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Disc Golf Profiles – Gail P Lynch

ADG Hall of Famer Gail Lynch has played in and contributed to the development of disc golf since its inception in Australia, and we’re delighted to bring you our interview with Gail.

PLAYER PROFILE – GAIL P LYNCH – VIC – PDGA #68980

Playing Division: FA40 / FA70+

Predominant throw: RHBH

Q: How long have you been playing and how did you get introduced to the sport?

A: I have been playing Flying Disc Sports since 1976, when the two World Frisbee Champions came to Australia on a promotional tour for Wham-O. I was working with Toltoys, who were the Australian distributor (later a manufacturer) of Frisbees and was hooked immediately – ahhh the flight. Went on to become a founding member of Australian Frisbee Association and the Australian Flying Disc Association.

Q: What are your strengths as a player?

A: Back then – all-round high-level disc skills. Came from playing the various disciplines which required a diverse suite of skills and throws.

Now – perseverance, mindset, enjoyment. As I don’t play very much at the moment and my body is aging, I have had to work hard to be mindful of this, and in particular to ‘dial down’ my highly competitive drive to playing to my abilities, appreciating what I can do and enjoying it.

Q: What is your best or favourite competition result to date?

A: Well, in the ‘olden days’, the three Australian Championships I won and particularly winning the Open Division of Freestyle – yeah! In those days we played all the disciplines of Flying Disc Sports as part of the competition; Distance, Maximum Time Aloft, Throw Run and Catch, Discathon, Freestyle, (even Accuracy at one point) and Disc Golf.

In ‘modern days’ competing at the Aussie Open in Perth in 2015 (the first PDGA Major in the southern hemisphere) and coming 2nd in Advanced Women and of course, who could forget my win at the SA Open / WGE 2021 in the 65+ Division (big smile and thanks to all who backed in this win – bigger smile).

Q: What are your disc golfing ambitions and plans for the next two or three years?

A: Oh, so many: playing more regularly; working with Melbourne Disc Golf Club in developing new courses, continuing our work actively developing and promoting participation options for women and juniors; continuing to have fun out there.

Q: Can you share a practice tip or something you learned that substantially improved your play?

A: Working with others who are more skilled for feedback on my form and play and putting this into practice, practice, practice.

Q: What top pro player do you look up to and why?

A: There’s a huge field of fabulous players, including all the younger players coming into the sport who I admire. Though she is not touring anymore, I really admire Valarie Doss (Jenkins), 4 x Disc Golf World Champion & Disc Golf Hall of Famer. Valarie’s huge list of accomplishments speaks to her skills, as well as her ongoing work in developing and encouraging young players. In particular, her ongoing work increasing participation for female disc golfers, with the creation and promotion of the first Women’s Global Event in 2011 and her other endeavors, has meant that women’s participation has increased immensely.

Q: What is a favourite disc in your bag right now and what do you use it for?

A: My trusty old Piwakawaka – approaching shots a dream with this, and it has gotten me out of trouble so many times – perhaps this is because Simon Feasey signed it?

A last comment – throughout my many years playing this great sport and recreation activity, I have been fortunate to travel and play overseas, meet wonderful people, to be inducted into the Australian Disc Golf Hall of Fame and to receive a Lifetime Membership to MDGC. The standout though is the people, the camaraderie, the fun and enjoyment and the sharing of the love of the game.

Thanks so much Gail, your are an inspiration to us all!

Sugar Gliders 5th in World Teams Disc Golf Championships

📷 Maja Šimenc

It might not be in front of a stadium full of people at an Olympics or Commonwealth Games (yet), and it’s played out in a fairly convivial atmosphere among members of the disc golf tribe from all over the world – but representing our country, with that coat of arms over the heart, makes every single throw matter like it’s never mattered before. The twelve members of the Australian Disc Golf team rode those emotional highs and lows together for a week of intense competition at the WFDF World Teams Disc Golf Championships from August 17 to 20.

After losing in heartbreaking fashion to eventual bronze medalists Canada in the quarter final, the Sugar Gliders won in a tense playoff for 5th place against Germany to finish the event. Australia entered the Championships seeded 11th. Before the event Captain Chris Hill (Chilly) made a bold prediction in an interview with AFDA: “My personal goal for the event is to make the top 8 teams. And then we are just 3 wins away from winning the whole championship… Who knows what might happen! …Let’s show the world what Aussie disc golf can do.” And show the world they did.

The team also won the the spirit award, as voted by all the competitors at the event. That’s a strong endorsement for the culture of the team and how they represented us all. Well done to The Sugar Gliders from everyone in Australian Disc Golf.

📷 Ken Summers

Story by Kingsley Flett and Emilie Cameron

The Women’s Global Event is Growing Every Year

📷 Kingsley Flett

100 women across Australia played together as part of a global event that linked 129 events and 3305 women around the globe in a PDGA ratings-based scoring system involving 23 divisions. In  Australia we had 7 events: the WGE – Run the Chains at Chichester presented by Julie Ormston & partners, Melbourne Celebrates, Adelaide Parklands,  WGE Sydney 2022 Presented by Disc Connection, Dubbo, Run the Chains at Mundaring and Koala Park.  

After humble beginnings, with one event and 3 women competitors in 2012, the event has more than tripled in competitors in Australia between 2018 and 2019 and then grew by a further 14 percent in the last year.

Growth in WGE participation in Australia 2012 – 2022

Like in the other golf, women make up only a small percentage of players overall, anywhere between 5 and 15% depending on how this number is calculated. Through the efforts of many volunteers nation-wide, this imbalance is being gradually redressed with initiatives like women’s leagues and social days in  Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.

Central to this approach is the Women’s Global Event. In one sense it is an opportunity to encourage new women to try the sport, but the event also encourages Disc Golfers across Australia to reflect on how we can make the sport more inclusive of women and how to make their experience in the game more comfortable and enjoyable.

Stand out performers this year were: Gina Hill – 3rd in FA1, Cassie Sweetten – 55th in FPO, Gail Lynch  – 4th in FA70+,  Jessica Holman and Lydia Philpott both finishing in the top 40 of FJ15 and, playing in her first ever tournament 81 year-old Merle Milentis, who finished 17th in FA70+.

Merle Milentis 📷 Kingsley Flett

Encouraging too, was the fact that 5 of the 7 events had women as their tournament directors: Sue Summers in Mundaring, Julie O’Donoghue in Chichester, Janet Ford Adams in Melbourne, Emilie Cameron in Koala park and Lisa Wallis in Sydney.

Mundaring WGE TD Sue Summers with junior winner Lily Fewster

As the chatter across social media over the weekend showed, this event has grown into having a spirit all its own and has fast become a valued part of the Australian Disc Golf calendar.