I contacted Zackeriath after his win at this years St. Louis Open to see if he'd have any interest in answering a few disc golf questions. He agreed to and here it is:
Hi Zackeriath- thanks for taking some time to talk about your disc golf experiences.
First off congratulations on taking first place at the 2014 St. Louis Open!
Did you grow up in the St. Louis area?
In 8th grade I moved to Eureka and Graduated from Eureka high school in 2009. That fall I moved to Murray Kentucky and attended Murray State University for 3.5 years. That is where I learned to play disc golf. In the spring of 2010 all of my friends got into it including myself. I didn't play much until I had played my first tourney, an ice bowl in Paducha Ky, where I realized how good players could get. From that day on I found a lot of my free time turn into going to the local course and throwing a lot of practice shots.
In the spring of 2013 I moved back to Eureka with the plan of changing my major to Civil Engineering and finishing up and UMSL. I currently work in a shoe warehouse and go to a local Community College where I am finishing up with my transfer classes for UMSL. After moving back to St Louis my disc golf game exploded with having multiple hard courses to choose from with lots of Old school pros around to pick up things from.
What's the course or courses that every disc golfer should play in St. Louis?
In St Louis there are lots of courses to choose from, if I were to pick the top three courses that I would love to see the STL open played on it would be Sioux Passage, Carrollton Park, and Logan College. Those courses give the best display of all the shots needed to play with lots of elevation change, tough greens, narrow fairways, wide open bombers, and some water shots.
What have been your favorite courses to play outside of this area?
I have way too many favorite courses to list; I truly just enjoy traveling around and seeing all types of courses. I enjoy nature and look at the opportunity to travel and play them as a chance to get to see the country and different terrain.
What's the strongest part of your game and what would you like to improve on?
My strongest part of my game is my forehand; it's how I started throwing. It really comes in handy when throwing scramble shots when in some tough trouble around you, I can get very creative and pick a hole and angle to throw a disc out of for a scramble shot. As a player who has played around 4 years my game is still improving every day but a main focus area I have had in the last 6 months is getting my backhand more under control with hitting tough lines. Another area any disc golfer is always focused on is the putt.
Name a couple of your favorite disc golf moments.
One of the most memorable moments for me in disc golf was the first INT tourney I had won, I had been in a car accident and had a broken hand 4 weeks before the tourney and the morning of I decided to cut my cast off in the car and played. I had won by a landslide and rapidly improved my game the following months and was the turning point in my game.
Another memorable moment was a local tourney we had this spring, it was a two round one day tournament and in the first round I ended up hitting an ace with my favorite disc (flattop firebird) to make it the sixth ace on that disc. I followed it up with hitting a crazy tomahawk ace on a very hard hole the very next round to make it number 7. The nice sized ace pot was a big bonus too.
Has there been any one thing or person that's help you improve your game the most?
I love learning from all players, my forehand and backhand form was self taught, but I have learned and refined my game over the couple of years I have played mainly by watching everyone I have played with and taking certain aspects that I like from their game and working it into my own.
Do you have any other pros that you've really enjoyed playing on a card with?
I see myself as a pretty outgoing person and I love making friends with all the people I play with. I will say that if I had a favorite pro to play with it would have to be John E. McCray.
You shot a 1043 rated first round at Sioux Passage last weekend how were you feeling after that?
After seeing the results of the first round I was a little surprised that I had shot 4 strokes better than the field but I quickly let that thought go and instantly started focusing on what I needed to do in the next round to pull even farther ahead knowing that I was up against a tough field of players.
Do you have any tournaments you want to play in the next few years?
I hope to someday make it over to Japan for the Japan Open and I also hope to make it into the USDGC sometime soon.
Do you have any other disc golf goals for yourself maybe a rating or sponsorship?
My overall goal is to become the best disc golfer I can be. Some short term goals are to make it to 1018 rated by the end of the 2014 season and to be sponsored by a couple of companies out there "hint hint". I inspire to become sponsored by a bag company one day and get my own bag line and design.
The main aspects that I love about disc golf tourneys are the community that it comes with and the beauty in nature that can be found on each course. On most evenings I can be found on a disc golf course until dark, hiking with my amazing girlfriend and our dog to watch the sunset or cruising the back roads in my Jeep jamming to music.
Thanks again for doing this and good luck in the future!