On a yearly basis, Allen & Ginter introduces collectors to a host of interesting and intriguing world champions outside the realm of baseball. One of 2010's most interesting inclusions was that of world Disc Golf Champ Avery Jenkins. For those unfamiliar with Disc Golf, you may have heard it called by a different name, Frisbee Golf. We were fortunate enough to talk with Jenkins about his sport, how and when he found out he was going to be in 2010 Allen & Ginter, and what the relic and autograph collecting process was like.
1. To those unfamiliar with disc golf, what is it exactly?
Disc golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of a ball and clubs, however, players use a flying disc, or Frisbee®. The sport was formalized in the 1970's, and shares with "ball golf" the object of completing each hole in the fewest number of strokes (or, in the case of disc golf, fewest number of throws). A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target which is the "hole". the hole can be one of a number of disc golf targets; the most common is called a Pole Hole® an elevated metal basket. As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. Finally, the "putt" lands in the basket and the hole is completed. Disc golf shares the same joys and frustrations of traditional golf, whether it's sinking a long putt or hitting a tree halfway down the fairway. There are few differences, though. Disc golf rarely requires a greens fee, you probably won't need to rent a cart, and you never get stuck with a bad "tee time." It is designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages, male and female, regardless of economic status.
2. How would a person interested in disc golf get involved in the sport?
Disc golf can be played from school age to old age, making it one of the greatest lifetime fitness sports available. Specially-abled and disabled participate, giving them the opportunity to take part in a mainstream activity. Because disc golf is so easy to learn, no one is excluded. Players merely match their pace to their capabilities, and proceed from there. The Professional Disc Golf Association, with a member base of 40,000+, is the governing body for the sport and sanctions competitive events for men and women of every skill level from novice to professional. Permanent disc golf courses are found in countries worldwide.
The ongoing fitness boom finds more and more people taking up recreational activities in an effort to improve health and quality of life. Disc golf provides upper and lower body conditioning, aerobic exercise, and promotes a combination of physical and mental abilities that allow very little risk of physical injury. Concentration skills increase by mastering shots and negotiating obstacles. Players of limited fitness levels can start slowly and gradually increase their level of play as fitness improves. Scheduling is also flexible; a round takes one to two hours, and may be played alone, eliminating the difficulty of scheduling tee times. And as in traditional golf, disc golfers find themselves "hooked;" increasing the likelihood of frequent participation. Disc golf offers year-round fitness, even in rain or snow. Perhaps the greatest attribute of the sport is the expense - or rather, the lack of it. A professional quality disc costs less than $15, and it only takes one for basic play.
3. What drew you to Disc Golf in the first place?
Growing up in Hinckley, Ohio, I have been around disc golf my entire life. My mother, Sharon, has won 3 World Championships ('92, '94 and '98) and my father, Leroy, has won many NT Titles and is credited with instilling in me the love for the game. My sister, Valarie, is also a touring professional disc golfer and is currently the 3X Women's World Champion ('07, '08 and ‘09). After throwing my first disc at the young age of 7, I began playing disc golf recreationally and in tournaments sporadically as a kid. I first joined the PDGA in 1992 as a Christmas gift from my parents, but it was not until after I graduated from high school that I developed an intense passion for the sport and set out to build my life around it.
I have won over 40 tournaments on the Professional Disc Golf Association National Tour including 3 PDGA Major Tournaments - 2004 Japan Open in Tokyo, Japan, the 2006 Players Cup in Crystal River, FL and the 2009 Disc Golf World Championships in Kansas City, KS/MO. I have also been nominated 4 times for Player of the Year 2006 -2009 and also considered to be one the farthest throwers in the World, ranking in the Top 10 longest throws ever recorded.
The PDGA Majors consist on the 4 Largest Tournaments in our sport, where the best competitors/players in the World attend. You are considered to be one of the Best Players in the World if win any of these events.
5. Who are the big names on the PDGA tour besides yourself?
Valarie Jenkins - 3X World Champion, 3X Player of the Year
Nate Doss - 2X World Champion, 2005 US Champion
Ken Climo - 12X World Champion, 5X US Champion
Barry Schultz - 2X World Champion, 3X US Champion
David Feldberg - 2008 World Champion, 2005 US Champion
6. How and when did you find out that you would be in 2010 Allen & Ginter?
I was contacted over the Winter by a Sports Marketing Company about the opportunity to have a Card included in the 2010 Allen & Ginter Sports Card set. I was really excited to finally have my own Topps Rookie card so I sent them several photos to choose from in order to find the best picture to fit such a Sports Card.
A Topps Representative was sent to the World Disc Sports Disc Golf Store in San Jose for a public signing. I signed 200+ Mini cards in about an hour and had plenty of time to sign discs for fans that attended the Topps signing to show their support.
8. Your relic card is a short-print because of the high quality "throwing disc" inside the card, how does the "relic" collecting process work?
I sent Topps a stack of 5 Red Avery Jenkins Star Destroyer Discs to use for the Relic cards as well as my Blue Champion Firebird that I used to win the World Championships in 2009. They cut the Discs into 5/8" inch squares and placed the pieces into the Relic Cards that were then randomly inserted into packs.
9. How exciting is it to get the exposure for both yourself and the sport from Allen & Ginter?
I think that it is pretty incredible to have my own personal Sports Card. Its a dream to have an actual Topps Card and to be included in the 2010 Allen & Ginter set along with all of the Major Baseball Stars and other World Champions of various sports. It's a true honor.
10. How much luck have you had collecting your cards?
I started by first buying 3 boxes of the 2010 Allen & Ginter Baseball Cards and didn't find any of my cards in 72 packs of cards that I had opened. So I have been buying a majority of my cards off of eBay, local hobby shops and Sports Card sites. I an trying to acquire as many of my personal cards as possible, including many personal Relic, Auto and Silk Cards in the set. I have collected lots of my Common/Base card to sign and give away to Friends, Family and Disc Golfers at local courses all over the country.
11. Did you collect cards before this? If so, what kind?
I collected sports cards when I was younger and it all started when my Uncle gave me his sports card collection from the 60's, 70's and 80's. I collected a lot of Baseball, Basketball and Football Cards from the late 80's and early 90's and still have all of my cards stored at my parents house in Ohio.
12. Any closing thoughts or comments that you would like to convey to our readers?
I am trying to collect several my personal cards and I am very interested in acquiring more Disc Relic, Red Ink Autographs, Silk Cards and Common/Base Cards. Please contact me at Aviar7495@aol.com if you have connections to any of these cards.
To learn more about the sport of disc golf and Avery Jenkins, visit his official site: http://www.averyjenkins7495.com/