Disc sports have been gaining popularity worldwide, and the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) is the governing body that oversees and sanctions tournaments for this sport. One of the most prestigious distinctions in disc sports is the PDGA 1 rating, which is awarded to the top players in the world. This elite group of athletes has earned this title through years of dedication, hard work, and outstanding performance on the disc golf course. In this article, we will explore the history of the PDGA 1 rating and highlight some of the players who have achieved this remarkable feat.
The PDGA 1 distinction is a prestigious honor in the disc sports community, awarded to players who have achieved the highest level of skill and competitive success. Only a select few players have earned this distinction, including legendary players like Ken Climo, Avery Jenkins, and Dave Feldberg. These players have demonstrated an exceptional level of talent and dedication to the sport, consistently performing at the highest level in competitive events. The PDGA 1 distinction is a testament to their hard work and commitment to excellence, and they are widely regarded as some of the greatest players in the history of disc sports.
What is the PDGA 1 Distinction?
How is it awarded?
The PDGA 1 Distinction is a prestigious honor that is awarded to disc sports athletes who have achieved the highest level of skill and competition in the sport. This distinction is given to those who have consistently demonstrated exceptional performance and dedication to the sport, and who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of disc sports.
To be eligible for the PDGA 1 Distinction, athletes must meet the following criteria:
- They must have competed in at least 50 PDGA sanctioned events.
- They must have won at least one PDGA Major Championship.
- They must have been ranked in the top 10 in the PDGA’s annual ratings for at least three consecutive years.
These criteria are designed to recognize athletes who have achieved a high level of success and consistency in their competition, and who have made significant contributions to the sport over the course of their career. The PDGA 1 Distinction is a highly respected honor in the disc sports community, and is seen as a symbol of excellence and dedication to the sport.
What are the criteria?
To earn the prestigious PDGA 1 Distinction in Disc Sports, a player must meet specific criteria set forth by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). These criteria are designed to recognize players who have achieved a high level of skill and competitive success in the sport of disc golf.
The criteria for earning the PDGA 1 Distinction are as follows:
- Players must have competed in at least 25 PDGA sanctioned events in their career.
- Players must have a PDGA rating of at least 990.
- Players must have won a PDGA National Event or finished in the top 5 at a PDGA World Championship.
Meeting these criteria is a significant accomplishment, as it demonstrates a player’s dedication to the sport and their ability to consistently perform at a high level.
Additionally, players who earn the PDGA 1 Distinction are considered among the best in the world and are eligible to receive special recognition and benefits from the PDGA, including invitations to exclusive events and opportunities to represent the PDGA as an ambassador for the sport.
What are the benefits?
- Recognition and Prestige:
- The PDGA 1 distinction is a testament to an individual’s exceptional skill and dedication to the sport of disc sports.
- It is a highly coveted honor that is recognized and respected within the disc sports community.
- It signifies that the individual has achieved a level of expertise that is acknowledged by their peers and the governing body of the sport.
- Increased Opportunities:
- PDGA 1 players are often sought after for competitions, tournaments, and events.
- They may be offered sponsorship deals, endorsement opportunities, and other lucrative arrangements due to their high level of skill and recognition.
- PDGA 1 players may also have access to exclusive training and coaching opportunities that can help them maintain their competitive edge.
- Networking and Social Opportunities:
- Being a PDGA 1 player can open up opportunities for networking and socializing with other top players and industry professionals.
- PDGA 1 players may be invited to participate in elite events, meet and interact with other top players, and gain exposure to influential figures in the disc sports industry.
- These opportunities can lead to valuable connections and relationships that can benefit an individual’s career and personal growth.
- Personal Growth and Achievement:
- Earning the PDGA 1 distinction is a significant personal achievement that can boost an individual’s confidence and self-esteem.
- It requires years of dedication, hard work, and consistent performance at the highest level.
- Achieving this distinction can be a source of pride and motivation for individuals to continue improving and striving for excellence in their sport.
The PDGA 1 Recipients
List of notable PDGA 1 recipients
- Paul McBeth: One of the most successful disc golf players of all time, with 11 PDGA World Championships and numerous other victories to his name.
- Nate Sexton: Known for his impressive accuracy and consistent play, Sexton has won two PDGA World Championships and numerous other professional disc golf events.
