Shawn Cafferty is an Idaho disc golfer who enjoys playing disc golf, but moves the sport along in his region by running leagues and tournaments. The Grove Classic, which he is directing, is coming soon on May 8th! Here is an interview we had with Shawn.
Hometown: Shelley, Idaho
Mook: Let’s start at the beginning. When and where was the first time you played disc golf? What can you share about that experience? Do you remember the first disc you threw?
Shawn: My first real experience with disc golf was back around 2012. I was going back to school for my MBA and my wife’s sister was living with us while she was studying to be a P.A. She was a recreational disc golfer and decided to invite us out for a round one day. We played the Blackfoot Disc Golf Course with the older white domey original baskets. I had no clue what I was doing, know I enjoyed ultimate in college, and soon found out it was nothing like it. My first disc was a blue DX Shark (it is handing on my wall today!) I remember we also bought a Viper and a Valkyrie. After about 5 holes my wife made me stop throwing “the blue one” (DX Shark) because I was throwing it further than the other two. Little did I know that should have been a solid lesson on which discs to buy! Time travel a few years to when I wanted to actually get into Disc Golf, I went out and bought a disc that was going to let me throw a mile!! A champ Katana (First ace disc, also on wall 😊). To my surprise, throwing it did not go well… surprise surprise.
Mook: What influence has disc golf had on your life since then?
Shawn: Disc Golf has been such a positive influence on my life! In 2015 (around the time I started to take disc golf seriously) I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and the Dr. told me I had to eliminate contact sports. I played a ton of soccer at the time and was super depressed on having to give it up. In came disc golf! It gave me the challenge of always continuing to strive to get better and introduced a whole new world of friends and events for me to spend my time. A large majority of my closest friends are related to disc golf, and I am very grateful for that. Disc golf has also made a huge impact on my health. Pain management has been a challenge for me, and disc golf has been an amazing find for me to continue to stay active and enjoy something that lets me forget about other worries life brings ( I can worry about how bad I putt instead!).
Mook: What’s in your bag? Why? What is your bag or cart or both?
Shawn: As most “new” disc golfers will state, my bag is always changing it seems, always wanting to try the new molds, find that “one” disc that will rule them all… Actually, the start of this season (season #3 of full commitment to Disc Golf) I have been really dialing in my bag with less molds and better disc choices for my skill level. In a nutshell, my cart is as follows(I use original Zuca Cart modified with Solider bag on top and PVC rack on bottom. Some would say I carry a lot of discs, but I like it because no matter the course I come to, I have what I need without having to swap discs out of the bag.
- Deputy – Classic Blend x2
- Maiden – Origio
- Suspect - Lucid
- Harp – Fuzion, Lucid (harp, harp, harpidee, harp.)
- Mid Ranges
- eMac Truths – Fuzion, Lucid, Moonshine, Prime
- Verdicts – Biofuzion, Lucid
- Anvil – Fuzion
- Escapes – Moonshine, Lucid, Hybrid
- Mavericks – Fuzion, Lucid, Lucid X
- Convict – Lucid
- Longbowman – VIP
- Trespass – Prime, Moonshine, Lucid, Biofuzion
- Defender – Fuzion, Biofuzion
- Stiletto – Opto
- Hatchett - VIP
Mook: What is one of your favorite disc golf memories?
Shawn: 2017 Utah Open Final Round. Being able to not only drive down and watch pros play for the first time (man they throw far…) I was able to watch a very good battle between Josh Anthon and Ricky Wysocki all the way to the 18th hole. I got a great spot pretty much right next to the basket and watched Ricky Dunk his harp for the Ace. It was a pretty awesome experience all around, plus I got to enjoy it with one of my closest Disc Golf Buddies, Torson Kramer!
Mook: Yeah, I remember that clearly. I was standing right behind Ricky when he threw it. I'm the guy in the bright green shirt in the video!!
What are some of your favorite courses/holes? What courses are on your bucket list?
Shawn: By far my favorite Disc Golf location is Farragut State Park in North Idaho. It is truly a disc golf meca with 4 courses right off one parking lot, and a 5th being installed or just finished now. The courses are significantly different than anything we have around here, and award precision more than just pure distance throwing. Which I believe levels the playing field between divisions some.
