| Lauren DeLuca

Partners in Pride: How Throw Pink is bringing disc golf to underrepresented communities

This year’s Pride Collection is a collaboration between Savage and some of our partners that also care deeply about LGBTQIA+ rights. We called this effort “Partners in Pride,” because the focus is on working together to spread awareness, raise funds, and increase visibility and inclusivity in sports.

We’ve worked with each one of our partners to create unique Pride jerseys that they can promote to their followers in the hopes that we can increase exposure to the cause. We will also be running a series of blog posts highlighting how each of these organizations works to support the LGBTQIA+ community. 

First up, we spoke with Sara Nicholson, co-founder of Throw Pink, about using sports to advocate for women’s health and their mission to grow the sport and make disc golf more accessible and inclusive across all genders, ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 


How did you get into playing disc golf? What drew you to the sport?

Sara Nicholson: I was first introduced to disc golf by my brother. I learned to play during my summers working out in Yellowstone National Park.

My family is very competitive. We love playing games. From baseball to board games — anything with a score. What hooked me about disc golf right away is that you can play by yourself, with a group, just for fun, or in an organized competition. I love being outdoors. Disc golf combines my love for sports and nature into one beautiful and fun activity.

 Throw Pink Women's Disc Golf Charity Tournament Event

 

What inspired you to use disc golf as a way to build awareness and help fight cancer?

SN: My Grandmother had breast cancer when I was born. My parents named me after her. Cancer has always been a conversation in my family. When I ran my first women's event in 2011, I paired it with a local breast cancer charity. I was overwhelmed with the amount of support the charity received from the disc golf women. Throw Pink was born out of that event. Being able to combine something that you love with something that makes an impact is an amazing feeling. Since that first event, Throw Pink has evolved to focus on all aspects of women's health initiatives.

 

How have you and Throw Pink been involved with the LGBTQIA+ community? Why is this important to the organization? Why is this important to you? How do you hope to grow your involvement in the future?  

SN: I have always personally been an advocate and supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our partnership with Savage is Throw Pink's first initiative specifically geared toward the community. We hope this is only the beginning of our outreach and support. 

Disc golf has the potential to provide fulfillment, growth, fun, and health to people of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities. Disc golf can be played successfully by all ages and skill levels. Most disc golf courses are free, and you only need one disc to play. It is truly one of the most inclusive and accessible sports. 
At Throw Pink, we try to be intentional about engaging new players. Since our inception, our volunteers have hosted 72 events with 3,451 participants in 21 states, and three countries. This is just the beginning. Our goal is to be in every city, state, and country on the planet to give more women and girls access to the growth experienced through sports and outdoor recreation. Lofty, I know, but I'm only 42, I have at least another 40 good years to make this happen. 
We pair our events with local charities — raising money and introducing disc golf to their communities. We look forward to using this same model to introduce disc golf to more members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

Partners in Pride Throw Pink Rainbow Disc Golf Jersey  

 

What’s unique about being a woman or queer athlete in disc golf? How do you think the LBGTQIA+ community in disc golf compares to other sports? 

SN: Women make up a small percentage of disc golfers, specifically competitive disc golfers. It's powerful how the women, and many of the men as well in the disc golf community, work together to grow women's participation in the sport.  

While the LGBTQIA+ community also makes up a smaller portion of the disc golf community as a whole, there are powerful queer voices amongst athletes, ambassadors, and members of the PDGA governing board looking to expand LGBTQIA+ involvement. We look forward to continuing to be a part of this.

 

 Throw Pink Women's Disc Golf Charity Tournament Event

 

Why is getting more women involved in disc golf so important? What are some of Throw Pink’s initiatives and programs designed to get more women interested in the sport?

SN: In addition to my work with Throw Pink, I also serve on the PDGA Women's Committee and the World Flying Disc Federation's (WFDF) disc golf committee and Women in Sport Commission. WFDF is putting in the work right now on some initiatives for gender equity in flying disc sports. I'm excited to be part of the conversation.

Giving more women and girls opportunities to participate in sports and outdoor recreation through the game of disc golf is my life's work. Sports provide essential health and developmental components (self-esteem and confidence) that many girls are missing out on due to the lack of programs and resources in their communities.

It's not just about the competition side of things, disc golf is fun to just play, and it's a great way to get exercise without even realizing you’re exercising. I would love to see more women out on the course.

Our fun clinics provide an environment in which all who participate can feel safe and welcome. This helps encourage new players to the game. We also work with youth initiatives, start them young. Our Throw Pink team was formed to promote more women's leadership in the sport by supporting and training more women to be event directors in their communities. If women see other women doing it, they'll be more encouraged to try it.

 

What are your thoughts on getting the LGBTQIA+ and POC communities more involved with playing disc golf? What initiatives does Throw Pink take to foster inclusivity and diversity?  

SN: Disc golf is for everyone. I would love to see the demographic that plays disc golf to be a better representation of the human beings on the planet.

At Throw Pink, we try to create a fun and safe atmosphere for new people to experience and learn the game of disc golf. We host a variety of different events in the hopes of finding a format that appeals to everyone. 


How can other organizations help bring disc golf to a more diverse community? 

SN: Reach out to us. We can help you bring disc golf to your community.

 

What are your hopes for the future of the sport?

SN: Positive growth. More people from all walks of life playing. More communities getting behind the fun outdoor recreation that disc golf provides.

 

Shop the Throw Pink Pride Jersey and the rest of our Partners in Pride Collection. A portion of all sales will be donated to the Center for Black Equity and Side by Side.