As Dallas Wrinkle, associate member of Lambda-Chi Zeta, approaches the target, he prepares for a throw he has been working to perfect for months. By using his lucky disc, the hope is that it lands a straight shot into the target. He takes a quick assessment of the weather to determine if the slight wind is going to affect his game. The crowd is summoned to silence their cellphones and directed toward Wrinkle’s starting point. He throws and the disc fly’s through the air like a bird. He makes the shot that proves his space in the professional disc golf world.
At the young age of 19, Wrinkle has made a name for himself by officially registering as a professional disc golf player. The road to success was not unmatched with trials and tribulations but achieved by sacrifice. Wrinkle spent majority of his life playing baseball and had aspirations to play collegiately.
“The first day [of collegiate tryouts] I broke my hand. The grass wasn’t mowed and when I dove for a ball, my glove got cause in the grass and bent backwards. I took that as a sign from God I shouldn’t go play baseball, I should go play disc golf” explains Wrinkle.
After discovering that disc golf was his preferred competitive outlet, Wrinkle began investing more time and money into the sport. He was naturally talented and excelling faster than the average newcomer. It became clear he needed a seasoned professional to work alongside him. As Wrinkle began frequenting the local disc golf shop, Chris Clemons became that person.
Clemons is a professional disc golfer player in Kansas City, Missouri who has been certified with the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) since 2011. He has won 27 tournaments in his career and currently working on the Beaver State Fling National Tour.
“I started working at the shops and he trained me. I picked his brain as much as I could. I studied him and the way he went about things. He’s always down to teach anyone or sign a disc.”
After Clemons allowed Wrinkle to caddy during practices, his career took off. Wrinkle began spending his free time at the course to learn techniques for throwing in different situations. If there was a tournament, he was the first to sign up. He loved the ability to compete with like-minded people in a game he truly felt passionate about.
As an amateur, players are given “player packs” in leu of a cash reward. Wrinkle acquired water bottles, t-shirts and more discs that he can count. After spending time in the amateur circle, he decided to take his talent one step further by becoming a recognized professional with the PDGA. To reach this level, a player must reach a score above 980 and turn down player packs in hopes of winning a cash prize for the overall win of the tournament.
“Once you start, you just can’t stop. That seems to be the case for a lot of disc golfers.”
Wrinkle hopes to graduate from a local professional to a touring professional, making disc golf his full-time job. Along with his current local sponsors, he would like to acquire a sponsorship with a large disc manufacturer to gain more visibility. He encourages aspiring players to start small and build their game from the ground up.
“Go to the closest store and buy a cheap, mid-range putter. Get your friends and just go play, that’s the first step to it. Most of the time, when you play, you’ll get hooked.”
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