Interview – Kat Mertsch

Kat Mertsch is an American FPO player competing on the DGPT and PDGA National Tour. Kat is currently sponsored by Innova and has also been part of the Dynamic Discs roster in the past. She won the PDGA’s rookie of the year in 2020 and holds a 911 rating (as of April 2021). Instagram: @the_legit_kat

Tell us about the first time you stepped onto a disc golf course. Were you a natural
or was there a few stray throws that day?

The first time I stepped on a course, I had no idea what I was doing. I was straight trash honestly. But I threw a forehand one day and it flew real nice so I think I had a natural forehand. Still though, most shots went wild.

Did you have an athletic background prior to disc golf, if so, which sports and how did your past athletics help propel your disc golf progress?

I played in a decent amount of sports in high school but golf was the family sport. My dad was real into ball golf before lost his leg. Like really into it. He would always try to get my brothers to take it serious and stuff.

My brother, Wedge, did a little bit. I remember growing up, we had this cup with an arch way big enough for a ball to go through and we would try to hit the ball through it. It was dope but other than that I played basketball, soft ball, track, and cross country. I had a great basketball coach that taught me how to dig deep and push through anything and I think that’s helped me a bit.

Everyone has that moment where they throw noticeably further for the first time.
What disc was in your hand and what change in your technique had you been
working on?

I don’t really remember what disc it was but when I figured out how to throw
backhand I could kinda launch it out there. I just started to really change my
technique like last week. In my run up, I kept moving the disc way too much so my
boyfriend suggested keeping the disc in my power pocket until I was ready to reach
back. There has been some improvement so far and I feel like I could gain more
control with it.

Commit to your shot. A majority of the time if you miss your line on any wooded course, it’s probably going to be a bad deal. At least it is for me anyway..

Your brother; Wedge Mertsch also plays at the professional level. How much has his
advice and game influenced yours over the years and what do you feel is the most
valuable trait in your game that came from him?

Wedge has always pushed me to do well with disc golf. I think the most important
thing he has ever told me to do was to be humble. He’s done a good job of helping
me mentally through the majority of it. Wedge can play some good disc golf too.

He’s got a super gnarly forehand and a good amount of distance on his backhands. When
his putting is on, he is the best putter in the world. I believe he could make it on tour
with ease. I’d say my whole game is kinda inspired by my brother’s play. He taught
me how to forehand and putt. Everything I got, beside the backhand, I got from my

Just how crucial do you feel field practice is to not only learning new skills but also
maintaining your strengths? Additionally, do you think players can improve, only
playing course rounds?

Field practice is the best thing to do to gain consistency and control of your frisbees.
It gives you a chance to practice certain shots that may need work on. You can gain
so much knowledge from just going out to a field. When it comes to if I think players
can improve only playing course rounds, it comes down to the player and what they
think is the best for them and their progress. Everyone gets better in their own way
and everyone practices differently.

The PDGA national tour and DGPT take players through some of the most beautiful
and technical wooded courses in the world. What three tips above all can you throw
at players doing most of their throwing in the forest?

  • Enjoy the scenery. The woods hold the most beauty.
  • Commit to your shot. A majority of the time if you miss your line on any wooded
    course, it’s probably going to be a bad deal. At least it is for me anyways.
  • Get in enough practice rounds. Try to have a decent idea what to do from anywhere.

On the spot, picture it mentally; you are standing at hole #1 of the hardest course you have ever played and you have to throw a whole round with only one disc. What course is it and what disc are you taking with you on this journey?

I’d take my blue bottom stamped Innova Destroyer. That’s like my favorite disc to
throw. It always comes back.

As a newer or even intermediate player, finding a putter that really seems to provide confidence can be really tough even if form isn’t as much the issue. Which putter was the first to provide that confidence for you when you started?

Just a classic Aviar. I loved it the minute I held it. And I still do.

You won the PDGA’s Rookie Of The Year honours in 2020, how did that feel and can you tell us about how it matched up to some of your other career highlights?

I worked hard for it so it felt extremely satisfying. I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve
done so far. I don’t think it really matched up to anything I’ve done. It’s a good one to

Many of the best courses in disc golf are fairly well known by the sport’s enthusiasts but what about a few seriously awesome hidden gems according to Kat Mertsch?

Persimmon Ridge and Pine Valley are two courses in Arkansas that I absolutely love. They are both long and beautiful. Pine Valley has some big tall pine trees that add some difficulty to it. But I love them.

If you were to rely on only movies to roughly describe your personal best and worst competitive disc golf rounds ever, what flicks would get the nod?

For my personal best, it would probably be like Rock a Doodle. My worst would be that once scene in Full Metal Jacket when they are in the bathroom in the barracks at the beginning. Sometimes, disc golf takes me to a dark place.

Lastly, can you give us the current ups and downs of touring / van life or is all pretty positive so far early on?

Touring is hard. Trying to compete with the best is hard but I have found out that I am in this learning process. Everytime I play disc golf, I learn something. In all honesty, it’s been extremely hard to keep my head up and keep going. At the end of the day though, I know that everything I’m feeling and everything I’m going through is worth it. Van life is different but I like it. I’ve had my check engine light come on a few times and I’ve had to get a new sink head but I have a little home on wheels.

We want to thank Kat kindly for her time and wish her only the best in her touring efforts and beyond. Those wanting to follow and/or support Kat on tour can do so RIGHT HERE!

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