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Team JP - Summer Update

Here we go again…

Thinking back on the season and seeing the last team update on April 23rd, it feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened in the local scene, with the Just Playing team, and in my own personal life. For me, it’s felt like a year since April. Near the end of May, my wife and I added a new member to our family with our son, Christopher Grant. He’s been such a blessing but has changed so much about the way I view priorities and has altered the average amount of sleep I need on any given night.

One thing, however, has not changed. My passion for the game. If anything, it continues to grow as I see those around me finding success, social network channels growing, and new big developments in some major initiatives in my life. Let’s talk about the word “passion”. The dictionary defines “passion” as a “strong and barely controllable emotion”. Disc golfers know that a Passion is a relatively straight-flying fairway driver produced by Discraft. Those of us in the local scene of Pennsylvania know that passion can be defined by seeing Team Just Playing Disc Golf. More directly, that passion can be seen emanating from the top, with our leaders Jason and Mike.

Every single time I’m around them, they demonstrate a passion and desire for their business and their team members. To be a member of Team JP is to be a member of a family. It’s a weird family sometimes, but it’s a family. The dreams that they have for this adventure are so large and exciting, that I could probably write a short novel, but I would hate to spoil the surprise as they make it happen. With their resolve and the company of team members they are building around them, I know that all of those dreams are possible.

This team update covers everything through August. We’ll look at team stats, highlight moments, future story teasers, and hear from team members about their amazing performances. Before we get to that, I wanted to share some insights provided by our team leaders, Jason and Mike.

 

From the Owners

I asked each of our owners what their highlights have been this season, events they’re looking forward to, and some other things. Just like good business partners, their answers were incredibly in sync with each other. Both of them expressed a lot of joy with seeing Team JP members playing literally all over the country and representing the team and company at huge events such as Pro World Masters in Arizona, Amateur World Championships in Illinois, Ledgestone in Illinois, GBO in Kansas, and DGLO in Michigan. In a few months, we have more team members heading down to Texas to play in the NADGT Championship.

Having team members travel to big events is huge for Team JP. As we move to host bigger and bigger events locally, having these shared experiences at the national level allows us to bring together what we’ve learned to elevate our events to championship quality. Not only are Team JP players going all over the country, but JP discs are traveling to all corners of the United States as well. With orders as far south as Florida and as far-reaching as Alaska, the plastic being sent out knows no bounds.

According to Mike, “Seeing the JP logo pop up all around the nation is just surreal. Building a disc golf business, with a million popping up since the COVID boom, has been tough, but I know whenever I see that logo, this is something I’ve helped with since its inception. Seeing the logo is just an affirmation of the work that has been put in by everyone involved. A dream from a few people in a small section of PA is becoming a reality.” Truer words haven’t been spoken. Seeing the success of a local business continues to be inspiring. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Just Playing Disc Golf Supply.

Speaking of big events, Jason traveled out to Ledgestone this year to experience playing in one of the biggest and best events in the country. Despite dealing with a lingering injury, Jason went out determined to exemplify one of the core tenets of being a member of the team. He was determined to be a light of positivity at the event and to have as much fun as possible. As we all know, winning is always great, but it’s the attitude we compete with that leaves a lasting impact on those around us.

As someone who has been to Ledgestone twice, I was excited to hear what Jason thought of the various vendors and additional events the tournament had to offer. As a charismatic face to JP, I wasn’t surprised to hear that Jason spent his extra time networking with others, gaining more insight and experience to bring back with him to help pour gasoline onto the already growing business.

Speaking of big events, when asked about what they are looking forward to, two major things stuck out like a sore thumb. The best part is, I’m willing to bet that most, if not all, of the members of Team JP can agree on these. First, a staple of the area is the Conrad Weiser Open. This event is one of the longest-running events in the country as this year marks the 42nd edition of the event. The history around this event and the beautiful setup on the homestead make this an event to remember. This year, we have seen a “cooling down” in the sign-up rates for events, but not with Conrad Weiser. The event filled up quickly, with only a handful of spots closing up near the end.

The second big event that a lot of Lebanon is looking forward to is the JP Cup Finale which will be the premier event for the brand-new course at Coleman’s Park. This course is meant to be Lebanon’s very own championship-level course. We’ll be doing a big write-up on it after it comes out and opens, but let’s just say a lot of work and love has been put into this one. This event will be the culmination of four separate events that have already taken place this year. It’s going to be a killer event on a brand-new and beautiful course. I think I speak for the rest of us when I say that we all can’t wait.

