Meet the Calgary disc golfer who logged 532 rounds last year.
Steve Zeeb had a lot of time on his hands after one of his fingers got smashed while working at Calgary International Airport at the start of summer 2020.
The 34-year-old was part of a crew towing WestJet planes around the tarmac when an accident saw the middle finger on his left hand essentially turned into pudding.
“I was pulling a ground power — a big thing that powers the plane when it’s on the ground — so I’m pulling it downhill … and it rolled on me and my finger got stuck,” he said.
“It was literally like a tube of toothpaste, I crushed it bad. It was mangled looking.”
A skateboarder most of his life — Zeeb was even sponsored at one point — he didn’t want to ride with a pin surgically implanted in his finger, so he looked for another activity to occupy his time during the months he was going to be off work.
Enter disc golf.
Some of his old skateboard friends living in B.C. had taken up the sport and his sister played at the Forest Lawn course with his cousin on Wednesdays.
So Zeeb and a buddy, Jesse King, decided to give it a try, too and ordered a starter set of discs off Amazon.
“I had nothing but time and it was my left hand that I destroyed so I could throw,” he said.
“I had like a 130-gram DX Cheetah and immediately I went all in, got 50 discs pretty much and was practising in a field every day.”
Their first rounds were a little rough.
“I think I shot +28 the first round we came (to Forest Lawn),” he said laughing. “I looked it up on UDisc. The good thing is we started when UDisc was around so our first rounds are logged. Bogey, double-bogey every hole.”
It was the beginning of 2021 that Zeeb went all-in on disc golf.
“Jan. 16 I got an ace at Hole 3 at Baker with (Jesse) on a busy Saturday afternoon,” he said. “It was just insane, it was the best vibe, everyone was so stoked and right then, that was pretty much, ‘this is it.’”
The pair played together whenever possible and Zeeb also went out a lot on his own.
“On his days off he’d beep me and we’d literally play sun up to sun down at DRM in the winter, in the snow, minus-20 something,” said Zeeb.
King logged 356 rounds of his own last year, but because Zeeb was playing so much more, his game developed that much faster.
“Me and (Jesse) used to be real competitive, now, he never beats me, honestly, not to sound harsh, but he has a job and stuff,” said Zeeb, adding his game moved to another level when he started playing in local tournaments.
He also joined the Calgary Disc Golf Club and some leagues.
“That helped a lot. I’m just obsessive about anything as it is,” he said. “From skateboarding I know if you want to get good you just have to do it all the time.”
The first tournaments he played in were humbling.
“I got crushed by some 13-year-old kids, which made me practise more,” he said.
“Then I won a tournament which was so sick, that was one of the highlights of the summer. Only MA2 but still, a win is a win.”
Zeeb’s best round yet is -11 at Raptors Knoll. And he’s had eight more aces since his first at Baker.
Forest Lawn is Zeeb’s usual course (he lives a few blocks away) but he ended up playing at 34 different ones last year.
WJ Homestead is among his favourites in the Calgary area.
“It’s so nice there. I’m getting a pass there this year,” he said. “It’s really technical. I did a tournament there last year too, it’s so fun there.”
He hasn’t slowed the pace in 2022, as our round in late January was his 66th so far of the year.
And he’s always aiming to get better.
“I’m trying to. Putting is always so hard,” he said. “I still practise a lot. Sometimes you miss a 15-footer still.”
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