If you’re the kind of person who can’t get enough of disc golf and enjoys great beer, I have a podcast for you. There is a show called The Disc Golf Podcast that I consider the best kept secret in disc golf. Two avid disc golfers from the state of California have combined their love of throwing plastic and drinking beer into one fun-filled show. Podcasts are nothing new, so what’s so different about The Disc Golf Podcast? For me, it would have to be the hosts. Robin Ward along with his longtime friend Joe Hardeman have been dissected the world of disc golf and drinking beer week after week all for you the fan. Even after one hundred episodes, their on-air style hasn’t wavered much from their very first episode nearly three years ago.
Robin is quite often the voice of reason on the show in contrast to Joe’s shoot from the hip, take no prisoners broadcast style. When the opinions begin to fly, any conversation can lead to funny banter or devolve into awkward silence, and both are great. What really shines through after several listens to the show is the real friendship these co-hosts share for each other. This is what separates The Disc Golf Podcast from other disc golf shows. They weren’t hired to be a team; they’ve chosen to share this broadcast journey, and the on-air chemistry shines through.
Ink Slingers: Who started playing disc golf first? Describe how that person coaxed the other into finally playing disc golf.
Joe: Earlier Robin was talking about how he was holding the mic…like that’s the coaxing. (laughing)
Robin: No, it wasn’t even close to that! It was hey Joe, we can go up here and drink beer.
Joe: Technically we probably started playing at the same time.
Robin: We were in Chico, California in 2003. We had a disc golf course that was tone poles. It’s now called Peregrine Point.
Joe: Back then, it was like: I’m hungover, let’s fill up a bag packs with beer and throw a single disc.
Robin: Disc Golf went from an excuse to go have a beer and throw things, to a full blown obsession in no time. Eventually Joe and I both moved back to Sonoma where I brought him to the local courses and truly got him into the game.
Ink Slingers: Tell me how you started talking about creating a podcast. Was it over days or years? Drunken nights or during kids birthday parties?
Joe: We are in a Fantasy Football league together. Our buddy, Peter Livingston decided to put a podcast together for our league. It was a fun little thing…Robin jumped on an episode and I was like, I want to do that! We quickly realized that we had good rapport. Just like my own podcast, I interrupted people a lot back then. We were good at just talking and bullsh*tting and getting drunk. After the league ended, we wanted to keep it rolling, but disc golf was kind of an afterthought. The podcast was originally going to be “Don’t Tell My Wife” about all the things we didn’t want to tell our wives.
Robin: It was going to be basically our (Patreon) pre-show.
Joe: Mostly what we didn’t want to tell our wives about were the discs we were buying without their knowledge. It was fully Robin’s idea to be like, why don’t we do a podcast about disc golf?
One of the great highlights that The Disc Golf Podcast has made their own, over the run of the show, is their disc pairing segment called the Deer (Disc and Beer) review, where they take a disc, they take a beer, and review them both to let you know if you should take one or both onto your local disc golf course. This is where the magic begins to happen as they seamlessly transform from the average guys sitting next to you at a bar into an intelligent, well thought-out disc reviewer. In the short segment, they walk the audience through every flight characteristic, every nuance, and similar discs from other manufacturers that might resemble the flight of that week’s disc. By the end of the review, they effortlessly turn the listener, without ever throwing the plastic, into an informed consumer.
Full List of Disc & Beer Pairings
When it comes to the beer side of the Deer Review I’m much more at a loss. Both Robin and Joe almost slide into the role of a beer sommelier without effort. From their beer knowledge they would have you believe they’ve trained professionally or received their Beer Judge certification. In one breath, the guys romantically speak of a beer’s accessibility, aftertaste, and fruity bouquet. Without missing a beat, they will remark about being able to get it in a 40 ounce, and the beer’s potential to get you drunk on a disc golf course. It’s the juxtaposition of worldly refinement and their hobo tendencies that startles the senses, but always makes you smile.
Ink Slingers: Was the concept always about paring discs and beers? Do you think this concept has a built-in excuse to play or drink more?
Joe: You (talking to Robin) came up with that concept of disc and beer before we did our first episode and we were like yeah! Yes. Done.
