Over the weekend the disc golf world lost a pillar in its community with the passing of Jonathan Baldwin.
JB discovered disc golf almost by accident. While golfing at the DeLaveaga ball golf course in 1998 he heard chains and his life was changed forever. Over the next two decades, Jon would cement himself as a linchpin of the Santa Cruz disc golf community helping to shape the local scene as a budding sport began to blossom.
Jon was beloved by many, PDGA Hall of Famer Barry Schultz once called him his favorite player to play with. In 2013 he was awarded one of the most prestigious honors in disc golf, the Bob West Memorial Sportsmanship Award. Each year the PDGA issues a call for nominations to recognize a worthy disc golfer who exemplifies sportsmanship on the disc golf course and during competition, observes the rules of play, and wins or loses with grace.
When asked about the award, Jon said:
“That respect that I have from my competitors means everything to me, if I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t really care if I won, ever.”
Jon also found success competitively. He burst onto the scene with an Amateur division win at the 2003 Masters Cup. He would go on to succeed in the Open division with wins in 2007 at the NorCal Championships and Faultline Classic. In 2011 he became a Masters World Champion with an unlikely win at his home course, DeLaveaga. There’s no place like home, eight years later he took down his first MP50 win at the same course during the 2019 Masters Cup. Jon would continue to excel in the MP50 division, winning A-tiers as recently as this February.
Regarding the passing of Jon Baldwin, Disc Golf Pro Tour Director & CEO, Jeff Spring said:
“JB was one of the first people who gave me strong encouragement to think bigger than I ever had about the sport of disc golf. He had an unquantifiable spark of life in him that connected with others in a unique way. He’s already so greatly missed, and his contributions and impressions will live on through others for a long time.”
Jon Baldwin also had a profound impact on Seth Munsey, the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s Director of Health and Sports Performance. Seth shared a heartfelt message about Jon via Instagram:
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