Flying Further Together: The Innova Discs Legacy and Its Lasting Impact on Disc Golf

In 1983, a revolutionary step was taken in the world of disc golf that would change the trajectory of the sport forever. Innova Discs was founded by Dave Dunipace, alongside Harold Duvall, Charlie Duvall, and Tim Selinske. This marked the beginning of an era of innovation that saw the creation of the world’s first disc designed specifically for disc golf—the Eagle. This invention established Innova as a technological trailblazer in the sport, a position it has maintained to this day.

The Early Years and Innovation

Dave Dunipace, an avid disc golfer and a skilled distance thrower, was the visionary behind Innova. He saw the potential for discs that could travel farther and with more accuracy than the traditional models used in the sport. In the early 1980s, Dave started experimenting with disc designs, combining elements from different discs to create what would become the beveled edge disc—a design that significantly improved aerodynamics for longer-distance shots.

The introduction of the Eagle (later known as the Aero) was met with skepticism by the disc golf community. Critics argued that the disc flew too well and would render existing courses obsolete. Despite this, the Eagle's design was revolutionary, making many courses easier to play and pushing the sport forward. This innovation led to the Aero, a modified version created after a manufacturing mistake with the Eagle mold. The Aero corrected the flight path issues and quickly became a success in the disc golf world.

Growth and Expansion

In 1984, Innova introduced the Aviar putter, which would become the best-selling disc in the company's line. The Aviar's success underscored Innova's dominance in the disc golf market, proving the company's commitment to innovation and quality. The development of other iconic discs, such as the Destroyer, Firebird, Leopard3, and Roc, further cemented Innova's position as a leader in disc golf technology.

The name "Innova" itself reflects the company's pioneering spirit. Initially formed under the name Champion Discs, the founders later adopted "Innova"—short for "innovative"—to distinguish themselves in a crowded market. The decision to use both names showcased the company's unique approach to business and innovation.

Impact on Professional Disc Golf

Innova's influence extends beyond disc design to the professionalization of disc golf. The company was the first to sponsor a professional disc golfer, signing Ken Climo, who would go on to win 12 PDGA World Championships. Innova's sponsorship roster now includes top professionals like Ricky Wysocki, Calvin Heimburg, and Nate Sexton. Through Tour Series and Signature Series discs, Innova supports these athletes, contributing to the growth of professional disc golf.

Contributions to the Sport's Growth

Innova has played a crucial role in expanding disc golf's reach and popularity. The company has been instrumental in organizing prestigious tournaments like the United States Disc Golf Championship (USDGC), which has set high standards for professionalism and excellence in disc golf. Through initiatives like the Education Disc Golf Experience (EDGE) and Throw Pink, Innova has worked to introduce disc golf to new audiences, including children and women, significantly growing the sport's player base.

Legacy and Future

After four decades, Innova's legacy is firmly rooted in its contributions to the evolution of disc golf. The company remains at the forefront of technology and design, continuously seeking ways to innovate and improve. Innova's commitment to the sport goes beyond just manufacturing discs; it's about nurturing a global community that shares a love for disc golf. As the sport continues to grow, Innova's pioneering spirit promises to drive further advancements and ensure that disc golf remains an accessible, enjoyable, and competitive sport for generations to come.

This exploration into the history and impact of Innova Discs highlights the company's pivotal role in shaping disc golf. From the creation of the first disc designed specifically for the sport to the sponsorship of professional athletes, Innova's contributions have been instrumental in promoting disc golf's growth and popularity worldwide.

Technological Advancements

Innova’s relentless pursuit of innovation has not only revolutionized disc design but also the equipment surrounding the sport. One of the company's significant contributions is the DISCatcher basket, which is now a common sight on disc golf courses worldwide. This equipment, designed to meet the needs of both amateurs and professionals, showcases Innova’s commitment to improving the playing experience in every aspect of the sport. The precision molding of Innova discs, ensuring they perform excellently right out of the box, further emphasizes the company's role in elevating disc golf technology.

Community and Global Impact

Innova’s impact extends far beyond the boundaries of disc design and professional sponsorships. The company has played a pivotal role in cultivating a global disc golf community. Initiatives like the EDGE program and Throw Pink have not only introduced disc golf to millions of youngsters and women but have also been instrumental in promoting the sport as inclusive and accessible to all. By investing in these programs, Innova has contributed significantly to the sport's exponential growth, bringing the joy and benefits of disc golf to diverse populations worldwide.

The USDGC and the Promotion of Professional Disc Golf

The United States Disc Golf Championship (USDGC), often referred to as the "Superbowl" of Disc Golf, exemplifies Innova’s dedication to promoting professional disc golf. The championship sets a high standard for professionalism, competition level, media coverage, player amenities, and spectator experience. By organizing and supporting such prestigious events, Innova not only highlights the competitive spirit of the sport but also its potential as a spectator sport, attracting fans and players alike.

Future Directions

Looking ahead, Innova’s past offers insights into its future. The company remains deeply invested in the sport of disc golf, continuously seeking ways to innovate and expand. As the sport grows, Innova is well-positioned to lead with new disc models, technologies, and events that push the boundaries of what is possible. The company’s ongoing commitment to community engagement and the global growth of disc golf suggests a future where the sport reaches new heights of popularity and inclusivity.


Innova Discs stands as a testament to the transformative power of innovation and passion. From its early days of designing the first disc specifically for disc golf to its current status as a leader in the sport, Innova has played a crucial role in disc golf’s evolution. As we look to the future, it’s clear that Innova’s legacy will continue to influence the sport for years to come. Whether through technological advancements, community initiatives, or the promotion of professional disc golf, Innova’s impact on the sport is indelible. As the disc golf community grows and evolves, Innova’s commitment to innovation, quality, and the global development of the sport ensures that disc golf’s best days are yet to come.

In the story of disc golf, Innova is not just a chapter; it’s a continuous thread that weaves through the fabric of the sport, pushing it toward a brighter, more inclusive future. The journey of Innova Discs is a mirror to the growth of disc golf itself—a journey from humble beginnings to global recognition, marked by innovation, community, and an unwavering love for the game.

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