As we approach the end of the year, which is only a few months away, Jason and Mike are looking forward to 2024 and beyond. They are taking the steps to surround themselves with those who see the passion and see the future that JP has. According to Mike, “JP isn’t just a business. It’s a lifestyle.” A big push in 2024 will be the expansion of the social media game and more team development through internal coaching initiatives, and a bunch of other very cool plans. The sky is the limit for Team JP and the company itself.

 

The Statistics

One easy way to see the growth across Team JP is to look at the statistics. Here is a basic breakdown of some key interesting stats:

Notable Ratings Increases from the start of the year to now:

  • Derek Bigley (MPO Team) – 945 (January) to 956 (August)
  • Jake Ritchey (MPO Team) – 978 (January) to 982 (August)
  • Caleb Gatchell (MPO Team) – 956 (January) to 961 (August)
  • Mark Spang (MP40 Team) – 928 (January) to 944 (August)
  • Dan Wells (MA1 Team) – 916 (January) to 929 (August)
  • Andy Hansen (MA1 Team) – 921 (January) to 934 (August)
  • Camden Clapper (MA1 Team) – 935 (January) to 940 (August)
  • Elaina Webber (FA2 Team) – 805 (January) to 820 (August)
  • Jonathan Hansen (MA3 Team) – 867 (January) to 871 (August)
  • Alex Nye (MA3 Team) – 869 (January) to 882 (August)
  • Randy Roeder Jr (MA40 Team) – 861 (January) to 868 (August)

These are some pretty impressive ratings increases across the board, showcasing the effort that our team members are putting in to constantly improve themselves. Plus, those not on this list, I know they are grinding as well. We have a few team members who have been dealing with some injuries this season, but across the board, everyone is working hard to excel and grow. As a team, the JP squad has increased the average team member rating from 905.95 to 907.63.

Big Team Statistics:

  • Team Career Events – 1,314
  • Team Career Wins – 182
  • Team 2023 Top 5 Finishes – 168
  • Team 2023 Podium Finishes – 128
  • Team 2023 Wins – 55 (Inclusive of league and XC-tier events)

The success being seen by Team JP is staggering. Our team has won this year in every single division that we represent. Currently, 90% of the team has already recorded a win this season. There’s nowhere left to go but up for Team JP. To further highlight some of these big wins and moments, I reached out to a handful of team members to talk with them about their wins. Let's dive into those memories and experiences.

 

MPO – Caleb Gatchell – Links at the Lake – 7/1/23

Anyone who has been around the disc golf scene in Pennsylvania over the last few years is likely familiar with Faylor Lake. This course, established in 2021, has quickly risen in the world rankings all the way up to spot number 14. This is largely due to multiple well-designed layouts, superb use of the landscape, and most notably, stunning views. However, Faylor Lake isn’t just a pretty course. It has plenty of teeth. According to Caleb, “It's (Faylor) gotta feature some of the best views on a disc golf course in the state and the long-to-long layout is a true pro-level course.”

When asked about his favorite holes, Caleb remarked that the two “Top of the World” shots on holes 6 and 15 were definitely his favorites. As you’ll see in a minute, hole 6 might go down as not only his favorite but one of his most memorable. The tournament design for this event was one round of the short tees to long pins and one round of the long tees to the short pins. These are two of the newest layouts on the course, so this is one of the first tournaments showcasing their setup. Caleb said that his focus points were aggressive control off of the tee and precision within his approach shots.

Starting the round off, a few holes go by, and Caleb finds himself in a position where a few legitimate birdie opportunities have been missed. Stepping up to hole 6, one of his favorites, Caleb busted out his trusty Destroyer, crushing his drive with the aggressive control he was aiming for. At the end of the flight, he found himself with an eagle putt around 25-30 feet from the basket of this 522-foot par 4. Stepping up, he did what he had always practiced and nailed the putt, carding a massive eagle. A few holes later, the birdies would start dropping with a turkey on holes 9 through 11. A second turkey was accomplished on 13 through 15. Ending the round off with two more birdies meant that Caleb ran the back 9 holes for 7 strokes under par, finishing the round at -10 and 1 stroke off of the lead.

