MBA student Dom Martin has been playing disc golf since he was in the first grade, but it was one shot he had this summer that changed his life forever.
Originally growing up in Anderson, Martin fell in love with the game of disc golf through his parents. He remembers playing as early as the first grade and got his first set of discs shortly there after.
In high school, Martin and his family moved to Indonesia. His love for the game followed him to his new home.
While there, Martin came across a few Youtube videos made by professional disc golfers. He would watch diligently and then go out to a field with all of his disc and practice his mechanics for hours.
Martin moved back to Anderson for college, attending AU and studying global business. It didn’t take him long to find a group of friends who had an interest in disc golf too.
“The sport is all about going out and hanging out with your buddies while throwing some discs,” said Martin. “I played all throughout college, but it really took off my junior year. I was an RA in Smith Hall and got pretty close with a group of freshmen. I would take them out quite a bit because the more people I could get to play, the more I got to play myself.”
That group of friends turned into a regular disc golf group. They spent their breaks from school traveling all over the country and playing different courses that they had always wanted to visit.
After his graduation in 2018, Martin set his sights a little higher and began to sign up for sanctioned tournaments in the area.
“Last year I played in almost exclusively intermediate tournaments,” added Martin. “I enjoyed it, but I noticed that I was playing down to the level of my competition. I was always told that you get better by playing with people who are better than you, but I spent most of my time teaching people how to play the game. To balance that out, I decided to play professionally. Forget advanced or intermediate tournaments, I wanted to jump straight to pro-level tournaments.”
That kind of ambition is exactly what launched Martin’s professional career. At one of his first pro tournaments, he was on the same card as some sponsored disc golfers. On the first shot of the longest hole on the course, Martin hit the pole. Instantly, the other golfers were impressed.
“All of these sponsored golfers had 40-foot shots after their first shot just to get into putting range, and I hit the basket,” said Martin. “I almost got a hole in one. Right after that, this guy from Prodigy Disc asked if I had any interest in being sponsored.”
The rest was like a dream, according to Martin. His whole life he had envisioned becoming a professional disc golfer, and one impressive shot led to that happening—even though he finished dead last in the tournament.
“They told me to wait until I had played 10 sanctioned events on the year,” added Martin. “After that, they said I should reach out to Latricia Schusterick, who is the wife of two-time United States Disc Golf Champion Will Schusterick, who also happens to be the co-founder of Prodigy Disc.”
Martin quickly realized that finishing near the bottom in professional tournaments would only get him so far, so he signed up for an advanced tournament, which is one step below pro. He won the whole thing by two shots. It also happened to be his tenth sanctioned event of the year, which meant it was time to reach out to Schusterick.
“I messaged her at about 4 a.m. because it took me so long to figure out what to say,” said Martin. “I got a message back from her the next morning with an application. Two hours later I was on Prodigy’s street team. It turns out that a few of the guys who introduced me to Prodigy had already sent her long messages telling her all about me, and she was ready to sign me as soon as I completed my tenth event.”
Fast forward to now, and Martin is doing it all. He is currently working on his MBA through AU and has played in 25 tournaments over the last eight months. He is still a member of Prodigy’s street team and plays in as many events as he can.
Martin is hoping to combine his dream of being a professional disc golfer with his heart for developing countries. With any luck, he could have the best of both worlds.
“I grew up in Southeast Asia, and I would love to work in the disc golf industry and help grow the sport,” said Martin. “Ultimately, my goal is to play disc golf professionally, and then in the winter months I would go over to Asia and play there and work with them to grow the game of disc golf in several countries.”