In 2010 I photographed the President’s Cup and USDGC at the Winthrop Gold Course in Rock Hill, South Carolina. DiscGolfPlanetTV had hired me on after I met John Duesler at Worlds that year.
The President’s Cup broadcast was revolutionary for disc golf at the time, in the short film that was directed by Dave Manzo. It was amazing to see him work in the field, capturing all the small details. He had lined up all of the players to do this slow pan, which felt awkward to watch because they just stood in staggered lines there staring into the distance but the final cut looked fantastic.
Jussi Meresma was the tournament director for the event. I remember reading about him in DiscGolfer Magazine beforehand about how he was changing the sport. The character I had built up in my mind of him was mythic. Then to be there and meet him in person, to see him work and how he ticked, it was eye-opening. I don’t know what he thought of me, but I know he seemed enthused when I told him that I love to play the game. He handed me a Team USA shirt that I could wear during the event and emailed me a shot list. His friend who was helping him run the event saw that I was using a Canon Rebel and ended up lending me his equipment. I do not recall what model the camera was, but it was a Canon with a full-frame sensor and a prime 300mm lens. Looking back now, that was so gracious of him to lend me the equipment, and so trusting. That equipment is not cheap. But the quality of images that came from it were significantly better than what I would have produced. To this day I dream about having all prime lenses like that, but the budget just isn’t there.
Capturing an event like this was new to me. It is match play so I didn’t really know who I should follow and the course is huge! They did not play all of the holes that Winthrop Gold has to offer. But to give you an idea of scale, if you walk in a straight line from the club house to hole 13 it is one mile (hole 13 is “888,” the par-5 888-foot hole with parking lot and path O-B). So I tried to capture as much as I could with where I was at.
Then to be surrounded by this amount of talent. Eras of disc golf colliding: Ken Climo, Nate Doss, Valarie Jenkins, Karl Johan Nybo, Dave Feldberg, Nikko Locastro, Eric McCabe, Birgitta Largerholm, Paul Ulibarri and more. These were the names that dominated the sport and to be there, to witness it. It did not fell real. But I lived it and you can see the proof below.
Looking back now, this is history, and better yet – disc golf history. Nowadays I recognize that fact more that we are living in history. That the images that I create are timeless. I have more of an emotional approach with my visionary process and I recognize the fact that the details, the smiles, the clapping, the dust flying off a disc when they pat it dry. The kid (or the adult), that stares into the eyes of a pro is where all of the magic is, because that was me and that was all of my friends that played the game too.
I am so happy that DiscGolfPlanetTV trusted me, this girl with her Canon Rebel that loved the game, to be the disc golf photographer. They took a chance on me. A chance that opened my heart and awareness for the game and fulfilled a part of my soul’s purpose, to grow the sport of disc golf.