Plano’s own Paige Pierce first picked up a disc golf with her father when she was just four years old. A game of strategy that demands the same precision as traditional golf, disc golf requires a highly trained arm, a cool head and familiarity with the distinct throwing discs. According to Paul Ince of the Professional Disc Golf Association, “the object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws.” There are different discs, putters, drivers and more as well as a target that each player aims at.
Today, Paige is widely recognized as one of the top athletes to beat. She is a 3x World Champion, sponsored by KEEN Footwear, Cali Connection and HandEye Supply, and is competing at the highest level around the country with her eye on the prize: a 1000 rating, the best a disc golfer can achieve. This September, she was in Maine at the United States Women’s Disc Golf Championships where she took third place.
You were introduced to disc golf very young. What made you begin to love it?
I truly began to fall in love with disc golf when I started to get a little more accurate. As I started to get older and more confident in my abilities, I began to start out-driving my dad and his friends on occasion, and over time, it happened more and more often!
What’s been your proudest moment?
Winning my first world championship. I was 19 at the time and hadn’t quite proven myself. It was in Santa Cruz, California, the home of the 3x world champ Val Jenkins. She was obviously the one to beat. I felt confident in my skills but was yet to execute them in such a high pressure setting; it was a true test. When the week was over, I came out victorious. I couldn’t have been more ecstatic.
It gave me the confidence to believe I can compete against the best even in a setting where all odds are against me. Any time I am feeling a bit down and out, I replay that week for a little reassurance.
Your current rating is 961. Your goal is a 1000 rating. Once you reach your goal, what’s next?
Getting to a 1000 rating is a long time coming. I tend to think far ahead, so that’s a really long term goal! After that, there will be nothing to top it, so I may have to take a new career path.
(Totally kidding! When that time comes, I will make new goals. I will always be involved with disc golf.)
Why should people try disc golf?
It’s a great way to get out of the house and do something fun and competitive. Lately, it’s more apparent than ever that people are staying in and finding entertainment in screens. Disc golf is the perfect remedy. It’s good for hidden exercise. [Laughs] You don’t even realize you’re hiking because you’re throwing discs around with your buddies in a beautiful park!
Where do you disc golf locally?
In Allen or McKinney. The Allen course is Bethany Lakes, which is only a nine hole course. But it’s very spread out and open with lots of paths. This helps me practice with wind and keeping my shots in bounds.
In McKinney, there are two courses on either side of Highway 75 at the El Dorado exit. On the West side of the highway is the original McKinney course, Alex Clark. It’s more of a beginner course with short technical holes that allow me to work on my approach and putting game.
And on the East side of the highway is a newer more challenging course called Towne Lake. This is my favorite course in the Metroplex as it’s close to home and is also a tournament level course. The shots are very challenging, and each hole has a great variety, so you get to throw lots of different shots!
In Plano, there are only two courses, Shawnee Park and Frito Lay. One of my off-season plans this year is to try to get a meeting with whomever has the pull to get a new course put in. There are lots of disc golfers in Plano and surrounding areas, so I know it would get good use!
What advice do you have for local disc golfers?
Go out, find a park, seclude yourself for an hour or so and just learn your discs. We get caught up in what’s new and hot and start to trail off into discs we’re unsure of. Stick with what you know and work on repetition so you learn that disc with 100% confidence. You’ll still mess up sometimes, but at least you’ll know why and how to fix it!
Originally published in Plano Profile’s November 2016 issue.