We all enjoy growing the sport, and I assume that we all have a passion for the sport as a whole. For someone like Scott Withers, it is something that he tries to show and grow as much as he can. Scott throws for Innova and has an amazing story to tell. So if you can, please give his story a read and enjoy!
1) How did you get your start into Disc Golf?
I began playing early in high school. We had a small local course within walking distance from my house. My dad and I would go up with friends as something we could do to spend time together. Naturally, we were both competitive so we kept playing and playing trying to get better. I remember we had a DX XD and a Discraft X2 that we shared for a while before we bought new discs from a local store. I still have the X2 sitting on my wall today as a reminder of how I got started. As I moved into my later high school years I had a group of friends that would meet at the course every day in the summers. We were all still young, didn't have cars or anything so it was the best thing we could do for free. From there a few of us just kept playing and getting better. We eventually started playing small local tournaments and fell in love with the competitive side of the sport.
2) Who or what inspires you to continue to play?
My biggest role model for chasing my dreams was my dad. He was a great bowler, multiple competitive 300 games and I watched him shoot an 800 series in bowling just before he passed away. I watched him do something he loved at a local level but rarely try to compete against the best in the world. I do not want to regret not chasing something that I might be good at.
Meeting so many incredible people along this journey has kept me going as well. I am very lucky to have a good support group of friends and family that encourages me to keep practicing and attempting to get better each day. I have always been someone that wants to be the best at anything I do. I really enjoy practicing, usually alone, trying to get better. I don't care if it is 75 and sunny or 38 and raining, practice is practice. I enjoy all of it.
3) What is it like to be sponsored?
Being sponsored is a dream of many disc golfers. For me, it justifies the hard work that nobody sees. It makes those rainy winter mornings in Oregon worth being out in. It also gives you a spotlight to guide the sport in your local area in the direction you would like to see it go. Innova has been nothing short of great for me personally, anytime I need something they make sure I get it. When you are able to get the best discs in the world into your hands when you need them it helps your confidence on the course.
4) What is it like to be on Team Innova?
Being associated with Innova was always my dream. I remember when we were just starting to play tournaments we used to joke about someone getting sponsored by Innova and being like Climo. That is the only name in the sport we really knew at the start before the internet made everything so easy to access.
Working with the staff at Innova is such an honor, these guys really know what they are doing. I've always thrown Innova discs, no matter what, my dream has always been to be sponsored by them. When it finally happened at the beginning of the 2016 season it took a while to set in. For me, it was a sign that I had finally made something of myself in this sport. I know I have a lot of hard work to continue putting in, but with the team at Innova behind me, I know anything is possible.
5) What made you want to go pro?
I never played any PDGA Amateur tournaments, all I knew is I was one of the better players in my home town of Coos Bay and there was no reason to play any other division. I cashed in my first PDGA tournament (Great Northwest Open B Tier) and knew at that point I wanted to play against the best our region had to offer. The first couple years were good and bad, but since then I have been able to cash in many events and now have 52 PDGA wins.
6) Favorite Disc?
Let's go favorite discs here.
Distance Driver- Destroyer
7) Favorite Course?
100% Whistlers Bend in Roseburg, Or. This place is a beautiful as it is challenging. Get done 27 holes and jump straight in the North Umpqua River. The whole park between the course, the river and the camping makes Whistlers Bend my favorite place in the world.
8) Why the pirate theme for your stamp?
I grew up in Coos Bay, a small town on the rugged Oregon Coast. The beach and ocean were a big part of my life and also the makeup of the town. My high school mascot was the Pirates so it all tied together. It's my way of honoring where I come from since I have moved away.
9) What can we expect from you in 2018?
Hopefully a lot of wins! While I expect to be able to go compete in every tournament I enter, I also know that there is a ton of other really good players in the northwest and across the country. I will travel a bit. I plan on playing three NT's, World's, and USDGC along with a ton of northwest A and B tiers. I don't shy away from smaller events either though. If there is a tournament within reasonable driving distance from my house, I'll probably be there.
10) What do you think you do to help grow the sport?
I have a unique opportunity to grow the sport through my work. I am a Program Director at the Boys & Girls Club of Albany. I directly see around 125 middle and high school students each day after school. Our facility is lucky enough to have an indoor soccer field and gym located in the Teen Center where my office is. This allows me to put baskets out from time to time and get our youth started on the game I love so much.
I also TD two events a year. The Santiam Open is a C-tier held just outside of Salem, Oregon at a ball golf course. It is a fun event that fills up very quickly. The second one is the North Umpqua Invitational in Roseburg, Oregon. This is a BIG B tier at Whistlers Bend, we just had sign ups for the 2018 NUI last Monday and 120 spots filled in 19 minutes.
11) What has been your favorite memory within Disc Golf so far?
I would say I have two that stand above all the rest.
#1 Winning the 2014 Oregon State Championships- This is a dream tournament for me to win and probably my first real "statement" win in our region. It gave me the confidence to continue pushing forward. After two one throw losses in 2015 and 2016, I was able to capture my second Oregon State title in 2017. This event is so mentally and physically tough. Trojan Park Disc Golf Course where it is held has water in play on nearly every hole. If you want to win, you have to be aggressive, but every bad throw goes in the water, never to be seen again. The course is awesome, Jeff Haggarty the TD does a wonderful job making the event feel special, and this is the event every northwest golfer wants to win each year.
#2 The USDGC experience- I finally qualified for USDGC in 2017. My best friend Zaq flew across the country with me just to caddy. To have him on the bag for the best tournament in the world was something I will never forget. That week was incredible, they treat the players like true athletes and there is a reason that event is so sought after by players.
12) What are some goals for this year heading into the start of the season?
My goals are simple, continue to get better and continue to win tournaments. Big or small, I want to have a chance to win everything I enter. I know my game still has a long way to go, but hopefully I can play well in one of the big events early this year.
I also have been working hard on improving putting. To be able to compete with the best, that is what I need to get better at.
13) What advice can you give someone who wants to step up their game?
Practice, Practice, Practice. Practice when nobody sees your practicing. Go to the course by yourself. This is how you get the most throws in without worrying about your score. If you want to spend 20 minutes on a hole, you won't slow anyone down. If you want to putt for five minutes at a basket, nobody is waiting on you. Your practice routines show how bad you really want to get better. Also, be willing to play in any weather. If you play tournament in bad weather, why would you not practice in it?
Don't be scared to find a local pro and get some advice. We are all people, do not be scared to come up and ask some questions or ask for a little help. Youtube also provides tips from top players, take all this information in and find what works for you.
14) Is there anything else you would like people to know about you that they may not?
I just encourage all player to teach kids disc golf. They are the future of our sport, please teach them the right way to play the game and show them that our sport has turned into a good one for all families an kids to participate in.
I would just like to send a thank you out to the people that have helped me along this journey. Even though I have not been a full time touring player, I have still had so many people that have played a part in getting to where I am today.
I would like to thank Scott for taking the time out of his day to answer my questions and for letting me ask him questions in the first place. IF you would like to know more about Scott, you can find him on Instagram at @swithers1986 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/Scott-Withers-261621180679926/photos/?ref=page_internal and you can find his signature Gator Disc at https://proshop.innovadiscs.com/color-glow-champion-gator-scott-withers.html.
Picture Credit goes to Scott Withers