When talking to other professionals I often ask them who they think would be a good person to interview next. I have a rough list of people that I want to talk to and get a hold of, but sometimes there are names I can’t think of or know about. But most recently the most brought up person is Kevin Jones. Most professionals I talk to brought his name up and wanted to have him get a story and I couldn’t agree more. So, check out his story down below and enjoy!
Kevin started up his disc golf career at a young age. He was in his early teen years when he got first introduced into the sport. He told me “I started disc golf when I was 12 years old when I was at church camp one summer. One of the times I was there I saw the baskets that were out on the camp grounds.” He didn’t know right off the bat what it was, but he had always seen the baskets but wasn’t sure what they were for. He told me that “one of the leaders showed me what it was, and I learned I had a pretty good flick. When I got back home the nearest course was about 30 minutes away.” He was hooked from that day during camp and sought out courses nearby. Now, 30 minutes isn’t too bad when you can drive but being 12 years old it can be a bit of a hassle. However, he told me that “in 2009 they put a course in like 10 minutes away from my house in Arkansas. Then, I found the local group and they took me in and let me play with them.” He slowly found his way into the local group and began to play more and more from there. From then on, he continued to play locally and grew to love the game from that day when he was 12.
If you have seen Kevin in videos or have gotten the chance to meet him, you know he is one of the nicest people to talk to. So, it came as no surprise when asked about his inspirations to continue to play disc golf who it would be. When asked, he told me “as far as who, I would say my parents. I want to make them proud. I dropped out of college to do something people don’t consider smart or good to do.” Kevin is still young so making a living being a disc golfer can be a challenge and not an easy thing to do. Even with a college degree it can be hard to make a living so wanting to do it through disc golf is a hard but achievable goal. He also told me that “I want to show people that it is very possible to make a living from disc golf if they choose to do so.” Now, the road to getting to be on Kevin’s level of play is not easy, but it is indeed possible. Kevin wants to be an inspiration to younger players and wants them to know it is possible if you want to achieve that goal.
Taking the leap into the open division can be a task some do right away, or it may take them years. For Kevin it came as a natural progression. He told me that “I had won a few advanced tournaments when I was young so around 14 years old. I then had won a local b tier in the pro division.” He had found his way into the pro division to want to play with a higher level of competition, as most do. But he also didn’t play right away once he jumped into that division. He told me that “I was in high school, so I was caught up in other sports at the time but after that first tournament I never looked back.” So, he focused on high school for awhile and wanted to make sure he got through high school before focusing on his disc golf career. The most surprising part was not taking a long time in the AM side of disc golf, just essentially jumping into the open side of the sport. But he took his leap and hasn’t looked back since.
Some of you know that Kevin used to throw for Prodiscus but now throws and is sponsored by Prodigy. Obviously, people who I talk to aren’t going to bash their sponsor or disc company. But it is always nice to hear about what the pros have to say about a company. When talking about Prodigy he told me “it is really nice to have a company that believes in your ability. It is something that you need to have a career.” Being sponsored is something that Kevin takes very seriously and is grateful for the opportunity to even be sponsored and have such an option for him to be given. He wanted to also add by saying “it is great that prodigy believes in me and I couldn’t be more thankful. Also, the best part about the company is that the discs are so unique, and they fly really well.” He loves the company he throws for and couldn’t be happier where he is at right now.
Kevin is surrounded by amazing courses in Arkansas and having been a part of two separate companies makes him have a wider opinion when it comes to the discs he likes to throw. When talking about his favorite course he told me “I would have to say it’s the Jonesboro Arkansas pro tour course. It has huge drives off the tee and you have to have control in the flight early and late on your throw.” Not only that, he went on to add by saying “all the holes are amazing, and it is one of the courses I am so excited to play during the tour.” Its not often that a course so close to home is so great and the favorite. Especially when a player like Kevin has played so many great courses while touring. It shows how much he loves home and shows the strength of the courses in Arkansas. When it comes to favorite discs, Kevin has a very specific disc in mind. When asking him that he told me “the D2, but specifically the one Seppo (Paju) gave me that he bombed at konopiste. It is definitely more overstable than a regular D2.” He also said that “I use that D2 for forehands with the glide that I can get, it is such a fun big bomber disc.” It comes as no surprise when a bomber like Kevin loves his trusty driver. But the fact that it is such a specific D2 makes it special and shows he truly has only one favorite disc that is unique to him.
2019 is here and shown to be an interesting season so far. Kevin has been playing well and has high hopes for this season. He told me that “I just expect to be playing really solid. I feel confident on showing back up with some familiarity to it and be able to recognize the course and do it all again. Just excited to be back.” Short and sweet but he wants everyone to know he is ready to take this year head on and with a full head of steam.
As said time and time again, growing the sport is a pivotal part of disc golf. It seems to be the mantra of a lot of players and is what the sport needs in order to get the recognition it deserves. When it comes to growing the sport, Kevin does it in many ways. He told me “I like to be nice to absolutely everybody I see. I just want to make disc golf look like something that is fun to come back to do.” Being nice is such an easy thing to do when it comes to playing on a professional level and is often the easiest thing to do to help get people to the course. Kevin just wants to make the sport attractive and something anyone can do. Something that is becoming more popular is that the implementation of disc golf in schools. He said that “I am big into helping getting disc golf into schools. I am currently trying to get baskets at the schools around me, there is even one currently installed at my school in Greenwood.” He wants all the schools around him to have courses readily available and has started that process. This is something I don’t hear a lot of professionals doing and Kevin is trying constantly to get baskets put up everywhere. He wants to grow the sport and is starting at the base level and getting it involved within the schools and trying to get as many kids to play.
Since Kevin is one of the younger players, I was curious to see what his advice was to players of all levels. He told me that “I think more people need to be playing in the open division and the biggest events that there are.” The reason behind this is “just playing events and seeing where you stack up will show you and others what you are doing.” There is no better teacher than competition, especially in the professional division. He thinks that its going to teach you more just by playing against the best. Which I think is something that people get nervous about. Joining the open division isn’t easy but Kevin wants people to see where they truly stack up and learn from there. As he said “the open division is the proving grounds of disc golf. Anyone can show up and win.” You never know what can happen in a tournament and a random no-name can end up winning a big event. You just have to be able to put yourself out there and play against the best.
Kevin didn’t have a ton to leave the people with. But he did have something. He wanted to say “my tour series discs will be dropping this year and I think everyone should go out and try one. I just want to also thank my supporters legit disc golf, prodigy, and cedar creek.”
I would like to thank Kevin for taking the time out of his day to let me talk to him and ask him these questions. If you would like to know more about him, you can find him on Instagram @kevin_jones116. If you would like to follow him on Facebook, you can find his page here: https://www.facebook.com/kj41760/. As well as you can find his your series discs here if you want to buy one: https://shop.prodigydisc.com/collections/kevin-jones-signature-series-special-edition. Look out for more coming from me next week!
Picture credit goes to Kevin Jones