new DiscGolfPark opportunities.
Dana Vicich lines up a shot during the 2017 Disc Golf Pro Tour finale. (Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen)
You previously talked about your goals for the 2018 season. 2017 was a very successful year which ended with a run into the Disc Golf Pro Tour finals. What did you learn last season that you hope will benefit you going into the 2018 round of tournaments?
It felt great to have some success again out on the national scene. Proving that I can still compete, even though I'm not touring full-time was just what my psyche needed. The final round of the DGPT Finals still haunts me, but it won't define me.
Speaking of this year, what are your tournament plans?
I'm planning on hitting some of the DGPT, along with some of the bigger regional events like The Rumble and Clash at the Canyons. I've also got my eyes on Worlds at Smugglers Notch, but with it being during the school year (my wife is a teacher), it might not be doable. 2018 is going to be all about taking advantage of when I can play. Playing less will just make it even more special when I do get out!
Thanks to Vicich for talking with us during his busy schedule. It’s safe to say that Vicich is making an impact not only on the course, but off the course as well. From DiscGolfPark, efforts with Discmania, and more, the Vicich name will continue to be a force within disc golf for years to come.
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