Disc golf champion shares secrets of success

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The secret to disc golf?

“Never use my brain,” said Jordyn Little, laughing.

The newly minted 12-and-under Long Drive World Champion from Salt Spring is only partly kidding, according to friends and family who have watched her game grow over the last five years. In that time, Little has transformed herself from a complete novice into a Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) Juniors player with 11 career events under her belt — including three wins. And, as her father and fan Chad Williams sees things, it might indeed have to do with not thinking too hard.

“It’s funny to hear, because she doesn’t think,” said Williams. “She takes almost zero time, she knows she’s going to grab this disc, and throw at that angle. Basically it’s out of the bag, walk to the front of the tee pad, one quick look, and it’s gone.”

game from the beginning. Williams is the greenskeeper at Salt Spring’s golf course, the periphery of which hosts disc golfers. After school, Little hopped off the bus and played rounds with her father as they both learned the sport, soon joining the Salt Spring Disc Golf club and attending their weekly Sunday games.

“In the beginning, because we both weren’t very good, we’d be partnered together,” said Williams. “That changed fairly quickly.”

“Soon enough, everyone was playing with Jordyn as a partner,” said Ben Corno, past-president of Salt Spring Disc Golf. “The idea that she was a kid sort of melted away for me when I saw that she was trying to win like the rest of us.”

Corno describes Little as a “calm and capable” competitor, planning out interesting lines of play and executing them well. Her presence brought out the caring side of the club, he added, as she became what they called “our Junior,” receiving mentorship and encouragement from club members.

At the 2022 PDGA World Championship, held in Peoria, Ill. from July 13-16, Little’s long drive of 295 feet earned her first place in her age group. The rest of her tournament play brought her to fourth overall, despite — or perhaps, thanks to — inclement weather the day before the semifinals.

“The B.C. girl in the rain, no umbrella,” said Williams with a broad smile.

Facing a three-stroke deficit to make the semifinal cut, with a deluge dampening her competitors’ spirits, an unshaken Little played between the raindrops, finishing the day nine and 12 strokes ahead of them.

And, after the sun came out later in the tournament, Little shocked friends and competitors alike with an “ace” (hole in one) on the Final 9, sailing her disc into the side of the basket where it lodged neatly — a “wedgie” that until this year’s rule adjustment might not have been recognized as “in.”

“I didn’t even see it hit,” said Little, who bolted down the course with her father after her throw. “The only information I had was from the other people around me.”

And the run wasn’t just out of excitement.

“If one of the other girls had thrown before she pulled it out, and it had been knocked loose, it wouldn’t have counted,” said Williams. “So she had to run remove it.”

“We are so proud of her,” said Corno.

Salt Spring Disc Golf’s Facebook page has a video of the ace, complete with Little’s delighted squeals. After a short break, her next event will be the British Columbia Provincial Championships in Kamloops this September — and she’s eager to get back to competition.

“I had a lot of fun,” laughed Little. “Isn’t it obvious?”

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