Accomplished California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) disc golf player Dustin Johnson is graduating this semester, a challenging goodbye bundled with his enduring optimism.
Johnson envisions even greater heights for the club next season, a program on track to break more records as the new president Luke Berry fills the role of core leadership.
In November, the team was victorious in the formidable West Coast College Open, a bittersweet victory due to the absence of local legend and CSUMB disc golf club founder Stancil Johnson, who passed away this year.
The program hadn’t edged out the competition at the tournament in seven years. “I think he was with us when we won it,” Johnson said.
The Otters were not favored to win, but Johnson ignored the odds and went undefeated in match play. He rose to the occasion, hitting 40 to 50-footers and beating higher-ranked players.
Consistent pro-level performances have heightened Johnson’s confidence, from bogey-free rounds to hitting eight birdies on the Sonoma course.
Attending the 2022 Santa Cruz Masters Cup was another highlight for Johnson, a prestigious A-tier Pro-Am tournament where he finished fourth.
Johnson credits skill-focused practices in enhancing performance, disc manipulation, target practice, and tight grouping from 300 feet, key fundamentals that breed success.
Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and grappling with administration remained a constant challenge during the season, with players having to meet paperwork deadlines and working with the Sports Clubs Council (SCC).
Two of the SCC’s coordinators and directors were out of the office for extended periods this semester, making communication vital in ensuring events ran smoothly.
Johnson knows the club’s future is in good hands with Berry taking on the president’s mantle. Berry reminds Johnson of a younger and more energetic version of himself.
Berry is a freshman, and he’s been a pivotal player and leader this season, a driven athlete with a history in baseball, and administrative experience that stems from his current interning position with the Monterey Bay Football Club (Monterey Bay FC).
Johnson believes that efficiency and focus are Berry’s greatest strengths. He has already contacted sponsors, planned events, and organized most of the upcoming season.
Berry is a relentless player and even undergoing multiple shoulder surgeries from baseball hasn’t faltered his desire to improve. His will to win and passion for the sport have carried him through that struggle, and he wants nothing more than to see the team succeed.
Berry advises newcomers to avoid hesitation and take action. There’s no need to over-prepare with preparation and research; grab a disc and experience the sport.
“Go out and play,” Berry said. “You’re going to get better by playing.”
For those interested in the sport, join the club on MyRaft or check out KIN 141 next semester, a disc golf course taught by the program’s coach, Merle Witvoet.