Adventures in Stockholm

Adventures in Stockholm

Over the last seven years I have been traveling to the European sub-continent of Scandinavia. It is always interesting visiting another country that shares the love for Disc Golf and see how they develop. The growth that I have seen since I first visited has been simply amazing, and next to none around the world.

This year’s European Major was held in beautiful Stockholm at Järva Disc Golf Park. Järva has been one of my favorite courses to play over the years. It’s large fairways and challenging greens live up to the tournament’s motto “Easy to Love, Hard to Win.” There is a certain style to European design, with difficult angles, that always have been challenging for me, despite the fact that I like the holes. This year was no different, as the course was set up very difficult with most of the greatest players in the world in attendance.

The trip itself started on a very weird and expensive foot and Val and I. With a few time delays on subways through New York City, we ended up missing our flight to Stockholm out of JFK. They stopped checking international baggage at 60 minutes before the flight, and we missed the cutoff by 2 minutes. This mishap cost us $700 to reschedule our flights, a day of practice, and recoup from jetlag. The next day we were certain to not miss our flight and everything was right on schedule. With a short layover in Amsterdam we landed in Stockholm (only about the 30 hours later than initially planned).

With that little mistake behind us, we were happy to finally make it. Our good friend, Victor Nyhuus picked us up from the airport and then took us out to the course that rainy afternoon. The course had a changed layout but it was still as beautiful and challenging as we remembered. They had done an immaculate job of preparing the course regardless of the rainy weather they had been having. After the practice round, the main challenge was to fight off the jet lag, which was beginning to set in quickly after our long day. The key is to condition yourself to the current time zone by not completely throwing your body clock off when the tournament comes. We decided to head downtown for dinner instead of hanging back at the hotel and possibly “resting our eyes” for a couple minutes. And I’m glad we made it downtown. We found a great vegetarian buffet, Herman’s, overlooking the Stockholm harbor. The atmosphere was awesome and the view was spectacular but once our stomachs were full we were ready for bed. We had a busy day ahead of us to prepare for.


First, Val and I played an early practice round with our Finnish friend, Toni Asikainen, then straight back to the hotel and into taxi headed to the Swedish National Sport Complex. A friend, disc golfer and world distance record holder, Christian Sandström, invited Val, Avery and I to take part in a Disc Golf biomechanics study. The data would help to discover the best ways to throw and injury prevention. We suited up in sensors and threw anhyzers, flat shots, hyzers and side arms to gather as much data as possible. It was such a fun experience to be a part of and I just want to thank “The Storm” (as we call him) for including us in a great study. Watch the video for the full experience.


The study took about six hours, which meant we had to rush to the players meeting downtown. Once the players meeting was over it was a final taxi back to the hotel and almost directly to bed.

The next day was the start of the tournament. I felt I was ready to play but with the tight schedule I didn’t feel completely confident with my game plan. Never the less, it was game time. I ended up shooting a 58 that put me 3 strokes behind leader Will Schusterick. It was a good round with good shots, but still never felt comfortable on course.  With that being said, I was happy to only be three strokes back of the lead.

 Day 2 brought us some, high a swirly winds making a challenging course even more difficult.  Almost our entire group, the lead group, was frustrated except lefty Devan Owens, who was playing with great confidence and purpose. I was feeling even more unconfident as I was making changes for the wind and it wouldn’t react as I expected. With the blink of an eye, we had three holes left, and my chances to recover my round were dwindling. Will and I tied for the round. I was happy to not lose any ground to the first round leader but was disappointed I didn’t make any up either.

hole 1 jarva

As Day 3 came, I felt that if I was going to have a chance to win I needed to make a move and not let the course get the best of me. I committed to a more intense warm-up and made sure I was ready to play.  Through the first three holes I was struggling a bit to make my move, and was last to tee on hole 4. The 4th hole was a 260ft Par 2, that’s right a Par 2. The tournament staff must have felt the hole was too easy for the field, but it really was not a “gimmie”. The basket was on a mound with two guardian trees you had to go around or through. I took the direct route and to my extreme surprise it went in. I got an ACE!! We all laughed at the fact that I was the only one to “birdie” the hole since it was a Par 2. It had been years since my last ace so I was excited to finally get that monkey of my back. The rest of the round felt a little easier as that ace gave me the confidence I had been lacking. I felt more focused to hit my lines off the tee and make the crucial putts. When the round was over I was happy with my play. I ended up scoring a 54, which was only outshined by Will at an incredible 52.

Will was leading going into the final round; I was in second (5 back) with a group of great players 2 strokes behind me. The final day at a Major always has a different feeling; you can feel the pressure in the air with players knowing it is their last chance to achieve the greatness that could come from an amazing final round.

For me the final round was a huge let down. I was ready to make my move and battle for the win, but I let the wind confuse me yet again. I found myself not judging the wind right all day and it ultimately cost me a chance at the title. I will say though, Will played great all weekend and truly deserved the title. When the chips fell, I ended up finishing in forth. I focused on finding all the positives in the week and am trying to mentally prepare myself for Worlds, the next tournament for us.

Finally, the tournament was over and it was time to have a little fun with friends in downtown Stockholm. We met up with some friends from Finland and Australia, in search of a place to watch the soccer game, Spain vs. Italy We wandered around trying to find a bar, but they were all packed and the town was buzzing. By the time the game was over, we were directed to one of Stockholm’s great nightclubs, F12. It was a cool place simple made up of an outside staircase of this 100 year old building and two patios. Like most popular nightclubs, the place was packed, the drinks were expensive, and the house music was blaring. We had a great time as we took in the atmosphere and enjoyed being in Sweden with friends. The sun was nice at bright at 3am and it was time to finally cram in a cab and head home.

f12 nightclub

Monday was our final day in Sweden so Avery, Val and I did some sightseeing around Stockholm. The city is truly beautiful and it was just fun to walk around and check out the old buildings. Our main goal was to make the Vasa Museum, which was home to quite possibly Sweden’s biggest failure. The Vasa Museum is home to a giant war ship from the 1600’s that sank literally minutes into its maiden voyage. In the 1950’s it was resurrected and rebuilt with all its intricate details. The museum is a great visit if you’re ever in Stockholm.

vasa museum

I must say that each time we head over the pond a new experience is seemingly always on its way, and this year was no different. I want to thank everything from Stockholm who showed us such great hospitality we really appreciate it. They should be very proud of their event; we had a great time playing in it.

But, it’s nice to be back home, and with the Worlds on the horizon, my excitement is building every single day. Charlotte here we come!