At the end of the first round, three players had emerged ahead of the field. Ryan Davie, Nathaniel Weaver, and Caleb all had only two strokes between all of them. Caleb resolved to stick to his strategy and played the front nine remaining calm and collected. At the end of those holes, he could plan out how aggressive he would need to be. He anticipated a tight race in the second round, and he wasn’t wrong. Nathaniel Weaver was about to throw down the gauntlet.

The round started normally enough, but Nathaniel kicked it into high gear right from the start. By the end of 10 holes, Nathaniel was -8 for the round compared to -2 for Caleb. Ryan had fallen off the lead, and now Caleb was sitting in second place by 5 strokes. These are the moments that come up where we all have to decide whether we are willing to accept what is happening and take our foot off the gas or to desire more and press on. Caleb stayed composed. Over the next 8 holes, he went 5 under par and Nathaniel shot even. Caleb said, “Ultimately, that closing stretch didn’t feel like the perfect stretch I thought I would need, but by staying within myself and not taking any silly risks, I gave myself a chance and that ended up being enough.”

The event still wasn’t over. A playoff was about to begin. The loop was set to be 6 white, 7 blue, and 18 white. With the huge eagle in the first round, Caleb was feeling good. The only thing was that Nathaniel accomplished the same thing in round 1 as well. Would they both be able to repeat this feat? As they stepped up to the hole, the flat finish to the second round must still have been with Nathaniel as he skipped his drive pin-high to the left about 50 feet in some bushes. Utilizing the momentum that he had built and the focus that he relied on, Caleb not only repeated the same feat as round 1, but he did it even better, placing himself only 10 feet from the pin. Another eagle. Another win.

The tournaments leading up to this one hadn’t really been going the way Caleb was hoping, but he had been putting in the work. This win, while not the biggest in his career, will definitely be on the list of memorable ones. Plus, this win keeps Caleb’s streak alive of winning 1 tournament a year and staying undefeated in playoffs. This win wouldn’t be the only of Caleb’s season. He took down a Disc Golf Open of PA warmup event in April, took first in a locally sanctioned league, and then took down another event in the Lebanon area (JP Cup Leg #4 – Lebanon Crosstown) only a few weekends ago. 2023 is looking like a solid year for Caleb.

 

FA2 – Elaina Webber – Everything

This year, if you’re playing in the FA2 division and you see Elaina on the registration list, you might as well start dreaming of second place. So far in 2023, Elaina has played in 4 tournaments, and she has come up with 4 tournament wins. There is a word for that. Oh yeah. Undefeated. It was only just a year ago when Elaina got her first rating of 755. With the most recent ratings update, she finds herself at 820. That’s a 65-point boost in just over a year!

Elaina started playing disc golf in 2020. Near the end of 2021, she began competing in doubles events, but 2022 was the year she took the plunge into singles events. Even with it being her first year competing, she took down 3 separate singles events and 3 different sanctioned leagues. With a track record like this, it seems that the sky’s the limit for Elaina.

I asked Elaina what her approach to competitive play is and how she managed a 65-point ratings increase from year to year. She mentioned that competitive play can make her nervous at times, so she sticks to her comfort shots that are easily repeatable. She mentioned that her biggest focus this year has been to start having fun during all of her rounds. She said, “Disc golf is a sport where it is really easy to get frustrated after one or a couple of bad shots. My goal is to try and make the best out of every round, no matter what the scorecard looks like, which can be tricky. However, this has helped me try to calm down and play my game when I started to nervous during tournaments.”

This season has had some major moments and memories for Elaina. One of the biggest moments was her first ace during a sanctioned league night. It was her first throw on the first hole of the night. Elaina said that she was in total shock. Another major moment was her round during the Summer Solo event at South Hills. She played the highest-rated round of her career, shooting 869. For the remainder of the year, she’s hoping to play in a few more tournaments and is especially looking forward to the JP Cup Finale and the Conrad Weiser Open. Based on her record this year, it sounds like 2 more wins to me.

 

MA1 – Andy Hansen – LVDG Sizzlin’ Summer Solos (Lakeside) – 5/7/23

One-round events in disc golf are hard. You don’t get any opportunities to hide or have a low spot. You need to be all gas and no breaks for 18 holes, taking what you can get at every turn. They require a specific kind of mindset to keep yourself in contention and out of trouble. We might need to start calling Andy the “One Round Assassin” because he took down yet another one-round event, and he did it with style and dominance.

