Team Discmania superstar Simon Lizotte and the world's leading disc golf geek, Antti Vuento, aka The Hat Guy, just finished their 5 week tour around Finland. We asked Simon to give us a crunchdown of those 5 weeks of almost nonstop daylight in the beautiful Finnish summer. Without further a due, here's what Simon had to say about his first official Flying Circus tour in Finland:
Wow.. Where to start? So many impressions. I just came home from being on a 6 week tour through Finland. What an amazing country that is and disc golf is making some huge impacts up there. About 5 weeks ago “The Hat Guy“ and myself hit the road for the Disc Golf Summer Tour with 14 planned stops for Flying Circus events throughout the whole country. I managed to play over 20 new courses and taught over 400 players attending the events.
You’ve probably heard about the crazy amount of courses in Finland but maybe not too much about the quality. After seeing a bunch of new courses It’s safe to say that the quality of the courses is just as amazing as the quantity. For me the most important thing are good tee pads on the course. Finland’s courses have by far the most consistent, biggest and flattest tee pads which makes every course worth playing already. Also most of the courses I played were huge and had a lot of elevation to deal with. It wasn’t only fun playing them, it was also kind of a workout being out there for 2+ hours. I sometimes wished for more open holes because I’ve only seen very few holes where distance is an advantage. These courses are more about placement shots and being able to thread straight lines through the trees. It pretty much doesn’t matter where you are in that country, you’re most likely to reach a disc golf course within 15 minutes. As it should be.
The Flying Circus events went great over the past 5 weeks. We decided to limit the field to 45 players this time to see how it works. I can tell you, trying to teach 45 players at once is not easy. We had two clinics fill up all 45 spots and it was a grind. A fun grind, but a grind. We must have averaged around 30-35 people per clinic but the great part was that the percentage of kids attending was by far higher than any other country I’ve been to. It was so refreshing to see the amount of young (10-15 year old) kids on the courses, in the stores and at the events. I can only imagine where Finland will be in disc golf in a couple of years. I’ve seen so much talent and we are so headed in the right direction!
5 weeks on the road, over 15 hotel rooms, a couple couches and easily over 4000 Kilometers sitting in our little van. Sounds like fun, is fun, but not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. First off I want to thank The Hat Guy for hanging out with me for that long. No matter how well you know each other, no matter how long, after 5 weeks of being together, sitting literally next to each other, it’s not always easy to deal with someone. We did a great job though! The tour was a success in my eyes. I saw so many kids eyes light up, asking for signatures or pictures. Making one kids day by signing a disc or throwing some holes with them makes all the trouble worth it. All the effort we but into these tours, all the money and all the time all become worth the sweat, every cent and every second by inspiring one persons life.
As many of you know, on the 2nd to last clinic I injured my knee pretty badly. I've received some great medical attention in both Finland and Germany, but the next few weeks are still uncertain. My goal is to be able to attend to the Worlds, but currently I still need to focus on the present and getting my knee rehabilitated. One thing is for sure though - I'll definitely come back to Finland. Hopefully sooner than later :)
The Tour in Numbers
Kilometers on the road: ~4500
Days on the road: 35
Reindeer on the road: 5
Courses played: 21
Rainy days: 3/35
Rainy events: 0 (2 with a slight dribble)
Discs lost: 15-20
1-min putting challenge average score for Simon: 27
Simon's fastest throw on radar: 150 km/h
Fastest throw on radar by a person attending an event: 141 km/h
Longest measured throw at the Flying Circus events: 207 meters
People met: ~475 (Flying Circus events + meet&greets), ~600 (if you count in the Vaasa Pro Tour event & DUDE Challenge event)
Interviews for media: 5