Now in her second year of competitive play, Calgary Disc Golf Club member Amber Chiasson entered her first-ever Disc Golf Pro Tour event last weekend – the Las Vegas Challenge.
Battling through windy conditions and up against a tough field, Amber finished with rounds of 73, 93 and 85 and while she unfortunately didn’t make the cut, she made us all proud.
We caught up with Amber after the tournament to hear all about the weekend, from meeting fellow pros to encountering geese that weren’t total jerks.
Below is an excerpt of our conversation:
CDGC: This was your first Disc Golf Pro Tour event, how was the overall experience?
AC: My first pro tour event was both exciting and stressful. I was really excited to meet the touring pros and just be a part of that environment. This particular tournament was tough to prepare for. There were three different courses to practice on and we only had three days of prep, during the craziest wind mind you, so a game plan was hard to establish.
CDGC: What was your mindset going in? Did you accomplish your goals?
AC: My mindset was to lower my expectations of myself and just have fun. I’m coming from my mid-off season, playing in snowy conditions and have less experience than most, if not all, of the other competitors. My personal goal was to play at my own average so unfortunately I did not meet my mark. However, I learned so much of what my strengths and weaknesses are and I believe I came out of this experience stronger and more knowledgeable.
CDGC: What were some of the highlights for you this weekend?
AC: Definitely meeting the touring pros. I was really fortunate to play with Erika Stinchcomb and Vanessa Van Dyken for my first round, which was so cool. They were extremely kind and supportive. I introduced myself to Madison Walker who is also a part of team Upper Park Disc Golf and now throws MVP. I met some fellow lefty players: Heather Young and Zach Melton, then finally was able to join Gander Disc Golf and Calvin Heimburg for breakfast.
CDGC: How different was it being at a DGPT event compared to other tournaments you’ve played? What were the similarities?
AC: This tournament was pretty different than our local tournaments. There were three different courses to learn in a very short timeframe. I was also competing against 59 other female competitors compared to our local 2-5 players. There were practice baskets and a driving range to warm up prior to a round, which I found helpful and a great standard to follow.
CDGC: How were the courses in Las Vegas? How did they compare to courses here?
AC: I really enjoyed these courses. They were quite wide open with perfectly placed OBs and hazards, which added a challenge. The green was quick and there was a subtle amount of elevation which made you think twice about those approaches and putts. Also, a crazy amount of geese were wandering the courses and oddly enough, these geese were quite docile.
CDGC: What were some highlights for you outside of the competition this weekend?
AC: Being able to watch incredible disc golf in person. It’s one thing to follow the tour on YouTube but to watch those crazy shots in person was amazing.
CDGC: What’s next for you? Overall plans for the season?
AC: This season I will be trying to play as many local tournaments as possible and increase my rating. I’ll also be focusing on some holes in my game.
CDGC: How long have you been playing? How did you get into disc golf? What made you want to turn pro?
AC: I’ll be going on five years this year, but only my second year of playing competitively. I was introduced to disc golf by my husband, Kyle Chiasson. I never heard of the sport before him and after a few rounds I wanted to be good at it. I wanted to go pro last year after slowly rising through the ranks by entering local tournaments. There wasn’t a lot of other FPO players at the time but I really hope that changes this year and we can fill our tournaments with more ladies.
CDGC: Tell us about your sponsors, how much do they help?
AC: I am currently sponsored by three companies: Gander Disc Golf, Upper Park Disc Golf and VII Apparel. They ensure that I have the gear that I need to make my game better.`
All pics courtesy Amber Chiasson