Jackie Morris has joined a small, but powerful list.
As the tournament director of the Dynamic Discs Open, a 2022 Disc Golf Pro Tour event on the PDGA Elite Series, Morris is the fifth female TD of a PDGA Elite Series event or PDGA Major since at least 2000.
In 2003, Angie Martin served as TD of the Seneca Creek Soiree, a PDGA National Tour event. Teresa Bellinger served as TD of the Beaver State Fling from 2005-07. Rebecca Duffy and Jenny Knisley were the TDs of the United States Women’s Disc Golf Championship in 2013 and 2021, respectively.
Morris has risen through the ranks at Dynamic Discs, from working in the companies’ retail store in Emporia, Kansas to serving as volunteer coordinator for the 2016 PDGA Pro World Championships, as well as the Dynamic Discs Open.
She now serves as the Event Coordinator for Dynamic Discs and will serve as the Assistant Tournament Director with Doug Bjerkaas at the 2022 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships later this year.
We caught up with Jackie this week to get to know her story and what it means to her to work as a tournament director:
PDGA: How were you introduced to disc golf?
JM: In June of 2015, I was going into my senior year finishing my degree at Emporia State University. One of my friends told me about a job opening at the Dynamic Discs Retail Store. Disc golf was something I knew nothing about, and I decided to apply anyway because why not! After two weeks of working at the pro shop, I had to try disc golf. One of my best friends (and our Graphic Designers) took me out to Jones West and taught me how to play. You know how this story goes; we all get hooked–and that is precisely what happened to me! I played the 10-hole loop at Jones West just about every night after work during the summer of ’15.
Tell us about the first event that you organized. What made you want to serve as a tournament director? What did you learn?
The first event I ever organized was a birthday party for a friend in high school, if you want to get specific. I’ve always loved planning events for others. It brings me joy to create joy for others.
The first event I helped organize parts for was the 2016 PDGA Professional World Championships. I managed all of the volunteers as the Volunteer Coordinator. That’s the first year I met Doug Bjerkaas and started helping him with events. After that, I was always helping with clinics and behind the scenes of our large events.
The first disc golf event I organized was the Emporia Ladies Open with Denise Cameron (PDGA #41459). Thinking about it gives me goosebumps because we are so passionate about the event, and I can’t believe this year will be the 4th year we run it. Of course, I learned from being in other roles, but I learned so much more being in the hot seat of a tournament director for ELO. I learned lists and timelines are your best friend. I learned it takes support from others. I learned you could not make everyone happy. And I learned you couldn’t do it alone.
One of the reasons I wanted to be a tournament director was so I could actively make a difference in the disc golf community. I attended some events I didn’t necessarily like how it was running and was concerned about inclusivity. So, instead of complaining about it and wishing it was different, I joined in. Also, it was important for me to create a safe space for women to get started playing disc golf if they wanted.
What should be the top priority for a TD? What is your ultimate goal as a TD?
Top priority – Remember the why and who you’re doing it.
My ultimate goal is to continue growing the sport among women.
What is one piece of advice for someone hosting their first event?
You cannot make everyone happy.
What is one thing TDs often overlook?
The simple things – having bathrooms, making sure there is water on the course, taking the time to mark OB lines, and thanking everyone who attends and helps.
What does it mean to you to be among a small group of female TDs at the Elite Series level?
Wow. I’m tearing up a little thinking about this. I’m passionate about women’s empowerment and finding them a seat at the table. It’s growing rapidly and I want to see women’s disc golf continue to grow. It’s an honor to be a part of that list.
How has women’s disc golf continued to grow? What does the disc golf community need to do to continue its growth?
The growth has been steady. We see more competitors every year. However, I think it will take having more women in disc golf roles, outside of playing, to continue the growth.
What is your advice to women looking to start a women’s league or tournament?
Just go do it. Get the ladies together. Be that voice. We sometimes wait for someone else to do it, but just go. If you’re the disc golfer in your community, start rallying the women together and try to grow it from there.
What makes the Dynamic Discs Open unique?
The city of Emporia. I haven’t been to many disc golf events outside of Kansas, so I am biased, but I think the city of Emporia is unique. It helps elevate the Dynamic Discs Open experience.
What is your favorite hole at the Dynamic Discs Open?
Oh, gosh. Hole 5 at Jones Supreme 18. Hole 9 at Jones West was one of my favorites, and I feel like the new hole 5 is the “pro” version of it…I mean technically it is the pro version.
What can fans expect from the 2022 Dynamic Discs Open?
LOTS OF DISC GOLF.