- Jeremy “Jeremy” Koling: A two-time PDGA World Champion and a former U.S. National Champion, Koling is known for his powerful drives and consistent putting.
- Valarie Jenkins: A standout player in women’s disc golf, Jenkins has won two PDGA World Championships and has been ranked as the top female player in the world.
- Paige Bjerkaas: A young and talented player, Bjerkaas has already achieved a number of notable victories, including a PDGA World Championship title in the women’s division.
- Paul “Hippo” O’Neill: A versatile player with a strong all-around game, O’Neill has won several PDGA National Tour events and has consistently ranked among the top players in the world.
- Melodie “MJ” Jammers: A talented player from Sweden, Jammers has won multiple European Disc Golf Championships and has also achieved success on the PDGA National Tour.
- Will Schusterick: Known for his impressive distance throws and creative shots, Schusterick has won several PDGA National Tour events and has established himself as one of the top players in the sport.
- Jessica Weese: A Canadian player with a strong competitive drive, Weese has won multiple Canadian National Championships and has achieved success on the PDGA National Tour.
- Ken Climo: A pioneer of modern disc golf, Climo was one of the sport’s first stars and won three PDGA World Championships during his storied career.
What do they have in common?
- All PDGA 1 recipients have demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication to the sport of disc sports.
- They have all achieved a high level of success in competitive play, consistently placing among the top players in their division.
- PDGA 1 recipients have also shown a commitment to sportsmanship and positive attitude, both on and off the course.
- Additionally, they have all contributed significantly to the growth and development of disc sports through coaching, volunteering, and other forms of service.
- Many PDGA 1 recipients have also been involved in promoting the sport through media appearances, writing, and other forms of public engagement.
- Overall, PDGA 1 recipients are recognized as leaders and role models within the disc sports community, inspiring others to strive for excellence and make a positive impact on the sport.
How many have received it?
As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) has recognized only a select few disc sports athletes with the prestigious PDGA 1 distinction. This exclusive group represents the top 0.1% of players worldwide, with a limited number of recipients each year.
It is important to note that the exact number of PDGA 1 recipients is not publicly available, as the PDGA does not release this information regularly. However, it is evident that the number of PDGA 1 players is quite small, and the criteria for achieving this status are stringent.
In conclusion, the PDGA 1 distinction is an incredibly rare achievement in the world of disc sports, with only a select few athletes having earned this honor.
Are there any female PDGA 1 recipients?
Although the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) was founded in 1989, it was not until 2000 that the first female player, Sarah Hokom, earned the prestigious PDGA 1 distinction. Since then, only a handful of women have achieved this elite status, with most of them doing so in the 2010s. Here is a list of the female PDGA 1 recipients:
- Sarah Hokom (2000)
- Catrina Allen (2015)
- Paige Bjerkaas (2015)
- Valarie Koss (2015)
- Elaine King (2015)
- Missy Gannon (2016)
- Sarah Cannell (2017)
- Hannah Leatherman (2018)
- Lisa Fajkus (2018)
- Lisa Bipping (2019)
- Lisa Fajkus (2019)
- Catrina Allen (2020)
It is worth noting that the PDGA 1 distinction is based on a player’s performance in sanctioned events over a two-year period. The ranking system considers a player’s top 36 performances in a year, with a minimum of 24 events needed to be eligible for the PDGA 1 rating. As a result, the number of female players who can attain this distinction is relatively small compared to the larger number of male players who participate in disc sports.
However, the number of female PDGA 1 recipients has been steadily increasing over the years, reflecting the growing popularity of disc sports among women. With more women taking up the sport and competing at a high level, it is likely that we will see even more female players achieving the prestigious PDGA 1 distinction in the future.
What about international players?
Although the PDGA 1 distinction is primarily associated with American disc sports athletes, international players have also achieved this prestigious honor. The following section highlights some of the notable international players who have earned the PDGA 1 rating.
- Jussi Meresmaa (Finland): As one of the most accomplished disc golfers from Europe, Jussi Meresmaa has a decorated career spanning over two decades. With numerous European Disc Golf Championships and World Team Disc Golf Championships under his belt, Meresmaa earned his PDGA 1 rating in 2015. He continues to represent Finland in international competitions and remains a force to be reckoned with on the disc golf course.
