Last month, Aaron Shindledecker and his doubles partner, James Hopkins, claimed top honors in the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship. In September, Shindledecker also won first place in the Advanced Division during the Yadkin Open, the 19th annual disc golf tournament held at the Yadkin County Park.
Now a student at UNC-Greensboro, Shindledecker first learned to play the game, which involves throwing a Frisbee at a basket-style target, right here in Yadkin County.
“I was born and raised in Yadkin County, attending Forbush Elementary, Middle and High School and I learned to play disc golf in 2012 at Yadkin County Park with the help of my sister, Emily,” Shindledecker said. “I have played with the Yadkin Disc Golf Club over the last five years at their weekly events at Yadkin County Park.”
Shindledecker had high praise for the course at the Yadkin County Park.
“It’s one of the best courses in the state. The club has been extremely helpful and I have gained endless knowledge from playing with the local professionals within the club such as Club President Nathan Hodges and Vice President Antony Gonzalez,” he said.
The thrill of competition and enjoyment of camaraderie is what keeps Shindledecker coming back to this unique sport.
“One of my favorite things about playing disc golf is watching the disc fly when it leaves my hand. I will envision the perfect shot for the situation in my mind and try to execute it. It’s very rewarding to watch the disc fly in hopes of a perfect shot that ends in the basket,” he said.
“I’m very competitive. I enjoy the competitive aspect of disc golf as well and playing in disc golf tournaments is a great outlet for that. Disc golf has also been a great way to meet people such as when I moved from East Bend to Greensboro for school. I met my doubles partner, James Hopkins, through the Gate City Disc Golf Club at a local event.”
At the US Amateur Disc Golf Championship, Shindledecker and his doubles partner were competing with disc golfers from all across the country, making the win something of which he is extremely proud.
“I’m very proud of winning the USDGC Doubles with James. It was probably the biggest tournament I’ve ever played in especially considering how many different states were represented,” said Shindledecker. “I think there were teams representing just under 20 states and more than 50 teams total. I’ve been getting congratulations from people at every tournament I’ve played since then from people I only barely know. It was very rewarding to win after playing a great tournament and feeling happy with how I played throughout the entire tournament.”
Shindledecker said he enjoys introducing newcomers to the game as well.
“I love getting new people involved in the sport. I always recommend using slower, lightweight discs such as putters and midranges for beginners and teaching them to throw smooth and flat. I also try to encourage beginners to learn how to throw a backhand first. A regular ultimate style Frisbee will work for someone’s first time, but buying some lightweight beginner-friendly discs and playing a shorter course will make everyone’s first time out a lot more fun,” he said.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.