Disc golfers around the world typically play within their local community or region. A number of disc golfers are able to travel the country they live in with even fewer being able to travel the world playing the sport we all love.
Having the opportunity to travel the world and introduce new communities to disc golf is a chance that very few individuals get to experience. For Discmania’s Esther Schultz, disc golf has gone from a hobby to a fundamental element of her life. While searching for what to do after high school and a desire to go to Africa, a number of events happened that would lead her to Zambia.
During her three month stint in Zambia, she impacted the lives of an entire community with the help of her passion for disc golf. Read about the adventure in her own words as she helped take disc golf to Zambia.
Getting Started in Zambia
“For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to go to Africa. As I got older, I became unsure if this was something that could actually happen. When praying about what I should do after high school, I felt like the Lord was telling me that I just had to go and for a good amount of time. I then began looking into different options and found a missions school in Mozambique. I made plans to go and began fundraising.”
“Disc golf is and has been a very big part of my life for a long time. I was planning on bring a couple of discs and doing something with disc golf while I was there.”
“Unfortunately, three months before I was supposed to leave, there were some really bad terrorist attacks in that area of Mozambique and the school was shut down. I was left confused and disappointed.”
“About two weeks later, I was competing in the Junior Disc Golf World Championship and met Hannah and Dustin Leatherman. My mom randomly told them about my situation and they then asked if I would be interested in being a disc golf intern at a sports ministry in Zambia. In 2016, they went on a missions trip and introduced disc golf to the people by installing a nine-hole course and doing different clinics. They were planning on returning in January, installing another nine holes, doing more teaching and hosting the Zambia Open.”
“The answer was pretty clear to me. It honestly seemed too good to be true but it happened.”
“The Zambia Open was huge success! All 52 players had a great time. After the tournament, I started a weekly bag tag league, set up daily trainings for the kids as part of the after school program, and began planning a kids tournament.”
“I also put together a disc golf manual for the people there with instructions, tips, games, and different things that they may need.”
Reactions from the Locals
“Playing disc golf in Africa was a dream come true and totally mind blowing. The locals were very impressive and excited about disc golf. Every week we trained ages U10-U17; the U10 kids are my favorite though. Although they are small, they can really throw a disc and typically pickup what I taught them very quickly. They don't have many good discs, but have learned to use what they have.”
“Zambian disc golf is very different from disc golf as I knew it in the US. I often see players in the US think that they have to have the nicest discs, bags, shoes, etc… to do well. In Zambia, it’s completely different. They wear whatever shoes they have on, usually sandals, throw whatever disc looks good, and take no time at all to forehand a disc right under the basket. Very carefree, but also extremely competitive.”
“I would love to see more courses installed in Zambia. Zambians have really embraced the sport and I can definitely see I bright future for the sport here. I strongly believe that some of the best disc golfers in tho world could come out of this small village in Zambia. Where else in the world are kids coming everyday to be trained in disc golf? There are some steps that the community here and overseas would have to take to fully equip the kids, but I believe that it is possible.”
“I was honestly not expecting the people in Zambia to receive disc golf as well as they did. I didn't imagine that I would be doing half of the things that I did. It really took off! I almost feel like they need more than I can give them. I also didn't expect to be beaten by them as much as I was!”
“I am very passionate about what's happening in Zambia and think that every disc golfer should know about Zambia disc golf and the Zambian Open. I am so thankful to represent Discmania during this adventure.”
Schultz says she’d love to see disc golf in more African countries, but nothing is currently set in place. With the vision she has and the passion she has for disc golf, we wouldn’t be surprised when she heads back to Africa with more disc golf in tow.
Read more about the entire time in Zambia and Schultz’s blog.