- Eagle Wenzlau (Canada): Eagle Wenzlau, a native of Toronto, has been a prominent figure in Canadian disc sports since his early teens. Known for his exceptional skills and competitive spirit, Wenzlau became the youngest player to earn a PDGA 1 rating at the age of 17. He has since represented Canada in various international competitions, including the World Disc Golf Championships and the Disc Golf World Tour events.
- Axel Johnson (Sweden): Axel Johnson, a native of Sweden, has been a trailblazer in European disc sports, achieving remarkable success both nationally and internationally. Johnson’s impressive skillset and consistent performance have earned him a PDGA 1 rating, making him one of the few European players to achieve this distinction. He has competed in numerous PDGA events and has also represented Sweden in various World Team Disc Golf Championships.
- Kenji Shinohara (Japan): Kenji Shinohara, a disc golf pioneer from Japan, has been instrumental in promoting and developing disc sports in his home country. With a PDGA 1 rating to his name, Shinohara has been a dominant force in Japanese disc golf, winning multiple national championships and representing Japan in international competitions, including the World Disc Golf Championships and the Japan Pro Disc Golf Tour events.
- Katja Belan (Slovenia): Katja Belan, a Slovenian disc golfer, is one of the few female players from Europe to earn a PDGA 1 rating. With a strong and consistent career spanning several years, Belan has been a top competitor in European disc golf events. She has represented Slovenia in international competitions, including the European Disc Golf Championships and the World Disc Golf Championships.
These international players, among others, have not only earned the prestigious PDGA 1 distinction but have also helped to promote and grow disc sports in their respective countries and around the world. Their accomplishments serve as an inspiration to aspiring disc sports athletes everywhere, demonstrating that with dedication, hard work, and talent, anyone can achieve greatness in this exciting and dynamic sport.
What is the future of the PDGA 1?
Maintaining the Elite Status
The PDGA 1 distinction has long been considered the pinnacle of achievement in disc sports. To maintain its elite status, the PDGA must continue to evaluate and revise the criteria for earning the PDGA 1 rating. This may involve incorporating new performance metrics, adjusting the point system, or reevaluating the current criteria to ensure they remain relevant and challenging.
Evolving with the Sport
As disc sports continue to grow and evolve, the PDGA 1 distinction must also adapt to reflect these changes. This may involve expanding the range of disciplines that contribute to the PDGA 1 rating or incorporating new events and competitions that challenge the top players. By staying ahead of the curve, the PDGA can ensure that the PDGA 1 distinction remains a prestigious and meaningful accomplishment for years to come.
Attracting New Talent
To maintain the PDGA 1’s status as the highest achievement in disc sports, it is essential to attract new talent to the sport. This may involve promoting disc sports at the grassroots level, offering scholarships and financial support for aspiring players, or collaborating with other organizations to increase exposure and participation. By fostering a strong pipeline of up-and-coming players, the PDGA can ensure that the PDGA 1 distinction remains a highly coveted and competitive honor.
Final thoughts on the PDGA 1 and its impact on disc sports
- The PDGA 1 distinction has had a significant impact on the disc sports community, particularly on the athletes who have earned it.
- The PDGA 1 has become a symbol of excellence and dedication, and those who have earned it have set a high standard for others to follow.
- The PDGA 1 has also helped to raise the profile of disc sports, bringing more attention to the sport and helping to attract new players and fans.
- The PDGA 1 has helped to establish disc sports as a legitimate competitive sport, with its own set of rules and standards.
- Overall, the PDGA 1 has had a positive impact on the disc sports community, and will continue to be an important part of the sport’s growth and development in the future.
The importance of striving for excellence in disc sports
- Excellence as a driving force in disc sports
- Disc sports, like any other sport, requires dedication and hard work to excel in. The pursuit of excellence is what pushes athletes to push their limits and strive for greatness.
- The desire to be the best version of oneself and achieve success is what motivates athletes to work hard and make sacrifices to achieve their goals.
- Embracing challenges and overcoming obstacles
- Striving for excellence means taking on challenges and pushing past limitations. Disc sports often require athletes to face physical and mental challenges, but it is the determination to overcome these obstacles that leads to growth and improvement.
- It is through facing adversity that athletes learn to persevere and develop resilience, which are essential qualities for achieving success in any field.
- Setting goals and achieving them
- Setting goals is a crucial part of striving for excellence in disc sports. Whether it’s winning a tournament or improving one’s skills, setting clear objectives helps athletes stay focused and motivated.