Robin: We didn’t figure out to call it a “Deer Review” until the fifth or sixth episode. We looked at what existed in disc golf podcast world and at that time they were all cut and dry.
Joe: They were cleaner and trying to not ruffle feathers.
Robin: Disc golf media at the time really lacked a laid back, comedy based show. We were accustomed to seeing beer on the course, and wanted to cater to that demographic. There were plenty of other sources for tournament news, but what about beer and fart jokes? Plus, we both knew that we could talk about beer and disc golf forever.
Ink Slingers: Are the wives tired of hearing about disc golf? If your wives became disc golfers as well, would your lives become easier or harder?
Joe: It would be easier if my wife became a disc golfer. It might be harder for Robin because he has like 15 kids. (laughing)
Robin: I totally agree. (also laughing) We manage to get most of the disc golf talk out with each other, so our wives don’t really get bombarded with it. In the beginning, they were skeptical that the show actually existed and that people would listen, but they’ve come around. It certainly makes it a lot easier to explain why we have so many discs to them.
Joe: My wife now sees how cool the benefits are and has become more supportive. But I see disc golf as my time to hang out with Robin, have beer, and shoot the sh*t.
Robin: I don’t really talk to my wife about disc golf. She sees the discs arriving, but I won’t be like, hey honey did you see that Nate Sexton just prioritized his schedule? (Robin laughs)
One feature that the fans have come to know and love is the podcast sound studio, affectionately called the “The Shedio”. The Shedio is considered the heart and soul of the podcast. Formed into the studio from Robin’s garage or shed, the Shedio has since had a facelift, but it still stands as a reminder of the show’s early beginnings.
Ink Slingers: Do you think you will always use the Shedio or will you eventually upgrade?
Joe: Neither. We’ve had the realization that we won’t live close to each other forever. Robin’s family is growing. Not necessarily in amount but maybe, who knows? (laughing) His boys are getting bigger. He’s going to have to have something bigger. The ability for us to be side by side every time we do a podcast…we understand is fleeting.
Robin: This was literally an asphalt floor that I turned it into a place where someone could almost live in. It’s going to be sad when we record a podcast that won’t be in the Shedio.
Ink Slingers: You have a growing community on the app Slack. Tell me about it.
Robin: Our Slack group is an incredible community of disc golfers. Slack allows us to interact with our listeners constantly, and bounce ideas off the people that matter most. People have created channels for their local areas to have meetups, channels for form advice, and even completely random ones about cooking. It’s a truly fantastic place.
Joe: It’s all love. I mean we talk sh*t still on there but…
Robin: It’s exploded. Generally everyone gets along on there. Having a direct line to our listener is important.
Joe: It’s like a nice Reddit.
Click to join The Disc Golf Podcast slack group
Ink Slingers: Are aces really important?
Joe: Yes. Next question!
Robin: Yes. There’s nothing like…
Joe: Shut up! Next question. (laughing)
As the lone host without a disc golf ace, Joe gets and gives the most grief on the subject about not having an ace to call his own. Take a listen to this fan-made song (Luke Berthot) created to soothe Joe’s apparent ace void and other disc golf tendencies. *(Parental Guidance Is Suggested)
Ink Slingers: So, what’s the future for your podcast?
Robin: We would love to do a YouTube recording of the episodes with a camera on each of our faces for the show.
Joe: A soundboard might be good. (laughing)
It’s sometimes fun to be one of the first to find something great that not a lot of people have uncovered, and discovering The Disc Golf Podcast is one of those things. They have a small but loyal fanbase that patiently, or impatiently, await a new podcast every week. Although The Disc Golf Podcast doesn’t have the numbers that the big boys on the podcast block do, I can’t imagine the secret of their show will last much longer. With disc golf beginning to explode, and its evolution toward a more respectable looking sport, The Disc Golf Podcast is a throwback to the good old days when disc golf was only about finding that perfect disc that flies just like you want, telling a few jokes, and maybe sharing a beer with a good friend. For the complete episode of The Disc Golf Podcast answering questions from Ink Slingers Disc Golf click below and “Throw Stuff at Stuff”