DISC GOLF: Local disc golfer Gregg Barsby talks about life on the pro tour
Growing up near Condon Park in Grass Valley, Gregg Barsby put in countless hours developing his disc golf skills on the popular local course tucked behind baseball fields and a skate park.
As a youth, he also played more traditional sports like soccer and baseball, according to his website greggbarsby.com, but in the early 2000s Barsby turned his athletic focus solely to disc golf, kicking off a journey that would take him all over the world.
Fifteen years later Barsby, 30, has more than 50 professional wins and recently put together several strong showings at European tournaments, including a first place finish at the KYY Open in Turku, Finland, and a second place finish at the European Open in Nokia, Finland.
Barsby is back in the states and making his way through the second leg of the U.S. Tour, so we caught up with him to learn a little more about the local disc golf pro.
FORD: “When you were young, did you ever think disc golf would be your profession, let alone take you around the world?”
BARSBY: “When I was younger, I spent a great deal of time honing my skills at Condon Park, so by the time I had my license to drive, I was playing in the open division. Once you accept prize money, you are considered a pro. I stuck with it and continued playing events on the West Coast. Eventually, I decided to go play events in the more eastern states at age 19.
“I think since that time, up until right now I have been constantly honing my skills to have what it takes to compete at a high level. The game frisbee golf has evolved into the sport of disc golf, the way I see it. The golf discs have changed, and the way they are thrown has changed. Part of it being a real profession (in my opinion) is being able to adapt the way I play anywhere I go.
“I didn’t really see myself traveling as much as I do now, I’ve been in each of the lower 48 states through the years. I began playing internationally four years ago, I’ve been playing for a lot of years, so I’ve got a solid network of friends a few of them promote events when I travel to their courses. Being able to explore new and beautiful places and experience cultures is always amazing, but being able to play and teach disc golf along the way is a true blessing.”
FORD: “What’s life like during the tour?”
BARSBY: “Well, it just all depends on where you are. The end of June and all of July was spent overseas in Iceland, Norway and Finland. It’s like a daydream when I go over there in summertime with the sun being up most of the day, great times for sure.
“I’ve hosted 27 clinics in between events this year, I’m focused on improving and performing at my best for the remainder of the season (ending mid-November), so I’m just trying to keep my body feeling good at this point.”
FORD: “What is your favorite event?”
BARSBY: “I have many favorites, Beaver State Fling in Portland, Oregon. and Vibram Open in Leicester, Massachusetts, come to mind first.”
FORD: “What are your favorite courses?”
BARSBY: “I have too many favorite courses. I like the Des Moines area, or Portland area, many great courses in each of those cities.”
FORD: “What is your favorite Northern California course?”
BARSBY: “I may be a little biased here, but my favorite course is Kelly Ridge DGC located at Lake Oroville Golf and Event Center. It’s 18 holes, and is super fun to play with the carts.”
FORD: “What is your most memorable shot?”
BARSBY: “Recently I dropped a 476-foot ace out in Illinois on the pro tour. I have many memorable shots, but nothing comes close to the roller ace on hole no. 4 in Santa Cruz.”
FORD: “What is your most memorable tournament win?”
BARSBY: “My most recent victory was in late July at the KYY Open in Turku, Finland. That was special being it was my first win overseas. It’s my most memorable because it’s my most recent win. (Laughs.)”
FORD: “Any advice for novice disc golfers?”
BARSBY: “Learn with mid-range discs first. As you learn and progress, move your way to the faster, sharper drivers. Enjoy the game, and leave the course cleaner than you found it.”
FORD: “Anything else you’d like to add?”
BARSBY: “Yes, I would like to add that disc golf is a widely enjoyed activity in Grass Valley especially, I think it’s time to develop a plan for the next course(s) in town.
“Disc golf is growing rapidly with many cities getting behind events with a positive response. So, I’d like to help grow it at home when I can and bring a high-profile event to our area.
“We have a great scene, big thanks to the Gold Country Disc Golf Association (GCDGA), all my friends, the local businesses who have sponsored or supported disc golf, (and) my gear sponsors Innova Champion Discs, and Upper Park Designs bags. Check out my website greggbarsby.com to keep up with my journey. See you in November!”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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