If you’re just getting into disc golf, or have been around the sport for years, odds are you’ve come across a video from someone simply known as Mike C. From forums like Disc Golf Course Review to YouTube, Mike C is a name you’ll come across. Mike C isn’t a 12 time world champion and he hasn’t traveled the world playing in the top tournaments. Mike C is a disc golfer. Just like you. Well, he has a cannon for an arm, but you can easily see he is “one of the guys” and is out there having fun just like the rest of us.
We’d be lying if we didn’t say we’ve sunk a few hours into watching videos from his “The Disc Golf Vids” YouTube channel. We’re just as curious as the rest of you to see what he’s testing next.
A few weeks ago, Mike C uploaded a video with a big announcement from MVP Disc Sports. The video (embedded above) announces MVP Disc Sports is officially sponsoring him and actually produced a custom stamp for their discs.
We’ve been wanting to find the story behind Mike C for a while and after this announcement, we got in touch with Mike C earlier this week to see just how he went from a normal guy to a disc golf YouTube celebrity.
All Things Disc Golf: When and how did you get started with disc golf? Were you hooked right away or did it take some time?
Mike C: I had a roommate in April 2009 who had played for a couple years that asked me to play. I was really into skateboarding at the time and thought disc golf sounded boring in comparison, but figured I’d give it a try. We went to a local shop where I bought a putter and understable fairway driver, then threw Arboretum in Canton, OH. We went out a few more times, then I started getting really hooked. I bought myself some more discs and started driving to the course myself so I could practice my throws. It was April when I started, and by the time it was summer I was playing nearly every day and reading DGR quite a bit.
All Things Disc Golf: You’ve been putting up videos on your YouTube channel for some time now. Why did you decide to film you playing?
Mike C: My motivation has changed over the years, that’s for sure.
About a year into my career I mentioned driving my Wizards 320′-350′ on DGCR. People requested a video. So I made one and uploaded it to the YouTube channel I uploaded skating videos to. It got a good reception and people asked for more, so I made a few more Wizard videos and a couple of Wizard & Roc ones as well. At this point I considered myself done with disc golf videos.
People had been emailing me over the following months asking for more videos but I felt like I did all I needed to. It was nearly a year later that I uploaded the “Arboretum Ions” video. Things exploded from there.
I made it to show off the new pins at my home course, and to show my new putter, the Ion. MVP messaged me shortly after I uploaded the video saying they liked it. We talked over the next few days and eventually they asked me to be on their test team. I was more than happy to try out new discs from an exciting new company.
I also had people asking me to make videos of other courses, including people with private courses. Also, some of my friends who saw that video said they wanted in on them.
So that was the turning point for TDGV. No longer was it about one guy with a putter showing off, but many things. It’s grown to be something I never imagined. I’ve posted instructional videos, competitive rounds, disc tests, course tours, group rounds, ace videos and a memorial to a local golfer who passed away. I never thought things would grow to be this big. I remember when I was impressed that one of the Wizard videos had a few thousand views after a year, and these days a new video can get that many in a day.
Currently I’ve been focusing primarily on test videos for different discs people send me, and anything new from MVP.
In the future I hope to include more competitive play and higher quality instructional videos, and I have some gear review videos planned as well. I also hope to continue testing discs for newer disc golf companies that don’t have the exposure that the big companies do, like Prodiscus, Crosslap and UB.
All Things Disc Golf: Between YouTube and some online message boards you’ve become somewhat of an “online disc golf celebrity” of sorts. We often see comments asking if you’ve thrown a certain disc or if people have seen your video on a certain disc. Did you ever expect things to take off like they have?
Mike C: Not at all.
When I first joined the various disc golf related websites and started posting Wizard videos, I considered myself just another rec golfer. I thought my video editing was pretty bad, I wasn’t a very good putter or experienced player, and I knew much better players even locally. It definitely took me by surprise…If I had any idea my Youtube channel would be on a disc one day I wouldn’t of picked the most generic name possible. But TDGV it is
If it wasn’t for the encouragement from others I don’t think I would have kept posting videos. Everyone has been extremely supportive though, whether its friends I film, clubs and locals who like my videos of their course, or companies I test discs for.
All Things Disc Golf: You recently made a very exciting announcement that you are MVP Disc Sports’ first sponsored disc golfer. How excited were you to hear the news yourself?
Mike C: Very excited!
The disc itself was something I had some input on, but the sponsorship idea was theirs. It was a complete surprise for me, and to be honest it’s something I did not expect to ever happen unless I started playing more tournaments.
I have been an athlete my entire life and at various points had hopes of going pro in basketball, skateboarding etc. So in a way this feels like reaching a level that I always felt I was capable of, but hadn’t achieved. While the toughest parts of my disc golf journey are still a head of me, it definitely feels like a milestone. No matter what happens in the 2014 competitive season, I’ll never forget how happy and excited I was when I pulled the first Mike C stamped disc out of that box.
It definitely has an impact on how I feel about disc golf, especially the competitive side. It makes me want to push myself even harder to perfect what I do, so I can better represent MVP.
All Things Disc Golf: MVP created some custom stamped discs for you. Do you have any left for sale? If you do, how can people get their hands on them?
Mike C: Right now there are two options. First is the Play It Again Sports in Canton, Ohio, which recently purchased 20. Second is through me. I try to always keep a few different molds on hand for people to buy, and when I receive new shipments I post them for sale on DGCR and Reddit. The best way to get a hold of me is sending me a message on DGCR or YouTube.
In the future online disc golf shops may stock them, that is something I may discuss with MVP in the future. Filling the orders out myself has been a lot of work!