The difficulty of the one-round setup can definitely be elevated at a course like Lakeside. I’ve seen some pretty dramatic score ranges at this course because a lot of it is very attackable for birdies and ace runs, but there is also a lot of punitive OB around the course. Things can turn from great to bad and from bad to worse very quickly. A course like this suits Andy’s game very well. As someone who has played a fair number of rounds with Andy and watched him develop his game, Andy is very good at balancing consistency with calculated aggression. He knows when he needs to attack and when that time comes, he is almost always in a position to do so. When he is comfortable and playing his game, he is never out of an event.

When asking Andy about his approach to a course like Lakeside, he even agrees that birdies are a must. According to Andy, “I definitely go into any round at Lakeside planning on going for birdie on every hole.” One of the secrets to Andy’s success on this course is that his disc selection and shot shaping allow him to play for birdie while minimizing the damage when the execution is a bit off. As I said above, he uses calculated aggression.

One of the holes that Andy identified as a “usual suspect” for some possible issues was hole 5. It’s not very long. It’s very straightforward. However, there is something about the unsuspecting nature of the design that makes a lot of people take the shot for granted. Andy said that in 2022, hole 5 netted him a double bogey that ended up costing him a tournament win. I asked Andy to walk me through what he sees from the tee pad and what goes through his mind. Here is what he had to say:

“I recently realized that the tee sits higher in elevation relative to the pin than I initially realized. Now when I throw the shot, I’m very consciously trying to throw down, and even trying to throw the disc into the ground in front of the basket. Going OB deep and having to go to the drop zone is all too common and brings bogey in very quickly. In this particular round, I threw a DX Aviar3, and tried to focus on throwing low. It still came out higher than I anticipated, but basically flew on a laser straight line, at chain height, for the entire flight.”

BAM!!!

That’s right, Andy aced hole 5. It would not be a double bogey this time. This was just a highlight in an already incredible round. Andy slapped together birdie after birdie, and aside from one bogey on unlucky hole 13, the round was enough to clear the rest of the field by 6 strokes. At the end of this massively impressive -10 round, Andy was rewarded with his second round rated over 1000 and his highest-rated round yet, 1016. Want to know something interesting? His other 1000+ round was also at Lakeside.

We all know that you should never get involved in a land war in Asia. Also, never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. However, there is now a third most famous blunder. Don’t play an event against Andy Hansen at Lakeside. Bonus points for you if you get my reference here.

Andy isn’t done. This is but a stepping stone for the next chapter in his disc golf career. He’s now dipping his toes into the MPO field. In fact, he has already cashed in an event. “I’m excited to keep learning and growing in consistency, and hopefully keep pushing that rating toward 1000,” said Andy. Based on how he’s trending, give it time, and I can see it happening.

 

MA3 – Jonathan Hansen – NADGT @ South Hills/Superthriller Doubles

If the Lebanon disc golf scene was a video game, and South Hills was one of the levels, Jonathan Hansen might be the final boss of that world. At three separate events this year at South Hills, Jon took 2nd, 1st, and 1st. This course is something special for Jon. When asked about it, he said that he learned how to play disc golf at South Hills. This is evidenced by the fact that Jon has recorded 125 Udisc rounds at South Hills. These don’t even include tournament rounds, fun rounds, and numerous other rounds that haven’t been tracked. This has given Jon a massive advantage when it comes to preparation and comfort.

“There is a level of comfortability. I spend very little time thinking about what disc to throw for any given shot, and I’ve landed tee shots in nearly every square inch of the fairways. This allows my muscle memory to take over and helps me avoid costly mistakes when the wind kicks up for those mid-afternoon rounds.”

This couldn’t be seen more clearly than in the first round of the NADGT event, where Jon shot his highest-rated round of the year at 967. The funny part is that he only signed up for the event a few days beforehand. According to him, this allowed him to come in without any real expectations. He said he was “Just Playing Disc Golf”. Yeah…I see what you did there, Jon. Jokes aside, that round put him a full 4 strokes ahead of the next competitor, his brother.

The second round switched up the layout of the event to be all reds, minus two holes. This changeup hit the field hard, and no one in the MA3 field was able to shoot under par. Jon didn’t let that phase him. He stayed comfortable and relaxed. He was so relaxed, that he managed to birdie one of the more difficult holes at South Hills, 12 red. What makes this more impressive is that Jon was the only one in the entire field across all divisions to actually get this birdie. This wasn’t just any old birdie though. This one was significant and special. Let’s walk through it.

