One of the young and up and comers to make his name known, made a big move this year in regard to his sponsorship. From being on the Discmania team to Latitude 64 Grady Shue has become a name to considered for each event he plays in. Grady has a great story to tell about his career and life leading him to where he is now. Check out his story down below and learn a little bit more about Grady and enjoy!
Similar to my own story of starting to play disc golf, Grady began his story in the sport while in high school. He told me “back in high school I had a couple discs and didn’t know what they were. A few friends and I started playing a couple of times a week.” Nothing too crazy to start off, he wasn’t completely hooked from the get-go, but he slowly introduced himself into the sport. But the sport took a little bit of time to latch onto him. He said that while in college “I took a year off.” He took his freshman year and didn’t play the sport. Like most stories they are unique to each person and not everyone can get hooked right away. However, in around 2014 around his sophomore year he told me “I transferred to University in Charlotte and played on their collegiate disc golf team.” From not playing too heavily to moving and playing on a collegiate team is a huge leap. But the sport finally found its way to latch onto Grady and hold tight into what he does daily. From then on, he found a love for the sport and began to play more.
Once finding out about disc golf it takes a lot to keep going sometimes. Not everyone can be self-motivating and be able to play frequently on their own. When it comes to motivation and inspiration Grady told me “I have always been kind of competitive and enjoy playing against others.” This mindset carried into his collegiate team and made him a better player both in college and recreationally. Not only that, he enjoyed playing with his friends he found on the team and grew up with. He said that “my friends on the collegiate team and I would always play in tournaments in the area and just compete against one another.” While playing on the team he would find ways to compete outside of the collegiate season. These tournaments kept him going and he found inspiration through competition and through his friends which is something we all need while playing.
Grady’s leap into the pro scene was quicker than most I would say. A lot of the time newer players will take a couple years to play in the AM division and potentially win the AM worlds tournament before feeling confident to play in the open side of disc golf. But not for Grady. He told me “back in 2016 I was playing a lot of tournaments and doing really well at a lot of them. I liked playing the open division because that’s where all my friends played.” Jumping straight into the open division seemed normal for him and he did not seem to mind at all. Doing good enough in open is hard to do while not having played for a long time but he showed that you don’t need years of AM experience to do well. He also added that “2017 was my first full year as a professional.” He joined and went on a full tour for the first time only a couple of years ago. For a younger player like himself that is quite the feat and shows his commitment to the sport.
Switching companies is no easy task when it comes to disc golf. You must switch all your discs, find molds similar to what you know, and work with people you may not be used to working with. With that all being said, Grady adjusted well from Discmania to Latitude 64. He told me that “with how close the disc golf community is there isn’t any bad blood about switching companies, but it is a challenge for sure.” It is great to see that nothing negative happened between the two companies, shows that there can be love between competing businesses. The challenge can’t escape Grady, but he is down for it and finding out what works for him wasn’t as bad as he thought. He said that “I already had an idea of what discs I wanted to throw and keep in mind before I switched. It was mostly just finding out what makes the most sense for me.” Having the ability to know ahead of time is something that is pivotal when making a switch to a different company. He found his discs and found the ones that fit him the best and is excited to really let them loose this season and to show off what he has got.
You never know what someone will decide as their favorite course or disc. When it comes to favorite course Grady has been surrounded by a lot of great ones where he was born. But he decided to go a bit further north for his favorite course. He told me that “I would say my favorite course is Maple Hill gold in MA.” No surprise, the gold course at Maple Hill is a favorite amongst professionals and anyone who has ever played it. He also went on to add by saying “I think it is one of the coolest courses and really challenges everything you need, and the atmosphere is so cool and breathtaking.” The course has every shot you could imagine, and he loves it because of those challenges. Not shying away but embracing hem and learning from them is what Grady does best. Now, picking a favorite disc right after a switch can be a hard challenge to do. You may not really know your bag yet and haven’t even thought of a favorite. So, when answering this Grady decided to pick a disc, he thinks is cool right now. He said that “the latitude compass is one of the coolest discs I have found right now. It is one of the straightest discs I have ever thrown or even found.” The compass is a straight mid-range from latitude and Grady has found one to be in his bag for all shots. He may not have a favorite necessarily, but he is so excited to use them this season.
2019 has shown up and with a few tournaments down, there are already some big wins happening. When looking towards 2019 form the eyes of Grady, he is determined and is excited about this year. He told me “I’ve been practicing a lot and not playing as many rounds. I hope to be a lot more consistent this year with my practice.” He chose this off-season to focus on field work and practice and not worry about playing rounds so much. The biggest step is understanding that there is more practice to disc golf then just playing rounds every day. Field work is crucial to the game and Grady has taken the time to approach the year with that mentality. He also added by saying “I want to be on the more topside of tournaments and remain that way.” It can be hard to cash at events and if you can cash all year then that is a success. Wins are nice but making the cut is often more important overall for the whole year.
Grady being so new to the professional side of the sport from a sponsorship side of things can only do so much to grow the sport. But he takes a great approach to growing the sport regardless. He said that “all I can do is just model myself after the professionalism as well as I love showing the sport to new people when we go into towns.” Traveling around the country makes it hard to do things to grow the sport. So, he does the little things like make he sport fun and makes it approachable for new players. These things matter and they may be little, but they are some of the things that people don’t think about while they are playing. He told me that “I try my best to make it up to my friends and fans and sign things and go to see them when I can.” It can be hard to be a professional to be able to see any one and everyone that isn’t on tour with you. But Grady makes it a point to show appreciation to his fans and see his friends and family when he has a weekend or week off between events.
There has been a common thing in the advice given from professionals that I have seen happening and Grady follows that same advice. His advice to the public is “moving up to the open division is the best move you could make. Getting better by playing against someone will happen.” Trial by fire essentially, you may not be great at the beginning but by learning by being around someone better than yourself you will learn much faster. He added to it by saying “it is a lot of dedication to put in. Just by learning and being around competition will make you better.” Take the leap and go into a division that you may not think you are ready for. He wants you to feel confident going into the next division and learn from your mistakes and from those around you.
When finishing off an interview it can be a big challenge to have any parting words to say. Often professionals feel like an open book and don’t have any real idea of what to say. But Grady did have some parting words to leave you with. He wanted to say that “I would have to say I am a lot more approachable than people think. I don’t think I have the same kind of feel as like people like Paul McBeth or Rick Wysocki, but id like people to know that I enjoy meeting people. As well as to let them know you never have to be scared or hesitant to meet someone you’ve seen on YouTube or look up to.”
I would like to thank Grady for taking the time out of his day to let me ask him questions and for answering my questions as well. If you would like to know more about Grady, you can find him on Instagram @gradyshue. You can also buy his tour series disc here: https://www.dynamicdiscs.com/Paige-Bjerkaas-and-Grady-Shue-Uno-Fundraiser-p/3359.htm. Look out for more coming from me soon!
Picture Credit goes to Grady Shue