All Things Disc Golf: How much of your bag is MVP right now? What else do you throw?
Mike C: The majority of my bag is is MVP, and as they release new discs more of it gets taken over.
Here is my full line-up: 3x Ions, Crosslap Credo, Tangent, Axis, Tensor, Amp, 3x Volts, Shock, Resistor, Prodigy D1, Dynamic Discs Trespass, Millennium Quasar x2 (Seasoned)
The Trespass is still in the test phase but I am having good results so far. I’ve also experimented with Cranks for a few rounds.
Something I would like people to know is that even after the sponsorship announcement, MVP has never requested I carry or not carry specific molds. I am free to choose any disc I want for my bag at this point. So every MVP disc that I do bag, I throw it because I find it performs better than comparable discs.
All Things Disc Golf: If we’re not mistaken, you just recently joined the PDGA. Have you played in tournaments before? Are you planning on playing in more next season?
Mike C: That is correct, I just joined the PDGA. I have never had much interest in competing until recently. For the first two years I played, I didn’t throw any tournaments except the yearly monster at my home course, simply because I loved the layout.
Aside from that I’ve competed in a handful of tournaments, most of them recent unsanctioned events. I took 1st place in open at The Yute, which is a two round tournament at two local courses. I shot -15 the first round, which was very exciting. Since then I’ve had a lot more interest in competing, and every time I look at my trophy hanging up I know I need to get another one to go with it
I plan on competing much more in 2014. Unfortunately I had to sit out of the biggest sanctioned event at my home course due to injury, but I’m throwing further than ever now that I’m healed up. Competing will be a bigger focus than ever from here on out. I am considering re-locating to Charlotte primarily for this reason.
All Things Disc Golf: We have to ask, is there any reason you go by just “Mike C” instead of your full name?
Mike C: My DGR/DGCR username has always been Mike C so its just how a lot of people came to know me. People talk about how you should watch Mike C videos etc. I just decided to go with it. My full name is Mike Cook and I don’t mind if people want to call me that instead, or just Cook. I just felt Mike C has the most recognition at this point so it made sense to stick with it.
All Things Disc Golf: One thing that jumps out in your videos is the fact that you have a cannon for an arm. How did you work up to that amount of power?
Mike C: I think it was a combination of things.
I have always been an athletic individual, and I’m one of those people that is usually good at things pretty quick. Ping pong, skateboarding, a new video game, I just pick things up quickly. Disc Golf looked easy to me, I thought I’d out throw people easily.
I got frustrated when I hit a brick wall strong arming Firebirds for distance. Disc Golf is a lot less about strength and conditioning than other sports I have tried and much more about technique. So I spent hours upon hours reading every article and forum discussion I could on DGR. I would go out during the day and do field practice and throw courses, then come home at night and read DGR. Sometimes something would click the next day, sometimes I didn’t understand a concept until a year after I first read about it. But I attribute the majority of the good parts of my form to DGR.
Aside from that the main things have been work and adaptability.
I have put in a significant amount of throws in the 4.5 years I’ve played. I have spent 5+ hours a day throwing golf 6 days a week for entire summers. For a lot of people, Disc Golf can’t be that big of a part of their life. That’s totally fine, most of my favorite golfing buddies are recreational with it. But I get satisfaction out of doing things well, not just doing them on an average level. I am not content with that.
All Things Disc Golf: Being able to change your throw is key. I have made pretty big changes in my form over the years.
Mike C: When I first drove a putter I turned it over hard 100′ out because I strong armed Firebirds for max D. I had to completely re-work my mechanics to fix that. I also had to re-work my X-step to generate hip turn more efficiently. I modified my grip and my wrist positioning. I learned how to shape different hyzer and anhyzer throws. I taught myself forehand from the ground up, which has involved a lot of trial and error. I have modified my putts in many small ways over the years. I can throw the same putter I used to turn over at 100′ about 375′ on a straight line now, and that’s because I changed how I throw a disc.
A lot of people I see, they develop a particular form, and that is all they are ever willing to work with. Very few people are willing to seriously re-work their throw after getting comfortable with a form. Being able to adapt when you see someone with more efficient body mechanics is the key to developing your distance.
The same form that you use to break 300′ is not the same form you will use to break 400′, and most people don’t get that. They want to keep their form, but still throw further.
An old sensei of mine once said: “Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
All Things Disc Golf: Now that you have the sponsorship, some new MVP stuff on the way, and seem ready for some PDGA action, what is up next for Mike C?
Mike C: I have a few things in mind.
First is to compete. I am going to keep playing local events for the time being, and in the future I hope to re-locate to Charlotte. If all goes well I hope to be able to qualify for some of the larger tournaments that draw in top players. This year I got to throw the first twelve holes of Winthrop. I’d love to go back and play the full course in the tournament.
If I am throwing my best I feel confident competing against anyone. I just need to develop the consistency to constantly perform near that level to be able to get where I want to be. So that is my personal focus, to develop consistency in everything that I do on the course.
Aside from competitive play, I want to keep expanding TDGV. I want to keep posting test videos, branch out to reviewing bags and other related gear, and I really want to put out some high quality instructional videos. My goal with the instructional videos has always been to explain the concepts I learned about from DGR in a way anyone can understand. It took me years to reach a level where I was happy with my game, and I want to reduce that amount of time to months for new golfers.
Lastly, I would love to make a living through Disc Golf one day. Even if I’m just selling discs at a shop and making test videos, that would make me happy.
Thanks to Mike C for telling us this great story. We’re certainly entertained when a new video comes around and it is fun to see how it can quickly make its way around the internet.
Be sure to follow The Disc Golf Vids on YouTube for the latest videos!