Uplay Disc Golf recently held its first-ever European teaching events in Netherlands and Northern Ireland. On March 11th, Uplay held its first event in Zoetermeer, Netherlands, at the local disc golf course. Zoe AnDyke and Dustin Keegan represented Uplay and taught an in-depth driving and putting clinic to 26 adults.
The event attracted participants from four different countries, highlighting the growing interest in disc golf in the area. Despite being a location that is rarely visited by touring professionals, the number of people regularly playing disc golf suggests that the sport is primed to take off in this region. The clinic provided valuable instruction to attendees and helped to further establish disc golf in the Netherlands.
Our next two teaching events on March 15th and 16th are in Northern Ireland and were coordinated and planned in conjunction with Chris Millar, our amazing host, and the All Ireland Disc Golf Club. Uplay’s basic programs were taught to the local Northern Ireland school districts, with our first event taking place at St. Patrick's Primary School in the rustic town of Portrush. Despite the cold, windy, and stormy weather, the students and teachers were enthusiastic about their day of disc golf. We taught two classes of primary students (grades 3-7) the basics of putting and driving. Out of many highlights, one that touched all of our hearts was seeing the entire class root, help, and cheer for a special needs girl who was giving it her all and having the time of her life. Another incredible moment occurred when all three teachers tried their hand at throwing, resulting in back-to-back throw-ins and absolute mayhem.
We were fortunate to have the assistance of two local coaches, Dan and David, from the All Ireland Disc Golf Club, Canadian course designer Ben Smith, and Ben's wife Jenn Houghtaling, who documented the day. Together, we were able to teach 46 students about the sport of disc golf and gifted the school our Uplay Basics Curriculum and 15 starter packs of discs.
The following day, we headed to Chris's hometown of Coleraine to teach three different 45-minute classes to grades 5-7 at The Irish Society's Primary School. With over 40 students in each class, we had to do the entire lesson inside the gym. However, we still managed to have many successful moments during putting and driving, with one 5th-grade boy even making a hole-in-one, earning himself a disc to take home.
In total, we taught 138 students during a busy couple of hours of instruction. Being able to teach at Chris's son's school allowed us to have Chris as a guest instructor and provided us with access to the school principal, who was impressed with what he witnessed during PE. He graciously accepted his copy of the Uplay Basics Curriculum and his 15 starter packs for the school.
What made this teaching event unique was the coaches' certification class held during the week for local disc golf members interested in continuing to teach the Uplay way. Eleven adults participated and were able to pass the class, enabling them to assist Chris in spreading the gift of disc golf information all over the country.
Overall, we had an incredible experience teaching in Northern Ireland and are grateful for the opportunity to spread the love of disc golf.