Top Courses on my bucket list would be Idlewild, Emporia, KS (all of them expect Opie), and a full round at DeLa (I got to play a few holes when I passed through Santa Cruz).
Mook: Who is your favorite pro? Why?
Shawn: The sponsor of the Disc Golf Pro’s seems to have an influence on who my favorite pro is, as I debated this question for some time. I would have to say my Favorite Pro is Nate Sexton. Seems to be a Stand up guy on and off the course, has great temperament while playing. I was super excited to see him win USDGC.
Mook: What does your family think of your involvement in disc golf?
Shawn: My wife thinks I get a little too excited for Disc Golf sometimes, and as usual, wives are normally correct. It has been an interesting juggling act as I have increased my involvement in Disc Golf ten-fold this past year. From designing and installing a new course, taking over the local league scene, to establishing and prepping to run my first tournament, I choose to allocate all free time and energy I find towards disc golf. Family comes first and I sometimes neglect that “motto”, and my wife gently reminds me of it. But, don’t get me wrong, she is super supportive of my interest in disc golf, comes out and plays with me from time to time, and we enjoy our “walks” in the park. The definition of “family” is about to change for me in a great way, with the addition of my son to be born in July, it will be interesting to see how disc golf fits into my new priorities.
Mook: Wow! Congratulatons! Your help in re-installing and re-designing the Jensen's Grove course and heading up the Freeman Park League (that was my baby in the beginning) is a huge part of why you are on Team Lucky.
What are some of your hobbies and/or employment outside of disc golf?
Shawn: I am an active National Ski Patroller that focuses primarily on Nordic and Backcountry skiing. I live in East Idaho where when the snow comes, it does not go away for a while, so having a winter hobby is super important to keep you moving and get you out of the house.
I am the Energy Coordinator, State of Idaho/Rural Business Specialist for the US Dept. of Agriculture. (My office is right next to an 18 hole course, lunches in the summer are spent outside!). I love my job and enjoy the opportunity of getting to go to work every day.
Mook: What is your biggest pet peeve, on or off the course?
Shawn: Honestly, this one is both on and off the course, and I always try to explain I don’t hate the person, I hate the act. Smoking… It’s ridiculously bad for you, stupidly expensive, and straight up annoying to be around. I understand the addiction aspect to it, but I actively go out of my way to not be around or play with individuals who smoke. Plus the littering aspect is just down right disrespectful… As a perception driven sport that disc golf is, going to a course and seeing cigarette butts everywhere is depressing. If you have to smoke, that’s fine, at least have the self-respect to clean up after yourself!
Mook: What are you most excited about doing this year?
Shawn: Oh Baby! Running my first ever legit Disc Golf Tournament! I have chosen to structure it somewhat different than the typical event in that I am not sanctioning the event, molding it around USDGC (stroke + Distance hole), and allowing players of all division the opportunity to either get CASH or a premium amount of Lucky Bucks (Thanks to the generous support of Lucky Disc Golf!) Also, becoming a father is pretty high up there as well, but I was guessing that question was related to disc golf!
Mook: How has being a member of Team Lucky influenced you so far?
Shawn: Thus far, it has been fantastic! I was super excited to be selected for representing Team Lucky Disc Golf! I have been trying hard to utilize it as influence to the disc golf community around me. I have been rather disappointed with the initiative and involvement of some of the seasoned members of the clubs in my area and becoming a member of Team Lucky has helped me influence those around me to become more active within their disc golf communities. I get some blunt comments stating, “why are you sponsored, your not even good” and I have an excellent response for these statements. True I may not be an open player, but that’s not what makes you a good sponsored candidate. I attribute being active and involved in growing the sport as the best ways you can become sponsored. Encouraging those around me to take initiative to run events, help run leagues, put in leg work on fund raising for new courses, etc. as more important aspects of your disc golf game than your score at the end of a round.
Lastly, Thanks to Lucky Disc Golf for showing confidence in me and supporting my first year as a sponsored played! I’m off to play in my first big event of the year, The Treasure Valley Classic in Boise, ID in the INT division. I’m hoping that all my offseason work on my game helps me become competitive in the INT field.