Throughout my time being a part of the Disc Golf community, I have seen the phrase “Grow the sport” all over social media, interviews, conversations, etc. It is a credo or motto that the community lives by, as well as we should. We all want the sport to grow and gain popularity because we love it and want the recognition it deserves. I got the pleasure of getting to interview Mark Kilmer who is a known Disc Golfer where I am from. He runs the Disc Golf Armory van and holds a seat on the Pierce County Disc Golf Association board. He is one of the best examples of someone who wants to grow this sport to be something bigger than before.
Mark got his start in Disc Golf the same way I assume most people do. He told me that “My friends Mike Richmond and Mike Wagner tagged me along one time and I fell in love with it from there.” So, from there he found out that “I could throw really far” which he took that skill to go play more. He eventually found his way to “A lot of the events in Oregon, Idaho, and even Canada and then fell in love with the home course of Fort Steilacoom.” He stayed around the pacific northwest but he became well known amongst his peers and continues to play when he can. While he is not playing he can usually be found on the board in the PCDGA or out at the course in the trusty Disc Golf Armory van.
The Pierce County Disc Golf Association is the club that is the biggest one in the state of WA and is held in Pierce County. Marks position on the board as he tells me is “The course lead/ course pro for Fort Steilacoom, I would loosely say that I am there for heritage and keeping the standard for the course.” He is one of the founding members of the organization and still has a seat on the board. But, when you have many things that you have going for you, something must eventually give. That something was his responsibilities on the board, “I had to give up some responsibilities due to the Disc Golf armory and other jobs, but I found a great group of guys to help me and they are all volunteers.” The idea of having all volunteers is so amazing to me. He found enough people willing to have enough time to do course upkeep, doubles every week, and so much more as well. It is truly great to see all this happening near to me and I am sure in other parts of the country as well.
Now, I am sure you have been wondering this whole time, “What is the Disc Golf Armory?” that I keep mentioning. Well, Disc Golf Armory was something that Mark inherited from his friend Raymond Sike. The original idea from Raymond was “you could buy discs from the van and he would give lessons a well.” So, eventually Mark started to carry the torch of the Disc golf Armory and kept it going from his friend Raymond. Mark told me that he likes the Disc Golf Armory because “people can test drive discs from me, I can run a lot of tournaments from there, it’s an easy way to get a hold of me, and most importantly it keeps the traditions going.” Mark seemed to mention the idea of tradition all throughout his interview and it seems to be the most important factor to him. You can find the Disc Golf Armory at “Most doubles through the week, I usually listen to the players on where to be and when, but, Fort Stielacoom in WA is the home of the van.” So, if you are ever in WA lookout for the bright yellow van!
To round the interview out I wanted to know more about Mark and know why he does what he does. He does so much for the community and the sport I just wanted to get the “Why?” out of it. He told me a simple answer, “I just love promoting the sport and I want as many people playing the sport as possible. I want more, I have the phrase ‘Play Disc Golf’ bigger than the actual name of my brand on the van, I want to look to the future of the sport itself.” He just wants to grow the sport just like all of this. He lives and breathes this sport and this motto. If there are more people in our community like Mark, which I think there is, then this sport will sky rocket in no time.
I would like to thank Mark Kilmer for letting me ask him some questions and taking the time out of his day to answer those questions. If you want to learn more about the Disc Golf Armory you can find him on Facebook along with the PCDGA.
Picture credit goes to Mark Kilmers Facebook