On the second-to-last hole of the day, hole 11, Jon found himself comfortably sitting with a 3-stroke lead. In his attempts to play safe, he ended up playing a bit too safe, finding himself OB. After getting his upshot in place, he had a putt for bogey, just outside of circle 1. As his next closest competitor watched from hole 12’s green, Jon missed the putt. Jordan, the man chasing Jon down, tapped in a par on 12, cutting Jon’s lead down to 1 stroke. Hole 13 at South Hills can at times, cause a bit of a backup. This meant that Jordan was going to be able to watch Jon play hole 12 and know exactly what he would have to do on his own final hole.

With the birdie on hole 13 being entirely possible for Jordan, Jon had to make a decision on the tee pad of hole 12. He could play it safe and take the easy par. This would force Jordan to extend himself and birdie hole 13. It’s possible, but not easy. This would force a playoff. The other option was to go for it. Hole 12 is 400 feet with varying trees throughout the fairway and an OB path running to the left. Getting to the basket requires a well-executed line blended with power. Jon decided to try and close the door and do so right in front of 

After a beautiful shot on the right line, Jon was sitting about 50 feet from the basket. For whatever reason, the tee pad of hole 13 was right behind the basket, putting Jordan right in line with Jon’s putt. As if from your favorite sports movie, Jon had one mindset. End it. The putt was clean. The chains rang out. Jordan was forced to eagle hole 13, and in the end, he took a bogey. It was an incredible finish to an even more incredible tournament performance.

With this win, Jon was granted a spot in the upcoming NADGT Championship out in Austin, TX. Like myself, he is planning to go out and play. He said that he doesn’t have any expectations beyond the experience and plans to just have fun and enjoy the trip. Personally, I can’t wait to hang out with some friends and play disc golf all week.

This isn’t the end of Jon’s story. Only two weekends later, Jon would be partnered up with his brother Phil and competing in the locally beloved Superthriller Doubles. For those of you who don’t know, the Superthriller is where a very simple course (in this case, Buchmiller Park) is transformed into a monstrosity filled with mandatories and OB just about everywhere. I believe for two years in a row, the number of OB flags has crested the 1,000 mark. Shawn Conroy puts on this crazy event each year, and it’s a hit with the local disc golf scene.

Jon is a big fan of the Superthriller, saying he’ll be playing it as long as it exists. It’s a mentally taxing way to play the game, forcing you to consider so much on every shot, but it can be fun to challenge yourself like that. Personally, I’ve been noticing more tournaments popping up this year with this style of course design. It seems to be catching on in popularity.

I had to ask Jon about his choice of doubles partners. Playing with your brother has always got to be an interesting thing. If you don’t know Jon or his family, this is more interesting because he has about 83 other siblings to choose from. Put simply, Jon said that it’s “more fun that way”. He spoke very highly of his brother saying, “Phil is a better player than I am in almost every way. He actually has a good forehand game and is quite a bit more consistent at putting. Both of these skills came in handy at the Superthriller, especially when he single-handedly played the final 3 holes and won it for us on the last putt.” Jon said that he has won 6 different team events in the last 3 years, and 5 of those wins have been with brothers as his teammates. It kind of sounds to me like Jon is the key to those successes.

He said that the value of playing with his brother is that they both understand each other’s games and can more easily read the mental state that the other is in. They have played hundreds of rounds together over the years and know how to help each other and work together to strategize. This allowed them to make judgment calls off the tee and from the fairways to put them in the best place to succeed. This clearly worked because they took down the event as only 1 of 2 teams to even finish under par in their division.

As for the remainder of the season, Jon is looking forward to the few events he has left. He’s going to try and take down the Conrad Weiser Open and card another ace on the once-a-year temporary layout. He also plans on heading to Texas to compete at the NADGT Championship.

 

MA40 – Marshall Minor – OB Open – 6/10/23

Marshall is a man on a mission. Putting practice. Drills. Fine tuning. All for the purpose of stepping up to play solid disc golf and doing the things that he knows he is fully capable of doing. With an ironclad support system behind him of his girlfriend and fellow JP teammates, Marshall is poised to continue succeeding at events. One such example is the 3rd Annual OB Open.

