As one of the fastest growing sports in the world, several of the best disc golf professionals come from countries outside of the United States, including Sweden, Finland and Japan. Here is a look at the highlights of the careers of five great disc golf players around the planet.
Jesper Lundmark is a 30-year-old disc golfer that hales from Skellefteå, Sweden. He's been playing professionally since 1997, and came all the way to the central coast of California to compete in the PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships this summer, finishing in an impressive 12th place, out of the 176 players in the Men's Open division.
In 2010, Lundmark was the winner of the European Championships, and in 2009, he won the European Open, the French Open and the Swiss Open, in addition to several other victories. He says his goal is to become the World Champion.
Markus Kallstrom is another Swedish player, from Gavle, Sweden. The 34-year-old is the 2010 Euro Tour Series Champion and the 2005 European Champion. In 2011, he was crowned champion of the British Open, the winner of the Swiss Open and the Swedish Championships.
Kallstrom has been playing professionally since 1996, and names the Järva DiscGolf Park in Stockholm, Sweden as his favorite course.
Manabu Kajiyama is a 26-year-old professional from Yame/Fukuoka, Japan. Kajiyama has been playing professionally since 2000, and says his goal is to win the Japan Open. His most memorable tournament was his comeback win in the Tokyo Open in 2007. This year, Kajiyama placed third at the Asia Open, and won the Saga Open and the Kyoto Classic.
Jussi Meresmaa is from Tampere, Finland and has been playing disc golf professionally since 1998. The 33-year-old is the 2008 World Distance Champion, a three-time Finnish Champion , and the Finnish distance record holder. This year he won the Czech Open, and he says one of his favorite memories is winning the Finnish National Tournament in 2000. On the last day of the event, he had an amazing come from behind victory, and what made it so memorable was that he "never gave up."
Karl Johan Hoj Nybo
Karl Johan Hoj Nybo is a 33-year-old player from Copenhagen, Denmark. The Danish disc golf professional says he's been throwing frisbees all his life, but starting playing disc golf in 2004. In September, he was the winner of the Danish Championships, and was crowned champion of the Copenhagen Open this spring. The first time he won the Danish Championships was in 2006, just two years after he started playing the sport.
Disc golf is becoming more and more popular around the world. It's a great way for people of all cultures to come together, and ultimately, there could be at least one disc golf course in every nation on our planet. Did you know there is already a course in Antarctica? It can be found at the McMurdo Station, the U.S. Antarctic Research Center. The course is described as "varied terrain includes ice, snow, drifts, heavy equipment and high winds." I think I'd like to check that out!
The first time K.C. Dermody played disc golf was in the spectacular Black Hills of South Dakota. She has since become addicted to the sport, and enjoys playing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She welcomes comments and suggestions, with the goal of promoting the sport of disc golf throughout the world. Find her on www.facebook.com/KCDermodyWriter.
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