Disc golf might be growing fast, but the growth isn’t limited to the men’s divisions. The days of seeing only two women sign up for a big tournament is becoming a thing of the past. Disc golf fans are taking in more and more women’s coverage, and with the coverage comes inspiration for women everywhere to pick up a disc and throw like their female heroes.
MVP Disc Sports is a manufacturer that is getting ahead of the curve by building a strong female team for 2019. One team member who was just re-signed in 2019 for her third year is Amanda Melwiki PDGA #76988. Everyone has a story of how they picked up their first disc and watched it soar through the air. But since we are in the modern era, those stories are beginning to have twist.
I asked Amanda how she was introduced to the sport of disc golf and she said that, “I have kind of a different story than other people. I actually learned what disc golf was from the PlayStation Move. My fiancé and I used to play it a lot. One day we decided we wanted to try it in real life. We each got one disc and went to a local course. I didn’t really like it at first, but then we saw a guy just throw an absolute bomb! I was so amazed. I went right home and started watching YouTube videos so I could learn to throw like that.”
Although she started the sport in 2015, it wasn’t until the summer at that same year that the passion for disc golf would take hold. The 2015 Amateur Disc Golf World Championships came to her home town and that fateful event changed everything for Amanda. “At that time I had no idea that people even competed at disc golf. I absolutely loved the atmosphere of it all. It was so exciting to see such a big event. I wanted to be a part of it. A few weeks later I played in my first tournament and I won!”
Amanda transitioned into the Open division the middle of last year, making this 2019 season her first full year playing professionally. With her limited experience in the Open division, I asked her what she thought was the biggest difference between Amateurs and Professionals and she commented that, “I just felt a little more pressure to perform well. One thing I took from them (pros) is to slow down and take my time. Take a second before you step to your mini, breathe and really assess your situation. I used to play so fast because I didn’t want people to have to wait for me. But I realized playing with them, that most of them do take their time.” Good advice from a player quickly moving up the ranks.
Watching her throw, gives you the impression she doesn’t have a care in the world. Her mixture of deliberate, graceful movements combined with an explosive drive tells the story about the distance she will be capable of delivering in the, not too distant, future. She will someday be a force on tour.
Being a part of a team is never easy, and joining the MVP team must have had its own set of pressures. I asked her about the Team MVP atmosphere and she replied, “MVP is amazing to be a part of. It is truly like being part a big family. We all support and help each other.” Teammates Jennifer Sawyer and Erica Shepich are her closest support system. “Jen is a great friend and teammate. She taught me a lot when I was first starting out, and Erica is my best friend. If we are out disc golfing, we are usually out together.”
I wondered what her feelings were after she discovered that World Champion, Sarah Hokom was joining the team and she said, “I think this is very exciting for MVP. It will give the brand so much exposure. With her doing the “Throw & Go MVP” events all over the US, and the FPO coverage at the tournaments, MVP will be begin to be more and more recognized.”
With the 2019 season quickly approaching, she confessed that her biggest challenge this year will be her putting. “It has been something that I have been working on during the off-season and I hope to be a lot more consistent with it once the season starts. It definitely can make or break a round.” However, Amanda’s social media abilities are well above average. She makes Youtube videos for her fans, and has a popular Instagram account. All of this to leverage her disc golf success. Social media mastery is surely an asset for any player attempting to brand themselves in the growing sport. “I think that social media helps. I had so many wonderful people buy my tour series stamped discs last year. Without that, it would be very hard to make it to so many tournaments.”
Amanda has made the journey from a video game disc golf player into the ranks of the professional women’s field with good nature and a willingness to improve. She’s a fresh face to the scene, but with strong media savvy, lofty goals, and a savage drive, this upcoming tournament season might show her name atop the leader boards quite often. Keep an eye out for this rising playing.