Editor’s note: As noted in our announcement last night, 2009 World Champion Avery Jenkins has agreed to blog with us during the 2012 season. It’s an honor to have him willing to work with us. We’re just a couple of amateur players from upstate New York, so when we started this blog, we never thought we’d get so lucky to land someone like Avery to work with us. He’ll blog periodically throughout the season, so sit back and enjoy as he takes all of us through life on the tour and in the world of disc golf!
Before getting too far into the 2012 season, I needed to write my 2011 year in review. I always need to stay on top of my blogs before I fall behind. Let’s look back to another great season of disc golf as I take you on a quick journey of some highlights from the 2011 season.
The life of a touring professional can be strenuous at times, but realize I really love to travel as much as I do and always look forward to the next event. I played in 24 Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA)-sanctioned events with 10 top-5 finishes in 2011. I also earned a win at my first event of the year, at the Asia Open in Taiwan.
I also had several strong finishes at the Kansas City Wide Open National Tour event, the Players Cup Match Play Championship and the Hall of Fame Classic Super Tour event. I also had a solid showing by placing fifth at the first Professional Disc Golf Association Championships at the International Disc Golf Center in Augusta, Ga.
I also finished seventh at the European Open, a major disc golf event in Nokia, Finland. And, I was part of the NorCal championship team at the NorCal vs. SoCal Team Invitational Championships earlier in the year.
The season started on a high note as a good friend, Kuan Chen, invited me to attend the 2011 Asia Open in Taipei, Taiwan. This was my first trip to Taiwan and definitely a place I always wanted to travel to, especially after all the trips I have taken to Japan for the Japan Open over the years.
The Asia Open is a 160-class event where all the players had to use discs that weighed 160 grams or less. Not to mention that the weather was less than ideal with rainy conditions that made it wet and muddy throughout the weekend. The weather also made it tough to adjust to the lighter-weight discs, which made things extra challenging. I battled back in the last few holes of the final 9 to claim my first Asia Open title and my first win in 2011.
Back in Santa Cruz, Calif., during the spring months, I was helping to improve the local Santa Cruz and Monterey courses for the 2011 World Championships. I put many long hours of hard work at De Laveaga, helping to pour new tee pads and building a retaining wall to prevent erosion around the tee areas.
It also made the course look more maintained. It had been in need of some renovations, so it was perfect timing to have these changes made before the event. We had many work crews out at the Oaks Disc Golf Course in Monterey, pouring new tee pads and installing benches on every hole. It was a lot of work to prepare for the tournament, but it was also good for the local disc golf community to have these courses taken care of and maintained properly so they stay looking nice for years to come.
The locals were excited to host the 2011 World Championships. Tom Schot, the tournament director, was on a mission to bring the best players in the world to Santa Cruz. They tried a different format this year by making four 27-hole courses, including De Laveaga, Pinto Lakes, Oaks and Ryan Ranch, which are all located in the Monterey Bay area.
It was the largest field ever for a PDGA World Championship with more than 430 competitors from 14 countries playing. It was also the largest pro purse ever at more than $108,000. The event also marked the first World Championship event to be held in California since the first tournament in Los Angeles in 1983.
California is a beautiful place for such an event. I would have to say that it may have been the best weather ever at the World Championships with daytime highs never reaching more than 78 degrees.
My good friend and Santa Cruz local, Nate Doss, battled it out throughout the week on his home turf. He gained the lead during the third round and only faced some pressure from Josh Anthon during the semifinals to overcome the opposition with a “walk-in-the-park” final 9 to win his third World Championship in seven years. It was a glorious moment to watch him take control of the event in front of his hometown.
The PDGA has been going through some big changes over the past year, with several changes to help improve the sport. I initially joined the Board of Directors to aid in the development and evolution of disc golf throughout the world. It is important for players to give back to the sport they love and I have the experience to make a positive change for disc golf as it continues to grow.
I ran for the board in order to better the sport through increased involvement in the PDGA process and ongoing operations. I have developed great communication with the PDGA and its members throughout the years of traveling from the grassroots level to professional ranks. With more players being exposed to this sport every year, it’s a matter of time before we really make an impact in the media and the entire sports world.
