Team Discmania’s Kyle Klein had big plans for the 2020 disc golf season. He planned on traveling more and hitting the big tournaments around the country to see how he could compete against the best in the sport. Fast forward to October and it’s easy to say that he’s right where he belongs.
“Coming into the season I didn’t feel the most prepared to be out and traveling,” Klein says. “But I’ve proven myself that I can do this.”
When disc golf tournaments got shut down at the start of the global pandemic in spring, Klein found himself in a fortunate position. He didn’t have any tournaments planned until mid-to-late May. In the end, the shut down really didn’t play a big factor.
Klein, just 18-years-old, won the 2019 United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship and Next Generation tour National Championship. He isn’t a a stranger to the spotlight. That spotlight became a little brighter a few weeks ago at Maple Hill.
Just a few years ago Klein would spend hours on YouTube watching the best in the sport compete at the highest levels. Now, he found himself playing right along side them.
“It’s a weird feeling. In the moment, it didn’t hit me right away. I’m playing on a card with Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki. I’m usually just playing disc golf, but now I look around and some of the best players in the world are right next to me,” Klein says.
At Maple Hill, he was on the first card that went out on Friday’s first round. In fact, it was just a card of three people. He finished at -7 for the round and was the leader in the clubhouse for quite some time. It wasn’t until the afternoon that someone topped his score.
Klein said as he got ready for the second round, the dynamic changed quite a bit, “With the first round being a threesome, we played and set our own pace. Didn’t play at anyone else’s speed. In the second round we had the four of us, score keeeper and 10-15 more following.”
The added energy to the round was something Klein thrived on. He has played with a large following before, but said the overall vibe was different.
“When you’re in the moment, you realize what the stakes are. I love the pressure though,” says Klein.
Most importantly Klein realized he can hang with the top in the sport, “It’s about consistency. I think hole 7, the top pros can do it 7-8 out of 10 and I can do it 3-4 times. I have the skill, but don’t have the consistency. Working on throwing that high level shot.”
Klein prepared for this year’s USDGC a few weeks ago before they trip to the Jonesboro Open this past weekend. He knows it is going to take that consistency to play well, “I was here last year and it showed that it was my first time there. I didn’t play the smartest. If you stay in bounds, you’ll be fine. If you can execute in-bounds shots consistnetly, you’ll play really well.”
When asked what he’s been throwing, he said the essentials for any Discmaniac. Cloud Breaker II DD3, PD2, and FD3s. He also added the Mentor from the Discmania Active Premium Line.
After he hits Rock Hill this week, Klein heads to the DGPT Championships to show he can continue to compete against the best in disc golf.