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Zoe AnDyke and Dustin Keegan are sponsored disc golf professionals touring internationally full-time and running Universal Play Disc Golf, a non-profit organization teaching disc golf to children. Zoe and Dustin are two of the top players in the male and female divisions world-wide, and are also best friends who travel and tour together. Zoe and Dustin took a moment from the Canadian National tournament on Prince Edward Island to tell their story about growing their careers in professional disc golf, teaching others, and all the games of cribbage they played along the way:
Becoming professional disc golfers
I [Zoe] first started throwing discs in late 2005 and Dustin in 2007. We started disc golfing on opposite sides of the state of Oregon: I'm from La Grande and Dustin is from Eugene.
We met in 2012 in the parking lot of the Sisters, Oregon disc golf course after a tournament. I did all the ice breaking by approaching Dustin to become my "training partner" and asking for his number. Of course, he said yes and after a few more local events, we caddied for each other and then began playing doubles together, starting with a doubles event named The Hope Open.
We knew there was a special connection between us, and after the bonding experiences of both competing with each other and being partners at the 2013 World Championships doubles event, we became fast friends and travel partners, and have been ever since then.
After a few years of playing amateur events around Oregon, we both had some early success locally and in 2012 decided to test our skills as true professionals and start competing on the National Tour. We've now been touring for over eight years and played over 100 events around the world.
Paying it forward: teaching disc golf to others
In 2017, I founded Universal Play Disc Golf, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to teach disc golf to others and feed my soul. Dustin signed on as my COO and Lead Ambassador, and we have assembled an incredibly supportive board of directors and circle of disc golf ambassadors. Our mission is to teach this very affordable, lifelong sport that is playable by all ages, genders, and ability levels to promote health and well-being and enhance communities. So far, we've taught over 3,600 children disc golf and we're striving to do so at a larger and larger scale each year. (Support Zoe's organization here!)
What it's like being on tour
The best part about touring constantly are the people, places, and experiences that we get to have each and every day/week. The people in the disc golf community are some of the most compassionate, caring, and giving people we've ever met.
As we travel around the world, we have met so many different people from every walk of life and we have connected with each and every one of them because of our shared love for disc golf! We find that you will always be welcomed and greeted with open arms by disc golfers wherever you find yourself playing.
That's how we met Geoff Franklin at Walnut Studiolo - he is a big disc golf fan and an enthusiastic disc golfer himself. We have also been fortunate enough to meet some of our closest friends while on tour and consider them people we will talk to for the rest of our lives.
The second best part of touring is being able to play all the best disc golf courses in the world on a regular basis!
The downside of touring is that you have to be able to live without structure and routine because every day is different from the last. It's not for everyone! The long drives around the country are definitely the worst part and living out of a suitcase can get pretty old. We are so lucky to have each other as we co-exist better than most and make being on the road and around each other 24/7 very easy. The years of traveling have taught us exactly how we can succeed the best while on the road!
Cribbage on tour
One way we stay sane on the road is cribbage! Cribbage was a long-standing pastime in the AnDyke family, so I had to teach Dustin how to play shortly after we met in 2012. We play as often as possible! There honestly isn't a bad time to play a match. :)
I've taught a majority of the tour how to play cribbage and we love to battle against the likes of top notch disc golfers Paige Pierce, Peter McBride, James Conrad, Simon Lizotte and many host families and tournament directors as well.
Dustin and I use both of Walnut Studiolo's travel cribbage products on the road: the Travel Cribbage Boardand the Cribbage Board Belt. They're so amazing. These unique and crafty cribbage board models make it easy and convenient to take them everywhere. We have played on beaches, in the car, airplane rides, at restaurants, and among many more places, disc golf courses.
The travel board conveniently fits inside of a putter or midrange, and it's easy to fit a couple of hands in during a backup in play.