It truly has become a passion of mine. I believe I have what it takes and know that I will do an outstanding job to make it better for the sport we all love.
Also on the side of passion for the game, I had a great opportunity to help director Derek Hastings with the production of Chains, a feature-length documentary on the sport. I soon became a co-producer, production assistant and marketing manager for the ongoing project and the six-year odyssey that we call “Chains.”
For those who don’t know, it’s the first definitive documentary about disc golf. It’s a film that features the lives of top professionals to recreational players and players of all ages and abilities. They tell how their lives have been changed for the better by disc golf. It’s a story that shows the impact the sport makes on everyone who chooses to get involved.
The movie is very inspirational and I was very fortunate to be part of it and play a major part in the actual film. I can’t wait for the world to see disc golf in an entirely new light as we emerge from the makings of a hobby to an actual sport where athletes can travel the world playing in tournaments that are broadcast on television like other major sports. It’s only a matter of time before the release of the documentary and I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted when it does. Trust me, you’ll definitely hear about it!
This off-season, I took my training and dieting regiment to a new level. I committed to eating healthy and getting stronger through extensive workouts. I started by using the AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge, which is a 10-day herbal cleansing program to eliminate toxins and impurities from my body. It also worked to allow my body to better absorb the vitamins and supplements I was taking.
The next step was a 14-day metabolic nutrition system that is a comprehensive system of vitamins and supplements containing herbal extracts to enhance weight loss and help weight management, along with a strict diet program to ensure significant results. Like many diets I have tried in the past, it’s about commitment and sticking with it. I cut out dairy and simple carbohydrates, such as breads and pasta, as well as eliminating coffee and beer. Trust me, it’s not the easiest but it’s not supposed to be and I have seen significant results because of it.
I joined a health club, which is about a mile from my apartment. It forced me to run to the gym if I wanted to get in a good workout. It also allowed me to get some cardio done before I went to lift weights. Plus, it was a great way to warm up the body before stretching. I really concentrated on a weight-training routine, using a lot of free weights, weight machines and body-weight exercises.
My workouts were focused on strengthening my arms and shoulders, torso (core), hips and legs. These areas are crucial in the throwing technique. I used the basic back and biceps, chest and triceps and legs and shoulders to enable me to lift at least five times per week. I have plans to list and describe my disc golf workout in full detail in future blog postings, for anyone interested.
Other than running and the stationary bike at the gym, I also attended some of the cardio, step and yoga classes that were offered. I tracked every workout and, at this point, I have lifted, pulled and moved more than 1.5 million pounds! I’m really looking forward to getting out in the field to throw some bomb drives!
My goals for 2012:
- Win another Major tournament.
- Play my best at every event I attend.
- Produce an instructional disc golf video.
- Bring disc golf to the mainstream media.
- Promote all of my sponsors to the best of my ability.
- Travel the world playing the sport I love.
During the 2012 season, I plan to play a lot and travel a bunch more. I have scheduled to play 30-plus tournaments and will be traveling extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. I have tournaments in Taiwan, Norway, Germany and Sweden. I will be playing all of the PDGA National Tour and Major events throughout the season as I continue to be a disc golf ambassador and spokesman for the sport during my travels.
I have proven to be one of the most dominant players in the world and I strive to be the best model I can as a professional disc golf athlete. I have given my life to the sport and it’s been a passion of mine for more than a decade. As I enter my 13th season as a touring professional, I will continue to promote disc golf as one of the best sports on the planet in hopes of gaining even more exposure this year. I am looking forward to another exciting and successful season on the disc golf tour. I will do my best to make the most of it every day.
Thanks to all my friends, family and travel companions throughout the year that have made my world travels possible and my disc golf dreams a reality. Here’s to an incredible 2012 season!
Avery Jenkins (PDGA #7495) is on his 13th year as a disc golf touring professional. The 2009 World Champion, Jenkins is a three-time United States distance champion and considered one of the top players in the game. He’s also a member of the PDGA Board of Directors. You can see more from Jenkins at his website Avery Jenkins 7495.