With the recent Green Mountain Championships wrapping up, and after playing some phone tag, I finally got the chance to talk to one of the more experienced players on tour. He was more than happy to talk to me and share his knowledge and his story from years of competing in Disc Golf. The person I am talking about is no other than Gregg Barsby himself.
When it comes to my blogs I always want to showcase how the individual I am interviewing got their start within the sport and Greggs start was an interesting one to say the least. He started off by telling me that “I found a disc nearby my house when I was six years old, at the time I had no idea what it was” but he began to tell me that “some guy trades me 2 for 1 and it goes from there.” So his career starts earlier than most but it has been an exciting one to say the least. As time wore on, he really started playing when he “was about 8 or 9 years old then turned pro just before I was done with high school.” This young Gregg Barsby went on to play in larger and larger tournaments, he then told me “I get to do what I love to do, be outdoors, be active, and just play.”
If you have seen any videos on Greg Barsby or have seen him play, you have seen that he has a positive outlook no matter the situation. We all have bad games and bad rounds so I wanted to know his secret on how he keeps his cool. His answer was simple “I don’t play much of recreational rounds, I just set my game plan and stick to it and focus on what I need to do for each hole.” He makes it sound easier than what it actually is, he explains that “I have a lot of experience managing holes so it comes easy and is my natural process.” It is worth a try to set a plan before going out onto the course or before you head out through a tournament.
Gregg Barsby is currently sponsored by Innova Disc Golf. However, he has had a long run of different sponsors throughout his career and he has been through them all. He started his career in the sponsorship world with Gateway Discs as he outs it “the pre-Wizard days, there was not many manufacturers out there at the time.” From there he continued playing and throwing for Gate way throughout his time. But like any great competitor, he wanted to continue to grow and get his name out there. So, he started emailing companies and showing him his wins and who he won against much like a football player sends film to coaches. He was out for recognition and he got it, “On Halloween of 2003 I got picked up for Discraft and stuck with them for 9 years”. That is not were his story ends though, he eventually left Discraft for reasons only he knows and went un-sponsored for a while. He became sponsored by Legacy and Westside discs and he tells me “I was the first importer for those discs in the United States.” Which is a feat and something special to be said. He now finally throws for Innova and he said, “I got my spot on Innovas team in May of 2015.” He has run the gamut on sponsorships but he has a home in Innova and I hope he has a great career with them as time goes on.
Just like most individuals, I was curious to see what his favorite courses and discs were since he has played a laundry list of courses and thrown basically every disc. When it comes to discs, he told me that “My favorites are the eagle, Scorpius, aviar, and buzz.” Now, those are odd choices but they are discs that are true to Gregg and what he enjoys. He admits “I might be the only player still on tour who throws a Scorpius, but I love that disc.” I can’t say I disagree with that statement. When he talked about his favorite courses he had some interesting choices internationally, he said “my favorite courses outside of the states are all in Sweden, I really like Yarba in central Sweden.” When it comes to the states themselves, he said “I really like Milo in Portland, the course and the atmosphere are unlike any other.” Which is no surprise, the Milo-McIvern course in Oregon is a favorite to many who have played it.
I don’t know personally how good you are at Disc Golf, but, I am not the best. So, I always want to get advice and share this advice with everyone so that maybe someone out there can learn from the pros. Greggs advice was great and he said, “You must dedicate a lot of time to the sport, learn to manipulate flight patterns, know how your body works and control it, putt putt putt, and especially practice good habits.” These are all things that I think are needed but go without being said sometimes. I never knew that your body control was important and that we all practice, but practicing what is correct is the key in his statement and I think is the key in his advice.
So, I like to end all my interviews with asking the individual who I am talking to if there is anything that they want to get out there that the public may not know. Usually, they say some sort of social media plug or talk about how they were an athlete in some other respect, which are all great answers. Greggs, however, was unlike any other that I heard. He wanted the public to know why he does what he does. He started off by saying “My roots and lineage within the sport run deep.” Gregg is from Santa Cruz, California and is where he got his start. He said, “I used to play all the time with Myles Harding, and Nate Doss was in the division above us, Myles was the favorite son in Santa Cruz.” He told me this clearly laughing and joking about it. But the story takes an interesting turn, he was telling me that “Ed (Ed Headricks) would come out and watch Myles and I play all the time in tournaments.” But, Ed passed away of a stroke in August of 2002. After that happened Gregg told me “The spirit of Ed rides with me and I play through him and I carry his spirit with me everywhere I go. I am really thankful that the disc golf culture took me in and I am fortunate to do what I do.”
I would like to thank Gregg Barsby for allowing me to interview him and talk to him about his adventure in Disc Golf and tell his story as best as I could. If you would like to know more about him, follow him on all of his social media or check out greggbarsby.com to see even more about him.
Picture credit goes to greggbarsby.com