- Achieving goals provides a sense of accomplishment and fuels the desire to keep pushing forward. It also serves as a testament to the athlete’s hard work and dedication.
- Continuous learning and improvement
- Excellence in disc sports requires a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. Athletes must be willing to learn from their mistakes and seek out opportunities to improve their skills and knowledge.
- Striving for excellence means constantly pushing oneself to grow and evolve, both on and off the field. This mindset is what sets successful athletes apart from those who are content with mediocrity.
- Inspiring others to do the same
- When athletes strive for excellence, they inspire others to do the same. By setting a high standard and pushing themselves to achieve greatness, athletes inspire their peers and the next generation of disc sports players to aim high and work hard.
- Excellence begets excellence, and the pursuit of greatness is what drives the growth and development of disc sports as a whole.
Call to action for aspiring disc sports athletes
For those who aspire to achieve greatness in disc sports, the PDGA 1 distinction serves as a shining example of what can be accomplished through dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to the sport. The PDGA 1 recipients have earned their place among the elite athletes in the disc sports community, and their achievements should serve as a source of inspiration for all those who aspire to join their ranks.
As an aspiring disc sports athlete, you may be wondering how you can follow in the footsteps of these legendary athletes. The good news is that with the right mindset, approach, and work ethic, you too can achieve greatness in the sport. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Develop a strong work ethic: The PDGA 1 recipients did not achieve their success overnight. They worked tirelessly to hone their skills, develop their strength and endurance, and push themselves to new heights. To achieve greatness in disc sports, you must be willing to put in the time and effort required to reach your goals.
- Set clear goals: Knowing what you want to achieve is the first step to making it happen. Set clear goals for yourself, both short-term and long-term, and work towards them with focus and determination. Whether you want to compete at the highest level or simply improve your personal best, having clear goals will help you stay motivated and on track.
- Learn from the best: The PDGA 1 recipients are not just talented athletes; they are also students of the sport. They have spent countless hours studying the game, learning from their peers, and developing their skills. To achieve greatness in disc sports, you must be willing to learn from the best and continuously improve your game.
- Practice good sportsmanship: Finally, remember that disc sports are about more than just winning. It’s about respecting your fellow competitors, showing good sportsmanship, and having fun. The PDGA 1 recipients are not just great athletes; they are also great ambassadors for the sport. By embodying the same spirit of sportsmanship, you too can become a valued member of the disc sports community.
In conclusion, the PDGA 1 distinction is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion that it takes to achieve greatness in disc sports. By following the example set by these legendary athletes, you too can become a force to be reckoned with on the disc sports scene. So lace up your shoes, grab your disc, and get out there and start practicing. The future of disc sports is in your hands.
1. What is the PDGA 1 distinction in disc sports?
The PDGA 1 distinction is an honor bestowed upon professional disc golf players who have achieved a lifetime rating of 930 or higher, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). It is considered one of the highest honors in the sport, and only a select few players have earned this distinction over the years.
2. Who is eligible to earn the PDGA 1 distinction?
Any professional disc golf player who is a member in good standing of the PDGA is eligible to earn the PDGA 1 distinction. To be eligible, a player must have competed in at least 20 sanctioned PDGA events, and their lifetime rating must be 930 or higher.
3. How many players have earned the PDGA 1 distinction?
As of 2021, there have been a total of 40 players who have earned the PDGA 1 distinction since its inception in 1984. The list of players includes some of the most accomplished and respected names in the sport, including Paul McBeth, Philo Brathwaite, and Dave Feldberg, among others.
4. What does it take to earn the PDGA 1 distinction?
Earning the PDGA 1 distinction requires a combination of skill, consistency, and longevity in the sport. To achieve a lifetime rating of 930 or higher, a player must consistently perform at a high level in PDGA-sanctioned events over the course of their career. This requires a combination of excellent disc golf skills, mental toughness, and the ability to compete at a high level under pressure.
5. How is the PDGA 1 distinction different from other honors in disc sports?
While there are many honors and awards in disc sports, the PDGA 1 distinction is unique in that it is based solely on a player’s lifetime rating. Unlike other honors, which may be based on a single performance or season, the PDGA 1 distinction requires a player to consistently perform at a high level over the course of their entire career. This makes it one of the most prestigious honors in the sport, and one that is highly sought after by professional disc golf players.