It is not too often that a professional athlete has a job that is not closely related to sports. However, Holly "Finale" Finley is a professional Disc golfer and a successful model as well. Holly throws for Innova and her story is as unique as she is. So, give it a read and learn more the Disc Golfer by day, Model by night! Enjoy!
1) How did you get into Disc golf?
I played once in 2008 with some friends and I was horrible. It was sky rockets in flight, afternoon delight and the immediate hard left hook crash into the ground.
I travelled the world working as a fashion model in Europe for many years and decided living out a suitcase was getting stale. I signed with a new modeling agency in Chicago, (Elite Models) and moved from TN to the midwest. As a model, you don't work every day so you do have a fair amount of free time. I was looking for activities to fill my days and Disc Golf came to mind. I jumped online, looked up a course and a play it again sports and headed out to my newest adventure. I bought a used Innova DX Beast and went to the course. Some locals saw me throwing solo and invited me to join their group. We finished the round together and they invited me back, same time next week. I was hooked. I started playing from sunrise to sunset, every single day.
2) Who inspires you to continue to play?
Any human that beats me inspires me to play. I have the desire to be the best. I am very, very competitive.
3) What is it like to be sponsored?
I have had many sponsors throughout my career in Disc Golf. With my knowledge of self marketing through modeling, I have been able to secure outside sponsors that have relieved the financial burden of touring. Sponsorship comes in many forms, from performance bonuses, monthly stipends, free product and marketing to name a few. There are also expectations of the athlete as far as performance, marketing and behavior goes. My sports agent has also provided me with many opportunities.
4) What is it like to be on the Innova team?
To be on the Innova team is larger than life. I am very grateful and humbled to be given such an opportunity. I am still throwing some of the same discs I purchased as brand new back in 2012. (Innova 10x Champion Eagle L & Champion RoadRunner) The products stand the test of time!
5) Favorite Disc?
My all time favorite disc has to be an Innova RoadRunner. Any plastic will do.
6) Favorite course?
This is such a tough question for me, I love so many equally. I'm all about the wooded courses. The more dense the better. Megiddo at Westwood in Illinois has the number 1 slot right now. I shot my first 1000 rated round there one year during the Ledgestone. It was 1016 rated and I was super stoked! One of my sponsors even gives bonuses for 1000+ rated rounds!
7) What do you do to continue to grow the sport?
I give free clinics to schools and I also work with my local parks department to offer free clinics as well. I also created and managed the Innova Women's Team Facebook page for many years to promote our Women's team and increase our female athlete marketing.
8) What advice do you have to players who want to step up their game?
Put in the time to train and you'll reap the rewards. Be brave, be bold and move up! Putting will make all the difference, practice it and when you're tired of that, practice it some more.
9) What made you want to be considered a pro and accept money?
I have always been financially driven. In 2012, I placed 4th at the Am World Championships in Charlotte, NC after only playing for a few months and I decided I was ready to jump to Open. I played 1 year as an official amateur and at the end of the season I had too many discs. (If there is really such a thing?) I had dabbled in a few open tournaments throughout the year to test the waters.
10) How do you balance your modeling career with Disc Golf?
Balancing modeling and Disc Golf is not the easiest. Schedule wise is the simple part, but I often am torn between decisions of the brain and the heart. It's often a question of would I be happier earning $5,000 at this job or attending the Beaver Fling in Oregon, which would be worth more than $5,000, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and fun wise. Modeling has afforded me many opportunities, including the ability to tour as a Rookie earning little to no prize money.
11) Is there anything else you would like the people to know about you that they may not?
Pickles are my favorite food ;-)
I would like to thank Holly Finley for letting me ask her these questions and for taking the time out of her crazy schedule to answer them! She was so awesome and so talented. If you would like to know more about her you can find her at https://www.facebook.com/The.Duchess.of.Disc.Golf or at https://www.instagram.com/ohfinalefinley