out and active to pro-tour
Eau Claire - Words and photos by Branden Nall
LOCAL DISC GOLFER EVOLVES FROM JUST A WALK DOWN THE FAIRWAY TO TAKING ON THE BEST IN THE WORLD, GROWING THE SPORT.
One of the fastest growing sports in the United States(possibly world) is Disc Golf. The Professional Disc Golf Association stands by this. The sport has seen an incredible influx of players, events and major sponsorships taking shape over the last few years and prompting an explosion over the pandemic.
High caliber players on the Professional Tour have contracts that chart millions of dollars with ESPN now providing coverage of some major events.
I used to throw discs 20 years ago. Since then, nothing until 2021 when I was reintroduced to a same, but whole new sport. Immersed in sports for the majority of my life, little did I know we have a MASSIVE local disc golf community of hundreds, if not thousands, of players of all talents.
One of those, Sami Osterberg. Hailing from the metropolis of Cleghorn. Sami has a 10 hole course at her house and is a Pro. In 2014, the year after her daughter was born, Sami started looking for something to do to get out, so disc golf became that outlet. "I just threw the disc down the fairway, just to get out and be active."
Playing pretty consistently until 2019 when she was approached by a couple of regulars in the sport. They indicated that she was doing extremely well as she could throw far. Letting her know about some local tournaments, she jumped into one and the journey began.
She became a PDGA member in 2020 then found herself placing high enough and winning enough at PDGA sanctioned events that in 2021 she was moved into the Female Pro Open classification. This allows her to play Pro-Tour events at the Worlds largest competitions.
Sami is sponsored by a few different companies including Discraft Underground and MPWRD. Both organizations are on the forefront of developing this sport. The biggest motivation that Sami has is to get others on the courses and introduce them to this game - so it's a great fit for both she and her sponsors.
This year she has played in 8 sanctioned Pro Tournaments some of which are the Memorial Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona - The OTB Open in Stockton, California - The Preserve Championship in Clearwater, Minnesota and the 2022 United States Women's Disc Golf Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.
"I was a bit nervous that Hannah was on my card, until I found out the GOAT wasn't there, then I relaxed a little."
During the Preserve Championship she shared a card with Paul McBeth's wife, Hannah. Paul is considered the greatest disc golfer of all time and is still on the Pro-Tour with a U.S. rank of #2. Sami said, "I was a bit nervous that Hannah was on my card, until I found out the GOAT wasn't there, then I relaxed a little."
Sami has a day job working retail, but manages to squeeze in at least 18 holes a-day as much as she can. Her daughter also plays and will be playing on the national stage this month; absolutely loves competition and has a bunch of friends her age that also play, whom she keeps in contact with.
Tower Flex Friday is a tournament that Sami and her brother run at Tower Ridge Recreation Area just east of Eau Claire in the Town of Seymour. She has a passion for putting on events and doing all that she can to grow the sport.
She doesn't discriminate on courses in the area or traveling, so she will head to Stanley and play the course a couple times and then hit another on the way back home.
Keep an eye out for more on Sami as her career in the disc golf world grows! She is one of the best female players in the world. Here at Chippewa Valley Sports - we are rooting for great things to come!
It's pretty incredible at how many courses we have in the Chippewa Valley! I know 12 off the top of my head that span from Stanley to Menomonie to Osseo and more development is happening every single day with organizations like Chippewa Valley Disc Golf Organization and people like Sami moving the chains(pun intended).
Get out and play - most courses are free and you can pick up discs at local retailers. As of now you can find courses on UDisc where you can keep score and much more.
Chippewa Valley Sports is working on a subsite resource center for disc golf and will have it live as soon as possible.