Disc golfers have been living the van life since way before it was “cool.” And now, more players than ever are touring out of their rigs. Many aspects of our sport make this lifestyle feasible, and I wish to open a window to this world. Whether it is making money in tournaments, online
businesses, giving clinics, or a myriad of other channels, many disc golfers are living their dream and traveling the country playing the sport they love.
I recently moved into my van and am currently touring the Midwest before heading southwest for the winter. I wanted to see how the pros do it and learn a thing or two. It turns out we run into many similar challenges and are fueled by the same passion; the love of disc golf and a passion for connection with human beings. I searched the interwebs to find van life videos of touring pros. These are people just like you and me who honed a skill and then committed to an alternative lifestyle. They are approachable and hard-working, and simply committed to their passion. Let’s take a look at how professionals live on the road.
Pros On Tour
Paige Pierce is a 5-time world champion and current VanLifer. She lives in a Sprinter van with her fiance Alyssa Van Lanen. They have many episodes on their YouTube Channel that lend an honest lens into their life on the road. Pierce does a wonderful job of allowing honesty and vulnerability to guide her channel, especially when the going gets tough. In an episode entitled “Living At The Disc Golf Course,” Pierce had this to say about staying in parking lots throughout the tour, “That’s one of the hardest parts about tour life is just having time to think and be with yourself.” Just one of many challenges players must overcome when living on four wheels.
Aderhold started his touring life by living out of a Toyota Prius. What?! He is a big guy and recently got an upgrade to his touring lifestyle. Aderhold posted a video entitled “In The RV,” in which he details his RV and talks about the many uses of his rig. Aderhold said, “It’s going to help my play because I can actually rest, and there’s just a lot less that I have to think about.” Yes, there is a bit more space now that he’s out of the Prius!
White was featured early on in his career in vlogs by Simon Lizotte. This helped him ink a contract with Discmania, and he has since gone on to have success on the PDGA tour. He recently upgraded his sprinter van and posted a video to his YouTube Channel entitled “I Live In A Van?!”
Colten Montgomery and Kona Panis
Montgomery and Panis are both touring professionals and, in 2019, built out their first van. They spoke of the expenses of doing so and said that it made them feel like they had something to play for. This was an expensive endeavor, and they reflected on players from years past that had to win money to eat and pay for gas. “When people first started off touring, from what I’ve heard, it was pretty tough out there. You’re playing for your next meal or paying for your gas. I feel like this year we’re kind of playing for something.” Montgomery went on to say, “The best part of van life so far is that it’s ours. Everything we did in there was hand built by us…It’s kind of a nice piece of mind going to bed every night, knowing it’s something we built ourselves.”
In this episode entitled “The Van Perks,” Nate Perkins and Alyssa Van Lanen talk about fulfilling their dreams and living the life they chose. Alyssa is the official PDGA photographer and uploads her photos directly from the van. Perkins is a touring professional and says, “I mean, I don’t think I’d rather be doing anything else than living out of this van.”
Eric Oakley and Tina Oakley
The Oakleys recently bought a home with a foundation in Florida but still tour out of their RV. This allows them to not need to take everything on the road with them. However, they still love the amount of storage in their current RV as they set up booths for selling discs and Tina’s company Whale Sacs. Tina is all in with Whale Sacs and is not playing tournaments while Eric continues to compete. They open the doors to their RV in this video and show how they live on the road.
Disc golfers are a rare breed. Sports breed passion and connection, and players have shown through the years that we are willing to go to great lengths to play the sport we love. This includes living on four wheels and traveling continuously to pursue our dreams. Many aspects of the modern world and modern games make this feasible, including income streams online, UDisc, more tournaments, and more money in the game. Players have become increasingly inventive about how to stay on tour without having to win cash prizes at tournaments. This used to be the only option to tour, but now disc golf companies are able to offer more money for a host of activities, including advertising, commentating, clinics, etc.
This lifestyle has inspired me enough to pursue my dreams as I moved into my van in June of this year. I’m learning the rigors of the road and could not be happier with the amount of time and space that has entered my life. I learned a great deal through videos such as these, and I hope they fill you with inspiration to pursue whatever it is that calls you. Life is short; play disc golf.