It was a warm summer afternoon when Brian P. Frawley and Richard J. Engelmann (that’s us!) were deucing in camp health center, contemplating life, when a life changing mission was bestowed upon them. Our fearless leader had heard of this groundbreaking and growing sport called disc golf and challenged us to master the sport so that we might pass our knowledge and skills on to the countless youth who came through those camp gates that summer. Former college athletes set out to pasture, we needed something new to take the energy, focus and drive we have always had. 7+ years later, here we are on the cusp of greatness! It’s been a weird journey so far, and we love having so many great people to share it with.
Where to begin... Let’s start with how absolutely horrible we were. So bad. For starters, we both started off try to play this difficult sport backwards. While a lot of people throw a lot of sidearm flicks, we weren’t exactly successful doing so with super light DX Sharks and T-rexes. Our first round at a real course, Holly Woods, could only be described as double bogey golf. Regardless of our ineptness, we were hooked. You mean we can wander around in the beautiful woods, get exercise, drink beer, and hang out with great people, all while throwing shit and being competitive? Duh.
So what next? Being gregarious as we are, we found out there was a doubles league and decided to take a gander. One might expect to get some weird looks when you show up with 3 discs, beer and no clue what is happening, but we were welcomed by everyone there. Over the next few weeks great folks like the Hunt family, Mark Stephens, Paul Grasso and Dave Lonteen showed us the ropes and why we were about to fall in love with something great.
May 9th, 2009 in Davison, Michigan was the site of one of the greatest disc golf battles in recent memory. The Flint Town Flyers Open was a heated match that ended with Rich taking down 6th place in the novice division, taking Brian down by two strokes landing him a 7th place finish out of 14 players. Even with both of us shooting sub-825 rated golf, a rivalry was born.
Tournaments kept coming and we kept going. We even did well at a few. With that, an accumulation of discs happened and we started to be enterprising. E-bay was a thing still then and we needed to pay for more tourneys, discs and beer, so Wolf Pack Discs was born. We almost weren’t always Wolf Pack Discs though. Dirty McDiscs, Freedom Frisbees, 9 Inch Discs (Rich’s favorite) and many others were tossed around before we landed on the Wolf Pack. Why? Who knows. Maybe because wolves are fucking sweet. Maybe it is because Brian looks like Zach Galifianakis and The Hangover was big at the time. Maybe howling in the woods is fun and we wanted an excuse. Whatever the reason, it worked and now you can see the wolf head banging chains around the world.
We should make a team. That was our next bright idea. Who better to start with than the Hunts? They were a big part in teaching us the game and were some of the best players in the area, let alone the state. So Team Wolf Pack was born. While we did some things and people knew us a little bit, we made our presence felt at the 2010 State Championships in Ludington. Winds were 30-45 mph coming off of Lake Michigan and Rich could throw a tomahawk. The kind of tomahawk that will make most people need a new labrum. Fast forward two days and the Pack is celebrating a second place finish and a great season.
Our philosophy on who we have on our team is a trade secret, but from the start we have always said it needs to be more about who you are rather than how good you are. Our team ranges from a 17 year old World Amateur Champion, a former USDGCA Champion, Michigan State Finals Champions and some generally talented folks. All of that pales in comparison to who these people are and we continue to be amazed at some of the people out there who want in on this journey.
An interesting period for the company was the split of 2011. We could have very easily just let the company fizzle out when Rich moved to NY and Brian got a new job, got married and bought a house. Brian got hooked up with the Motor City Chain Gang and befriended John Minicucci, a true original in the disc golf world. Helping them with tournaments, leagues, etc. showed him how to put on an event the right way and Wolf Pack tournaments were born. We have always had a couple tournaments for charity to send kids to camp, but the first real tournament we ran was the Morning Wood Classic in August of 2013. Sherwood Brewing company was and will be continue to be an amazing partnership, because what goes better together than beer and discs?
40 people in 2013 turned into 120 in 2015 and it continues to be one on the best attended events of the year. The best part about it is the whole day is all about what the Pack is about. Fun, competition, and enjoying the game we all love. While sanctioned events have their place, these types of events are way more up our alley.
2015 continued a wonderful partnership with Gateway discs and we had the Gateway into the Woods Series. More of the same here, we wanted people to come out and have a relaxed tournament with the sport we all love. It was a great success and got a lot of people out there who would normally not be playing in such a manner. Seeing an entire family with kids and all coming out to play at a tournament is something we strive to see more of in the future.
In 2017, we started a partnership with Discraft in Michigan. We love keeping some of our business in state and growing our disc golf relationships with vendors.
Now what? It is crazy to think we now have 42 team members in 6 states out there representing us in a fine manner. The thing that keeps us going and striving to keep this momentum going is we are truly trying to be ambassadors for the sport. Discs, apparel, and tournaments are what we do. In the future, we can see a championship level course with a pro shop, bar & grill and Brian out giving putting lessons as Rich is out on the back 9 “mowing the grass”.Care to join us?