SUDBURY, Ontario — In the past two years, the sport of disc golf has exploded globally, primarily because it is an outdoor sport that can be enjoyed safely during Covid. Disc golf is also a very low-cost sport, it’s a very fun way to get outside and get some exercise year round, and with the rise in popularity, a lot more money is being injected into the sport, signaling to youngsters that disc golf could be a viable career path.
One of the top disc golfers (and the top female) in Sudbury is Alicia Hums. She is 28 years old, and not only is she a fierce competitor (especially with herself), she is also a passionate ambassador and builder of the sport, and advocate for women in disc golf. She is on the Development Committee for a new course being planned in Copper Cliff, and she just helped launch a new putting league at Kivi Park.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know, play, and travel with Alicia since I started playing disc golf three years ago, and I’m excited that you will get to know a little bit about her through this Q and A. If you want to see more of what Alicia has going on and follow along on her journey to the top of Ontario disc golf (and beyond, you can follow her on Instagram at @aliciahums).
Q&A with Alicia Hums
What are your personal goals within your sport/athletic dreams?
Alicia Hums: After playing disc golf recreationally for two and a half years, I was excited to enter the tournament scene last summer. As a fairly new player on the touring circuit in the FPO (Female Professional Open) division, my short term goal is to walk away with a win this season. I’ve spent the off-season training on the course and in my living room daily, and I’m really hoping to throw consistent rounds with clean score cards (bogey free)! It has been my mission to improve my overall form and technique to help make this happen. I am hoping to play at the Northern Ontario Championships this summer, with my eyes also set on Provincials. I’m looking forward to the results I can post there with clean rounds and good decisions on the course.
What is your biggest challenge in your sport, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
Hums: I would say that putting and consistency are my two biggest challenges. I have been tackling both of these this winter. Disc golf has taken over my living room with both a putting basket and a driving net. I have been completing daily practice in the house to improve my putting and driving form. Both putting and consistency ultimately comes down to implementing what I have been practicing ,and remembering to relax out on the course. Deep breathing, pausing, and taking your time is important. Tense putts and rushed drives are never good. I love the sport and keeping a positive outlook while in a round can save so many strokes!
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Hums: This is hard to narrow down. Disc golf advice includes: summer tournaments you must apply your sunscreen before leaving the house; always have fuel (food) with you as mid game lows hurt your game; always have at least two towels to dry off your discs; never rush a throw, you have time; and emulate a professional when practicing your form, they know what they’re doing! Life advice (to live by): good things come to those that work for it. This is how I have seen the results I have in disc golf; I am always working on something.
What do you love about your sport?
Hums: Everything! The disc golf community is amazing and so welcoming! I have received helpful advice from so many (hence the long list of best advice ever given). If you ever lose a disc on the course (yes, this happens) you’re almost always fortunate enough to receive a text within a day from someone who found it and is happy to return it to you. But there are so many things to love about the game! Low accessible entry points and a high ceiling. Nearly anyone can grab a disc and access a course (most are free to play)! Once you have a few discs you love (most starter packs include a putter, mid-range and driver), the sky is the limit. There are professionals making millions of dollars to play the game and tournaments filling up with players of all skill levels and ages. The longevity of the game (catch me on the course in fifty years) and the challenge are an added bonus. That’s what keeps so many of us coming back; knowing we can do better, or have done better, or can take a different line or use a different disc all in the name of scoring below par.
Do you have a pregame ritual you follow?
Hums: Yes! I have this bizarre ritual of ‘organizing’ my bag at the car in the parking lot for 5 minutes before even heading to the first tee pad. I leave the house knowing I have everything, but I must make sure I am well equipped before jumping onto a tee. In the summer, I don’t put my shoes on until I am at the course and in the winter my hand warmers are not in my mittens until I arrive. Left mitt followed by right. This really serves to shake any nerves I may have. From there I’m hitting a tee pad to loosen up with some throws (putter, mid, then driver, in that order) and then making my way to a basket for putting. Pre-throw rituals involve two deep breaths before beginning my approach.
What do you like to do outside of your sport?
Hums: There are things to do outside of disc golf? I joke that I am a full-time teacher and an even more full-time athlete, as I arguably spend just as much time in my career as I do with the sport. When not focusing on my career, playing at the course, or practicing in my house you can also find me working out, lifting weights, riding the stationary bike, or going for a run. I am also involved with a group of fellow golfers working on growing the sport of disc golf in the community, and I strongly believe our community would benefit from an additional venue or two (we’re working on it!). After teaching, disc golfing, and working to grow the sport locally, I am always up for a quiet night watching movies with my husband Tom, or playing board games with friends.
What has being a member of a team taught you?
Hums: This season I am thrilled to be a part of Team C1D. Playing a solo sport supported by a group of like-minded individuals has been key to making improvements and changes, as we are all on the same process. My involvement in previous team sports has made the transition into the disc golf community flawless. Even though disc golf is a solo sport, we are really competing against our own scores and abilities, so providing the support you would receive from a teammate is easy (and helps build the comradery that the sport is build on.
What is the best piece of advice you received from a coach or mentor?
Hums: Not so much advice, but rather a mantra one of my rugby coaches always used to say was: “Just another day at the office.” Nerves are real at tournaments and on the course. I use this one to stay calm and collected and avoid the terrible tournament putts where even a ten-foot putt feels impossible.
Describe a mistake you made while competing and how you overcame it.
Hums: I am competitive and this means I get greedy on the course. Sometimes I want to throw the big, long drive for birdie, knowing full well that the miss and the rough are unforgiving. If the low percentage shot works, it will be highlight worthy, but if it’s a miss, it’s usually a disaster. My first tournament had a lot of disasters and no highlight reels. When I am standing on the tee, I have to go through the high percentage shot and choose the disc that will keep me on the fairway. I’d say I am still overcoming this.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Hums: The sport is young and growing, but also male dominated. I am not only excited about growing the sport in general but also the growth of female participants in the community. I am one of only a few females involved in our community currently, and I am hoping to help that grow! But I am also proud to have made Sudbury Disc Golf history as the first ever female to win the #1 tag during our league rounds! I encourage everyone to make their way to the course. When you see me, I’ll gladly chat about the game.
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