For whatever reason, certain sports get the reputation for being predominantly played by one gender or the other. Over the years the sport of disc golf has been slow to shed the misconception that women can’t be great at the sport. With the ever-growing popularity of disc golf, women are discovering that they too can soar, as well as throw far. One such woman is Ashleh Baumann PDGA # 76500 from Kilbourne, Ohio.
Like many other ladies who begin their disc golf career, Ashleh was introduced to the game by her brother. What really got her hooked on the sport was her love for the disc’s flight. She described her fascination by saying, “My adoration for the sport grew out of the childlike wonder of watching a frisbee fly. There were times I wanted to quit after coming out of the brush covered in scratches with twigs and leaves tangled up in my hair. It would all be worth it though with one good throw. Watching a disc fly through the air on a perfect line that you created, there’s nothing like it in the world.” Most disc golfers can easily relate to her sentiment.
One of the more difficult challenges that a competitor can face when moving up into the professional ranks is the idea of basically donating your tournament fees to the more seasoned players in the field. Because 2019 will be her first full year in FPO, I asked Ashleh what she thought was the biggest difference between Amateur and Open and she admitted that, “For me it’s the level and intensity of competition. You pay your fee, anywhere from sixty to one-hundred dollars, with no promise of return. You must invest in your own capabilities and talents, hoping you will play well enough to earn it back.”
Ashleh might have more reason to risk her money betting on herself this year as she was given a sponsorship by Discraft. With the help from, now teammate Brad Schick, it became a reality. Brad stepped up for Ashleh, gave her a stack of discs, and walked her through the sponsorship application process. A week later Wes Shinevar, Underground Team Captain, called and gave her the opportunity, and asked her to join the Discraft Underground for 2019.
“I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out I was going to be on the Discraft Underground team.” I prodded further by asking what perks she enjoyed joining the Discraft Underground and she mentioned, “Being able to say I represent Discraft, a company I loved since I started playing the sport. I’ll admit that it’s also nice to come home to a package at the front door full of apparel and discs, including a test flight disc, now known as the Raptor.”
Ashleh is not without some career highlights. Out of the 33 events she’s entered, she’s recorded an impressive 10 first place and 10 second place finishes.
Total Career Events
Another great moment that Ashleh recalled was her opportunity to play at the 2017 USWDGC. “My boyfriend, Justin Shonk (Open Player), was joking with me on the way to the tournament about how I might get a chance to play with Paige Pierce. I laughed at the idea until Justin went up for a closer look on the players board. When he turned around with a gaping mouth, I knew that the next day was going to be a big, big day.” Of course Ashleh was right as the number one ranked FPO player, Paige Pierce, was on her card. “I was so nervous to play with Paige. It was one of my first pro tournaments and I was competing with the best female player in the world. Talk about pressure.” I wondered what it was like to play with Paige in such a big setting and she described a story saying, “After I putted-out on the first hole, I turned to grab my bag and Paige was running it over to me. I thought I had set my bag in front of her lie, but to my surprise she was just being kind. I feel like she went out of her way to make me feel comfortable and I will forever be appreciative of that. I hope that if I ever get to be as good as Paige, I will be as humble and kind as she is to others.” This story is a good representation of the camaraderie that women disc golfers show each other, and the way Ashleh is growing as a player. She’ll soon be able to pass that kindness onto other women in the sport.
2019 is looking to be a big season for Discraft. Considering the player moves and the way that Discraft has worked to reinvigorate the brand, all eyes will be on the company as well as the team players. I asked Ashleh what her goals are for this year and she responded by saying, “I want to play as many tournaments as I can. I really love to travel and play different courses. I would also like to raise my rating above 900, and this will come with being consistent, stringing together high rated rounds, and playing with confidence.” Ashleh’s optimism about her game and the future was exciting, but she continued, “I would like to work on my level of sponsorship with Discraft. I feel that if I complete all my goals I’ve set for myself this year it could happen!”
Ashleh Baumann is a great example of the talent Discraft is gathering together this season to make an extremely capable team on all levels.
She also has a strong bond with the Columbus Disc Golf Ladies League and is working to further women’s disc golf in her area. I asked her what events in 2019 she might want to attend and she mentioned, “I plan to play as many tournaments as I can afford this year. I own a house, have two dogs, two cats, and work full-time at B.C. Roosters Wings.” When you are a disc golfer in the trenches, finances are always a constant battle. But she’s finding ways to make it work. “I am already signed up for the Glass Blown Open and I plan to compete in the USWDGC again as well as Ladies at the Lake. I also have Idlewild, Ledgestone Insurance Open, CCR Open, Great Lakes Open, and the BHMO on my radar.” As a player with boundless enthusiasm, Ashleh is brimming with potential. She is surely a young player to watch. Will she take down some victories in 2019? I wouldn’t bet against her.