Top Pros On Upstate Frolfer – Sarah Stanhope
You know, back in olden times, right when Otis’ goatee had just started to gray, professional athletes had real jobs in the off season. And even the really legendary players, like Greenville’s Shoeless Joe Jackson, had second lives.
Joe sold booze.
So, with disc golf still in its infancy, even the very best players have real jobs in the real world. Which is a shame. I’d like to aim for frolfing all the time. Hell, I’d be happy as the Crash Davis of minor league frolf. I don’t want money. I just want to play.
But I digress.
Sarah Stanhope is one of the best women in the world of disc golf. She once shot a round of 43 at Timmons Park during the Upstate Classic. She’s finished in first in 7 womens open events this year, 12 last year, 7 in 2007, and 3 times the year before that.
And very, very good.
She’s also a high school science teacher in Easley, SC.
So, as Sarah heads off to Iowa this week to represent the Upstate in the U.S. Women’s Disc Golf Championships, she agreed to an interview with UPSTATE FROLFER.
UPSTATE FROLFER : How long have you been playing?
SARAH STANHOPE : About 5 years.
UF : Did you know a lot of other women who played when you started?
SS : I started playing with my friend Jenn when I used to live in Charleston . We learned as well as we could together, but we didn’t have any experienced women to look up to. We were both pretty competitive though, and we knew that if the guys we saw playing could throw three times as far as us that we were doing something wrong and we’d have to figure it out. We both eventually developed pretty decent side arms.
UF : You’ve been very highly ranked among women in the PDGA, how tough is the competition and has it gotten tougher as the sport has grown?
SS : The competition gets stronger every year, but we still need a LOT more women! There are only three pro women in South Carolina.
UF : Are there different discs or techniques that work better for women than men?
SS : Yes! For players who have a little less arm speed, there are two things they can do to try to get more distance. One is simply throw lighter discs. For all beginners I would recommend discs of 150 grams. The second is to throw discs that are called “understable” – meaning they don’t fade out as hard as other discs. Good understable drivers that I like are the Sidewinder, the Monarch, and the Leopard.
UF : I remember when I played my first tournament around here, there were others in my foursome that were happy to brag on you. I wonder if you’ve gotten a little bit of celebrity in the Upstate from being a disc golfer.
SS : Yeah, I’ve gotten a little publicity. My friends are all very proud and I certainly appreciate their support. Sometimes my students figure out that I am actually a “professional” disc golfer and it’s always amusing to see how taken aback they are. They can’t believe people can win money by throwing frisbees.
UF : We’ve played at the Easley course and it’s not easy. What’s your best score there? It doesn’t have to be in a tournament, we just wonder how well a Top Pro can shoot it.
SS : I’ve yet to break into the 40’s in Easley. My best round out there I believe is a 50. Although my friend Bryan Schaupp and I shot a 42 at doubles last week. That is actually one of my most proud accomplishments because we played that course to the best of our abilities and only made one mistake.
UF : Do you have a favorite Upstate course? What about nationally?
UF : You’re headed off to Iowa this weekend for the Women’s Chapionships. What can we expect from you?
SS : Last year I finished 6th, so I’d like to place higher than that. I’d really like to make the final 9 which would mean I need to finish in the top four.
UF : Since there is such a leap from, say, intermediate to Open, how did you make that leap? Is there one piece of advice for people that would help them get better?
SS : My main advice would be to learn how to throw the forehand and the backhand. Everyone seems to take naturally to one type of throw, but forcing yourself to learn both will really help your game. I started out as a forehand player, but I credit most of my success this past year to the fact that my friends forced me to develop a backhand.
UF : Where do you see disc golf in 10 years?
SS : On ESPN
Again, keep an eye on Sarah this weekend in the Championships. And keep looking for more TOP PROS on UPSTATE FROLFER!