Imagine chucking a Frisbee as hard as you can, only to have it glide more than 100 ft and land in a basket with a satisfying clink of the chains — all in a day’s work for professional disc golfer Madison Tomaino.
When she’s not tearing it up at local tournaments, she and her husband Jesse own and operate All Day Disc Golf, a shop off of Northwest Naito Parkway that offers a diverse disc selection — we could stare at that rainbow-hued wall for hours.
Read on to learn more about Madison’s experience with the sport and how strong the disc golf community is here in Portland.
Q: For those who may have no idea what disc golf even is, could you explain it?
A: It’s just like golf in that you start at the “tee” and try to finish the hole in as few shots as possible. Instead of hitting a ball with a club, we throw a disc and our target, or “hole,” is a metal basket with an array of chains to catch the disc.
Q: What do you like most about the sport?
A: So many things! The learning curve makes it easier to have enjoyable results much faster than in traditional golf. There is also more creativity involved; we have quite a few different ways to throw the disc to achieve various flight paths. Disc golf is inclusive and accessible for just about everyone. You can play and have a great time with a single $10-20 disc and most courses are free or very cheap to play.
Q: How did you get involved?
A: My husband Jesse played ball golf (that’s what disc golfers call regular golf) his whole life and a golf buddy convinced him to try disc golf in 2011 and he was instantly hooked. I started playing just to walk along with Jesse in the woods but quickly found that I had a natural aptitude for throwing discs really far.
Q: What are some of your favorite courses to play around Portland?
A: Pier Park in St. Johns is our home course but we also spend a lot of time at Milo McIver in Estacada, Blue Lake Park in Fairview, and McCormick Park in St. Helens — just to name some favorites. There are dozens of great courses within an hour of the city.
Q: How does professional disc golf work?
A: The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) is the sanctioning body for tournament disc golf. They create and update the rules as well as host a website where all tournament results are accessible. They also have developed a player rating system that provides players with a current rating that is akin to a handicap in traditional golf.
Q: Where have the competitions taken you?
A: I’ve been playing Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) events since 2019 and we have traveled as a family throughout the entire western half of the country for events. We even spent a three-month stretch in Texas when the tour shut down because of COVID. Jesse mostly plays in smaller-scale events, but this year he took over as tournament director of the Beaver State Fling, one of the DGPT stops in Oregon.
Q: How long have you lived in the area?
A: We’ve lived in Portland since 2011.
Q: When did you open All Day Disc Golf and what’s the story behind the shop?
A: We opened at the beginning of February 2022. COVID started a huge explosion of growth in disc golf since it’s a socially-distanced, affordable, outdoor activity. We were running tournaments in the area and got to know hundreds of new golfers which led us to believe that there were enough people playing to support a centrally located store.
Q: What can customers expect to find there?
A: An overwhelming number of discs and one of us to help navigate all of the choices. We have all of the peripheral items a serious tournament player needs: practice baskets, towels, disc retrievers, and backpack bags to carry everything. We also sell craft beer, cider, and other bubbly beverages to-go. Our fridges have over 100 interesting options that you won’t find in the grocery store.
Q: Are there any resources (like lessons) for people who would like to get started?
A: Absolutely! We have several friends who are amazing coaches that we send customers to on a regular basis.
Q: What other disc golf content is available to those interested?
A: Disc golf is huge on YouTube and anyone who is curious should check out either Jomez Productions or Central Coast Disc Golf to get an idea of what professional disc golf looks like. For local coverage, Fairway Media does a great job and we have worked with them several times to film the action at our local courses.