The 2019 disc golf season has turned out to be one of the most competitive years ever. The scores have gone down, the competition has been fierce, and new players are emerging on the scene like never before. A player that is starting to make a name for himself on the pro tour is Alex Russell PDGA #66362.
This young player from Vancouver has taken his game to the next level by finishing 7 out his last 12 tournament within the top 10. He accomplished this feat despite going head to head with the best competitors in the world of disc golf. Alex’s best finish this year was a 2nd place to none other than World Champion, Ricky Wysocki at the Texas State Disc Golf Championships.
Within the disc golf landscape, vans and RVs seem to be the transportation of choice. I wanted to know how he was traveling, and the answer I received was very much what I expected. Alex is not a flashy player on the course, and he let me know that when he travels it is by himself in a 2001 Honda Civic. It is this single-minded approach to life and disc golf that has help propel him to the top of the leaderboards.
Rapid fire with Alex Russell
Ink Slingers: Which win last year was the most thrilling?
Alex: The Majestic in Minnesota. It was the biggest win of my life and helped opened my mind to believing anything is possible.
Ink Slingers: Has there been a rating hurdle that was the hardest to get over?
Alex: I want to say I was in the 980s for 6 updates before I hit the 990s. I started cashing when I kept myself calmer on the course and started cleaning up the circle putts and leaving fewer silly strokes out there all around.
Ink Slingers: When you want the best feel-good music, what are you listening to?
Alex: Probably going with dirty heads.
Ink Slingers: What is something about you that most do not know?
Alex: I lived in Hawaii for about 3 months when I was younger.
Ink Slingers: What does playing disc golf mean for you as a person?
Alex: I have always been a pretty socially awkward and disc golf really helped to push me out of that bubble. I would just always stay at home.
Ink Slingers: In the clutch what would you prefer the backhand or forehand?
Ink Slingers: Who is your closest disc golf friend who is also disc golf competitor?
Alex: Cameron Messerschmidt
Ink Slingers: What age did you pick up a disc?
Alex: About 6 years old.
Ink Slingers: What did your parents think when you first started playing disc golf?
Alex: They loved it. I was one of five siblings and we would all get out to play together.
Along with making some significant moves this season, Alex has quickly become a promising young player on the already stacked Innova team. I wanted to know how it feels to be on a team as prominent as Innova and he replied that, “It was the plastic I grew up playing with and now to be able to compete for Innova is just a dream come true on top of being out on the disc golf tour.” There isn’t a doubt that Alex has taken his game to the next level this year but will it last? “I have really enjoyed ripping on Innova plastic this season. We will see over time if its sustained.”
Staying confident in your game in the era of players like Paul McBeth is no easy task. I asked Alex what his goals were for the rest of 2019 and he said, “I would like to keep my cash streak alive throughout the season. Some events coming up on the west coast that are pretty tough to cash at so it should be exciting. A USDGC invite is a big goal as well.” Can he make a living as a disc golfer? “If I can continue to grow as a golfer and keep chipping away, I feel that it will become a reality. Cashing will always be a high priority.”
Alex Russell’s no-nonsense approach is a breath of fresh air to the sport of disc golf. Perhaps there is no other way he would want to play the game. Aside from a handful of wins, Alex hasn’t had that big win to hang his hat on, but with his solid game play, and his growing reputation as a putter that can score from anywhere, he might be primed to take down a high level tournament more sooner than later. He is definitely a player to watch.