Casey Hanemayer, a professional disc golfer from Cranbrook, B.C., has had a lot of success so far this season, including winning the Edmonton Open one weekend and then the BC Open the next.
“I think my game has just been more consistent, just super solid,” Hanemayer said. “I haven’t really done anything special I think I’m more just focusing on controlling my shots and doing the safe shots.
“It’s been really good and the consistency part I think has showed up this year. After Edmonton Open I had a little more confidence obviously and then I just kind of took that into the BC Open and it showed.”
Hanemayer’s solid play saw him take down both these events in fairly resounding fashion, coming ahead at the Edmonton Open by eight shots in a Mixed Pro Open (MPO) field of 48 players and by five shots in a field of 65 at the BC Open.
Over this past off season in the winter, Hanemayer said he didn’t do anything special to prepare himself for the 2023 season.
“I helped with the putting league here in Cranbrook and obviously that helps a lot, just keeps you a little more fresh for the upcoming season,” he said. “Other than that I really didn’t do anything else, I just do my resistance training and a little bit of strength training here and there and cardio here and there. Worked all winter and then just started playing again.”
He said there’s always a little rust to shake off at the start of the season, but fortunately Andre Lodder, who started disc golf media company Parked Pro, started the Rusty Ratings series: a string of events at various courses in the Kootenays right at the beginning of the season.
Hanemayer took down three of these and finished second at another, just one shot back from fellow Cranbrook disc golfer Ben Loggains. The two have a lot of history, with Loggains helping show Hanemayer the ropes when he was just starting out, and the two of them duking it out at the prestigious Falcons Flight in 2021, with Loggains coming ahead at that one by a shot.
Following these four events, Hanemayer took third at the Tournament Capital Open, an A-Tier event in Kamloops, and then first at the Spring Runoff in Lethbridge and then got a second-place finish at the Foxwood Open in Baden, Ont.
After two more top ten finishes in Fernie and Sandpoint, Idaho, Hanemayer competed in a Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) silver series event in Missoula, Montanna.
The event was called off due to inclement weather, which was unfortunate as Hanemayer was within striking distance of the lead and had just put his drive under the target on the first hole when the whistle blew, ending the tournament after two rounds.
Hanemayer finished in thirteenth place, two shots out of the top ten in a field full of some of the world’s best players.
“Why I excel there so much I think, is because it’s very similar to our home courses we have here in Cranbrook, Hanemayer said. “I went down there and I felt comfortable and played my game, super consistent, made my putts. I think a lot of guys on the Pro Tour don’t play at elevation like that, mostly everything is at sea level.”
With his home courses in Cranbrook at such high elevation, Hanemayer is used to how the lower air pressure effects the flights of the discs. Essentially at sea level where there’s more resistance in the air, it’s easier to turn your disc over, or make it go to the right, whereas higher up you can throw a disc the same way and it will stay flat and hold its angle longer.
He said in his first trips down to play events at sea level he struggled with the adjustment as he didn’t know what to expect.
“I’ve been playing for nine years now, so I have more experience playing at sea level, and it showed at the BC Open,” he said. “I know what my discs are going to do now, they change a couple of degrees or so on their flight, so I figured it out and I think from now on I can’t use that as an excuse. I definitely did before because I just wasn’t prepared for it but now I think I’ve got ahold of it.”
In his nine years of playing high-level disc golf, Hanemayer has witnessed a lot of change and growth in the sport. Events are getting bigger, with bigger player counts and purses.
The BC Open, for example, had nearly 600 players signed up across all the available divisions.
“I think every year there’s going to be more money because businesses are going to see that you can get money out of sponsoring an event,” he said. “I hope it only gets bigger and that’s the thing with Cranbrook, I want to see that happen in Cranbrook, I want bigger things to happen, I want more people to sponsor the events and I think that’s happening.”
He referenced Cranbrook’s Encore Brewing stepping up as sponsor’s of this year’s Kootenay Up and Down tournament as an example. He also gave a shoutout to Calvin de Haan of Gander Disc Golf for putting on the Edmonton Open.
“He really, really does a good job of showing support to the athletes, everybody, amateurs and pro, it’s really fun to see that,” Hanemayer said. “And anybody who wants to see an event run well should definitely come to Edmonton Open.”
Hanemayer will look to keep to his gameplan as the season carries on. Next up he will head to Thunder Bay, Ont. for the Canadian National Championships, which he took third in last year. He also is scheduled to play the BC Doubles in Mission, B.C., the Deerborne Gutshot in Elkford, an A-Tier event in Saskatchewan, B.C. Provincials in Wells Gray and then the United States Disc Golf Championship, one of disc golf’s major championships.
He has played in this event twice, most recently in 2021 when he finished 91 out of a field of 99 of the game’s top players.
“I have the experience now of playing at sea level, I’ve played that tournament twice now and I’m looking for redemption this year for sure, I want to play my game and just focus. I haven’t really been super focused when I’ve went down there, just been caught up in all the production of how big everything is at that tournament, so hoping this year I play a bit more solid.”
Hanemayer said he is grateful for the continued support of his sponsors Prodigy Disc Golf and Gander Disc Golf.