When many of us want to get away from the 9-to-5 world, we head for the golf course.
But Cam Davis, who came into his own last week as a member of the International Presidents Cup team, plays golf for a living. So how does he escape from the job?
Well, Davis plays disc golf, which he discovered several years ago after missing the cut at a Korn Ferry Tour event. There was a course on the property, and he decided to try his hand at the game.
It wasn’t until late last year, though, that Davis, who posted a 2-3-0 record in his Presidents Cup debut at Quail Hollow, really got more serious at his new-found hobby. He and his caddie Andrew Tschudin each bought a set of discs and play frequently when on the road.
“I was looking for a hobby to get me out of the hotel room when I have those long afternoons or long mornings off the golf course and don’t have anything else to do,” Davis says.
“And it just kind of grew out of that to find a local course each place we go. It’s just a nice outdoor activity that is relaxing and fun and something that I’m not trying to get like to a professional stand with, obviously go out and enjoy it.
Davis had just finished a game with his caddie after a pro-am round at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina when he did the interview for this story. The 27-year-old Australian likes the camaraderie of his new-found hobby.
“I guess disc golf to me is what regular golf is to most other people,” the Sydney native said. “It’s just a fun way to get out and enjoy some time with some buddies, and it’s pretty quick, too.”
Davis learned some of the nuances of disc golf by watching – what else — YouTube. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 90,000 active members of the Professional Disc Golfers Association worldwide and the game is played in more than three dozen countries.
The discs are similar to Frisbees, Davis says, only smaller and more streamlined. Some fly straight while others curve more. Some are for distance. Others work better at close range.
“So, it works kind of similar to golf in that way,” Davis says. “I think it correlates a little bit to golf but at the same time It’s different enough, so it doesn’t feel like work.”
When the modern game of disc golf was first played in the 1960s the targets were often trees and trash cans. Now the discs are tossed at baskets made of chains and there are generally nine or 18 on a course. There are more than 10,000 courses in the world with 75 percent of them located in the United States.
“If it hits the chains, it’ll generally drop down into a basket,” Davis says. “… And it makes a noise, too, so if you throw it in from the distance, you can tell it’s gone in at the same time.”
Davis, who won the 2921 Rocket Mortgage Classic in a five-hole playoff, says it’s important to get the distance part down first. Then a player can learn to work the disc in different directions – which is important since you often have to navigate around, and through, trees.
“Once you can throw it far enough, you can play around with curving it either way,” Davis explains. “It gives you more of an opportunity to kind of play a course. Whereas when you’re just learning, it feels like every throw you’re trying to throw as hard as you can, rather than trying to actually do something productive with it.”
Davis has an app on his phone that tells him where the courses are and allows him to keep score if he wants. He says he’s not really trying to be competitive with anyone but himself – he just wants to have fun with the game and clear his head.
“I like it to see if I can get a little bit better at it,” Davis says. “… It’s just a little enjoyment, just trying to beat my best score and just go around and treat it like I treated golf when I was an amateur to really just have a bit of fun enjoying doing creative stuff and nothing really on the line.”
Davis doesn’t know what his disc golf handicap would be but he occasionally shoots under par, adding that “it’s nice to get a birdie every now and then.” He says he sometimes sees caddies and PGA TOUR staff on the course when he plays.
The best part, though, is not sitting in a hotel room twiddling his thumbs.