A disc golfer Ron Russell won everyone's heart in 1999 when he beat The Champ Ken Climo in PDGA World Champion and became one & only person to win against him. When he started his golf journey, never had he once thought of being a successful golfer winning several matches.
1999 was the luckiest year for Ron, who won World Champion and took $4000 prize cash home with him. It was also the year he became famous in the field, gaining media and public attention while sharing some parts of his story. Many top golfers who have started their journey in golf either seem to have been passionate since childhood or have practiced golf from an early age.
However, for Russel, it seems to be the other way around. To start with, he was an athlete, but not just a golfer that anyone had thought to gain fame far and wide over the world. Many know him as the sportsperson who switched his sports and still managed to nail it till the end.
In one of his interviews, he mentioned, "I was hooked immediately." Well, the player was an athlete before an athlete and the champ before a champ.
Ron Russell's Life Before His Disc Golf Journey
Before advancing his sports career to disc golf, Ron Russell was prominent for being a semi-professional racquetball player. As a player, he had exchanged matches, led a game, and impressed the people who watched his game.
However, his fame didn't rise until he shifted his sports career towards disk golf. It was no surprise that the player had a knack for the game and quickly picked up the pace for the sports, while he also thinks that the two games are somewhat similar, which helped him become the champion in no time. Nevertheless, his followers all knew his talent all along made him become a sports legend that almost everyone worships now.
Moreover, he had no idea there was a disc golf course where he lived in River Bends. Then, he had been playing racket and was aiming to make a mindset to have a future on it until he went for golf. He had loved racket as much as golf in his life and thought both sports much of a muchness.
Not until he went out to have a round of golf with a friend did he realize that he was good at golf too and immediately developed an interest in it.
How Ron Russell Became A Disc Golf Star?
After getting hooked straight away on the game, Ron Russell saved his money for the tour and went to pursue his golf disc career. Soon, he became part of the Professional Disc Golf Association and made a name in the field while gaining himself card no. 9999.
He then opened up about his sports switch experience to his followers, "The mechanics of the two sports are the same. The run-up, the shoulder roll, and wrist snap, everything."
"I was inspired by Kenny Climo and 'Crazy' John Brooks. Crazy John shot a 14-under. I thought when I could beat that, I would be ready for the tour. I knew that's what I wanted to do right off."
To start his journey on the right foot, he started working, building a roofing business, then prepared himself for a tour, for which he saved $20,000. It was also when he had to manage his work and tournaments; he played at weekends and slept on the road during the week & work hours.
Well, his hard work and determination paid off when he earned the title "Rookie of the Year" in 1995. In the following days, Discraft sponsored him, which made him easier to focus on his sports career.
Also, in the following years, he won 11 tournaments, of which six were super tour events, soon reaching the top of disc golf, earning more than ever. Ever since becoming a member of PDGA in 1995, he had nailed every match, with 69 career wins and career earnings of $142,539.12.
Be that as it may, one of the unforgettable matches instantly brought him the light was after he beat Ken Climo, the tournament champion. That was also when his fame rose, and he became a golf star.
Ron Russell Ended His Career A Legend
A golf disc star Ron Russell played in different locations like Jacksonville, United States, and Florida as the PDGA player. As per PDGA, a former player ranked 976 in 2022 and has Eagle Club membership status.
1999 Pro World champion made the news again in 2019 when he returned to the course. Russell made his first sanctioned tournament after ten years at that time. Soon, his followers were waiting to watch his match with Calvin Heimburg and John E McCray.
With so many new people making their way into disc golf, it's crazy to think that they'll hear names like Ken Climo, Barry Schultz and Ron Russell and have no concept of who they are and what they've done in the sport ...— Green Splatter (@GreenSplatter) April 13, 2022
He might not be on Wikipedia, but the golf fanatics know him as an all-time champion. Also, as of 2022, his estimated net worth is over and around $5 million. Ron was a significant touring presence for more than two decades ago and ended his career in 2007 after playing his last PDGA event at the Florida Disc Golf Championships. He signed off from his sports career as the only legend to beat Ken Climo in the 90s at Pro World.