George Fiorini has been playing disc golf for about three years. But he’s never been impressed with the attire associated with the sport, which is mainly “hippie” or “pseudo-jock,” as he describes them. Neither fit his style.
“One day I was like, ‘I think it would be hilarious to combine two of my favorite things,’” Fiorini says.
Those things? Disc golf and heavy metal.
He launched Dark Ace Disc Golf about two years ago. One shirt features four upside down disc golf baskets. Another design features a horned demonic creature with the phrase, “Play Disc Golf; Listen To Metal.”
It turns out he wasn’t the only one who enjoyed this combination. Fiorini noticed that Disc Golf Pro Tour champion Nathan Queen, from Kernersville, North Carolina, would “put up the horns” after a great put. Clearly, this was a kindred spirit.
Fiorini connected with him, and Dark Ace Disc Golf now sponsors him.
Fiorini got into metal as a young teenager. Staying at a friend’s house one night when Headbangers Ball came on “changed everything” for him, he says. On MySpace, he discovered Every Time I Die, now his favorite band, and began attending metal concerts.
“It was just so communal. It was like, you accidentally hit somebody in the face and then laugh about it later,” Fiorini says, “and you're cleaning each other’s blood up off the ground outside and laughing about it and you just got all your angst out at the show.”
There’s that same sense of community in disc golf, Fiorini says. Many St. Louis area courses are free to the public, and are complemented by local clubs like St. Louis Disc Golf Club. Everyone’s supportive of noobs.
“I just think it's a beautiful thing,” he says.
The company is currently working on putting its logo and designs on discs. Fiorini says Dark Ace Disc Golf works with local artists for its designs, and they also donate meals to Operation Food Search for every $20 spent.
His company is a niche within a niche. People “freak out” when they learn about it, both positively and negatively.
“You take shirts like the one I'm wearing right now that has upside-down baskets on it,” which can be likened to upsidedown crosses, Fiorini says. “If our brand didn't have controversy, we wouldn't be doing it right.”