Laurelain is an interesting course. I can personally attest to its hole variety, shot shaping requirements, and need for distance control. When asked about the course, Marshall agreed. He loves it! Even so, it was only his second time at the course. I asked him how he managed to prepare for the event, and he pointed towards the basics. “I just tried to focus on my putting. I feel like my upshot game is fairly strong, but my putts are what usually hold me back. That’s what I was turning my attention to the most,” Marshall said.

One of the discs he put a lot of faith in was his Passion, which is his go-to for straight shots, netting him a park job in the first round on the island hole. As he watched his card mates miss the island, he felt his confidence rise. That confidence meant a lot as he came out of the first round with a full 7-stroke lead. As you can imagine, playing with a lead of that size isn’t quite as easy as it would seem. It puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders to go out and perform again. According to Marshall, his record of handling tournament pressure was not where he wanted it to be.

Rather than spend time thinking about it, he leaned heavily on what he had practiced. Putts. Drills. Fine tuning. He his several big circle 2 putts and gave himself some easy tap-in putts. Going into round 2, he felt the fire fade a bit as he started a bit slower than in round 1. In those moments, he remembers some wise words shared by fellow teammates. Aim small, miss small. He knew through rigorous practice that his miss tendency was to go a bit low. He used that knowledge to adjust his aim to a link in the back of the chains. This correction would prove to be enough to sustain his round and carry him to the eventual victory.

I asked Marshall what it was that pushed him over the edge for this event. What the “secret sauce” was. He said flat out, “My team! Team JP has been a huge part of my drive to improve. I’m representing them as much as I am myself, and they are always there with advice, words of encouragement, or positive feedback. They say this game is more mental than anything else, and I’ve got a dope support system that keeps me level-headed when I need it the most. The whole time, I was getting messages from Team JP and my girlfriend letting me know they were watching and stoked for me.”

This win was a big one for Marshall in many ways. Disc golf has a way of helping us deal with the difficulties in life. When we step onto the course, we are able to leave our stresses and frustrations and focus on a fun little game for a while. We challenge ourselves to grow through our putts and approaches. We encourage and develop our own inner positivity, and we foster long-lasting relationships with those around us. This event served that purpose for Marshall. When times are tough, pick up some plastic and start throwing. When in doubt, your team always has your back.

 

MA40 – Randy Roeder Jr – Leapin’ Lenni/Summer Solos @ South Hills

“I kind of like proving a point.”

Randy says it how it is. He’s passionate about this sport. He’s passionate about his friends. He wants to get better. He wants to win. Despite playing through injuries in his disc golf career, Randy has never been stopped by bad attitudes or discomfort. Playing disc golf and getting better has become second nature. From the moment he started playing and the first putts dropped and drives flew out correctly, Randy was hooked to the sport of disc golf. Fueled by a desire to compete with his “brother from another mother”, he pushed himself to improve. He wasn’t Just Playing Disc Golf. He was trying to beat Just Playing Disc Golf. Along the way, he developed meaningful friendships with those in the community.

Fast forward two years. Randy is now a fully-fledged disc golfing machine. How does he do it? He goes to the happy place. By staying calm, controlling breathing, and focusing on the beauty of nature, Randy is able to take himself to a mindset where he has already won. Does that mean he sometimes talks to trees? Maybe. However, after you hear about his season, you’ll be chatting with the oaks and maples too!

Going into the Leapin’ Lenni event, Randy did what he was comfortable doing. He got out to the course a few days before to get centered on what he knew he would have to do. He set himself up for mental success, which gives way to physical success. On the day of the event, he took that calmness with him into the first round. When I asked him how he managed to stay focused, he said “In all honestly, I don’t believe I was looking at the leaderboard until the last 3 holes. Maybe that helped me out. Not worrying about my score, I had the feeling that I was doing better than I normally did. I had that giddy little kid heart-warming, time-slowing, steady breath with the flow state in full effect. I was really able to focus on things at that moment.”

After the first round ended, Randy found himself with a 2-stroke lead over two fellow JP team members. When round 2 came calling, Randy was ready to repeat that same feeling. Little did he know he would go on to outperform his first round by 5 strokes, catapulting him to a commanding victory over the MA40 field. He had cleared the second-place finisher by 8 strokes and shot 53 points above his rating in round 2. He said that once again, he didn’t micromanage the scores and just let his game play out. When he actually looked at the scores with only a few holes left to play, a feeling of invincibility washed over him, giving him the confidence to finish the round strong.

