After 456 games of match play over four days of competition among 254 athletes from 25 countries and four continents, the WFDF 2022 World Team Disc Golf Championships (WTDGC) were settled in the Gold Medal match between Estonia and Czech Republic, with Estonia taking the Gold Medal and the title of World Disc Golf Team Champions on Saturday the 20th of August. Team Canada took home the bronze medal and Australia earned the Spirit award.
This was the largest ever WTDGC since it was introduced in 2016. Played on two challenging courses in the forests and on the banks of the River Drava in Varaždin, Croatia,the setting provided an ideal opportunity for everyone who attended to meet and compete for the highest honor in Team Disc Golf.
There were 10 national teams new to the competition, but the team that received the most support and a standing ovation at the opening ceremony was Team Ukraine. Supported financially by WFDF and the Local Organizing Committee, the Ukraine Disc Golf Association was able to field a team of six athletes – three of whom needed a special authorization to be released from military duties to play.
“Disc golf has grown incredibly throughout the pandemic period and it was really exciting to be able to host the World Team Disc Golf Championships and see these athletes from so many countries around the globe showcase their skills,” stated Robert “Nob” Rauch, WFDF President. “We appreciate the support and encouragement from the Professional Disc Golf Association and look forward to finding additional ways to cooperate to help grow the sport of disc golf worldwide.”
The initial Pool stages of the event saw most of the top seeds progressing to the top 16 knockout stage with the exception of Colombia who bumped Switzerland into the lower half of the draw. Teams had six athletes competing in each round – 2 women, 3 open, 1 masters – and there weretwo singles matches and two doubles matches (with alternating shots). Rosters could include up to twelve athletes. The format meant that no seeds were safe in the top half and the round of 16 saw top seeded Austria beaten by Czech Republic and second seeds Great Britain from Pool B beaten by France who finished 4th in Pool A.
There were many tight games in the following rounds including seven decided by a play off hole! After 72 holes of match play disc golf, if both teams were equal on points in doubles and singles matches, the game would be decided by one player nominated in the format before the match started. For top seed Finland this proved crucial, for in the semi-final match against Czech Republic, they played their MP40 players and the Czech team won. Then in the other semifinal’s consolation match, after another tie, the Canadian FPO1 beat the Finnish FPO1 by birdieing the first hole and taking the Bronze Medal.
The Gold Medal match was not as close. After a week of 35ᵒC temperatures and above, Finals Day brought heavy rain – and an 8-0 win to Estonia. They dominated the event, selected their teams carefully, matched their opponents with all they could throw at them, and were deservedly winners of the Championship.
This year saw the introduction of Spirit of the Game (SOTG) categories and scoring to Disc Golf for the first time. It was embraced enthusiastically by all and gave athletes the chance to share views and opinions on their opponents in a way that improved and educated all who attended and played. Every match generated scores for knowledge of the Rules, Communication and Behavior – 684 scores altogether – and the winner of the Spirit Award was Australia.
“This was the most challenging of all WTDGC events to date,” commented Charlie Mead, Chair of the WFDF Disc Golf Committee. “The number of teams, the need for twocourses, the setting that would allow players to meet and socialize, the introduction of SOTG – all were met by the organizational structure WFDF and LOC put in place. The new format which translated the principles of equity into action were a challenge for some athletes but accepted by most – and the increased reliance on the involvement of women in the event was not only a success but crucial to the outcomes of all matches.”
WFDF would like to acknowledge the huge effort put into this event by the Croatian Disc Golf Association and especially the Local Organizing Committee led by Dinko, Maja and Tina Simenc with their team of volunteers. The event would also not have been such a success without the work of the WFDF Disc Golf Committee and the WFDF Event Management Team. However, the biggest thanks go to all the Disc Golf National Associations, their Captains, Managers and Disc Golf athletes for the time and effort in making this event the most successful and most fun WTDGC yet!
The previous editions of the WTDGC took place in Vancouver in Canada in 2016, the English town of Colchester in 2017, and in Alutaguse in Estonia in 2019. Varaždin was also the site of the 2021 European Team Disc Golf Championships. The WFDF Disc Golf Committee will make a decision on the venue and time for the 2024 WTDGC by the 1st of January 2023 at the latest. We look forward to receiving more bids for the event from across the world!
Full details of the event as well as results and finishing positions for all teams can be found here.