Randy had won plenty of sanctioned leagues before. He had won several doubles events. However, this was his first true solo win in a sanctioned event, and he did it with style and dominance. That’s when he immediately started thinking about the next one. Others told him that the second win is always a bit harder to get than the first. “I kind of like proving a point.” That is what Randy said, and guess what? Only 3 weeks later, he took down another solo sanctioned event. This time, it was at South Hills for the Summer Solos event. Not only did he win, he shot 43 points above his rating and was the only one in his division to shoot under par.

Randy says that watching some of the younger players around him is truly inspiring. It helps him feel the passion to keep grinding and honing his skills. These wins were important to Randy, and I can tell you right now that they won’t be his last. I would be very scared of this man in the MA40 division because he’s coming to play some serious disc golf. When you see him in the good vibes, knee-deep in the flow state that he has worked hard to master, there isn’t much that will stop this man.

 

Team Wins – Wrap Up

One of my favorite parts of writing these up is seeing the excitement the team members get to relive their wins and highlight moments. We all know about the big professionals on the pro tour and world championships. What we often fail to see is the spotlight on the local guys grinding it out in MA3 or MP40 at a local B or C-tier.

I can tell you that just being on the inside of the team, I can see so many members working hard on improving their skills, building new connections with others, and growing the sport. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this team, and getting to share their stories brings me a lot of joy.

Speaking of stories, let’s highlight a few other major things that have happened with the team and some of its members.

 

In Other News…

I can’t proceed any further in this write-up without mentioning perhaps the biggest and most impressive news that a member of Team JP has been a part of this year. Our main man, Mr. Jay Gobrecht, has reached several humungous milestones this year. First and foremost, the reigning 2022 MP65+ World Champion went out to Flagstaff, Arizona in July and successfully defended his title, becoming a two-time world champion!

Not only that! Jay also did something that only about 0.03% of PDGA members can even hope to achieve. Earlier this year, he took down is 100th win and became a member of the coveted 100 Win Club. That didn’t stop him from winning this year because so far, he’s amassed 15 total win in the 2023 season. Absolutely unbelievable!

I know what you’re thinking. Gary. Why have you not done a massive write-up on Jay in this update? To be honest, it would make this thing 3 times as long! However, coming up later this year, I’m going to be doing some work with Jay to better share his story through a blog post here and a video interview on the Just Playing Disc Golf YouTube channel. Stay tuned for more details, but you won’t want to miss out on seeing that!

Another big story has been the presence of Team JP members at large tournaments throughout the country. This year, Dan Wells traveled to two of the biggest tournaments in the country, playing in both the Discraft Great Lakes Open and the Dynamic Discs Glass Blown Open, where he was part of a very rare galaxy-frame! Don’t know what that is? Well, you’ll just need to check out that story when it comes out in the next few months. Is that not enough for you? We’re also going to chat it up with Andy Hansen, who competed in the Amateur Disc Golf World Championships and set a very unique record of his own. He became a part of the longest competition round in PDGA history. 5 hours? 6 hours? Nope. Try something like 50 hours.

We’ll also be talking with Jon Hansen and myself about our experiences at the National Amateur Disc Golf Tour Championships. Jon and I are traveling out to Austin, Texas to compete in that later this year. It’s going to be a blast and another opportunity to spread the JP name all over the country!

Finally, soon and very soon, the newest course will be unveiled in the Lebanon area, Coleman’s Park! This course will be Lebanon’s shot at a championship-level course and will help to make Lebanon another major destination for disc golf. We’ll be doing a big write-up on the course where we will talk to the course designers, find out what construction was like, discuss course design, and walk you through the course. It’s going to be something special.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion to all of this, I can’t express in plain words how wonderful it is to be a member of Team JP. It’s something I’ve wanted for quite some time, and these guys have given me a chance to chase my passions. As I continue to develop this blog and other new and exciting social media ventures, I know that our community will only benefit from the increased coverage of our courses, events, and players.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read these things. I hope that you enjoyed getting to live in the moment with some of our players, experience the comradery of Team JP, and hear about some of the exciting things to come on Just Talking Disc Golf. Until next time plastic slingers, keep moving forward!

 

- Gary Daddario III - www.thumberlife.com

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