DGDG Team Members

Justin Menickelli, Ryan Pickens, and Jay McCarthy


Jay McCarthy (PDGA#7435)

Jay discovered Disc Golf in 1985 in Atlanta and was hooked immediately. He joined the PDGA in 1988 and toured extensively around the states, winning numerous amateur and local pro tournaments plus two prestigious Super Tour events. He turned Professional in 2001 and began his design career assisting with the flagship WNC course, Richmond Hill in Asheville. Jay designs courses with a conscious approach and respect for nature and wildlife. 

Jay lives in Cedar Mountain, NC and has worked for Gaia Herbs for over 23 years. He received a degree in Horticulture and was a landscape designer and installer around the Atlanta area before moving to WNC.  When not playing and designing disc golf courses, Jay is an avid mountain biker, hiker and naturalist. He also enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with his wife Danna, and daughter Summer.

Justin Menickelli (PDGA #31347)

Justin is an Associate Professor at Western Carolina University where he teaches courses in motor behavior, sport psychology, and beginning disc golf. He earned a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University, a M.A.Ed. in Physical Education from Western Carolina University, and a B.S. in Exercise Science from S.U.N.Y. Cortland.  In 2014, he was bestowed the EDGE/PDGA Award in recognition for teaching disc golf to young people and growing the sport at the grass-roots level. 

In 2015, he was elected to the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) where he served two terms from 2015 - 2021. In 2016, he co-authored the critically acclaimed book, The Definitive Guide to Disc Golf (Triumph Books, Chicago). Justin has also published numerous articles about disc golf, received several grants to fund disc golf workshops, and designed courses for college campuses and K-12 schools. When not playing, teaching, or designing disc golf courses, he enjoys mountain biking and alpine skiing. Justin lives in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina with his wife, Kristin, two sons, Aidan and Noah, and his daughter Addison.

Ryan Pickens (PDGA #12234)

Ryan has been playing disc golf for over 25 years and joined the PDGA in 1996 and currently holds a 969 professional rating. He has played competitively for the past 25 years with 21 career wins, including winning the Norwegian Advanced Championship in Oslo Norway, and a top 25 finish in the 2012 Master's Disc Golf World Championship held in Charlotte, NC. Ryan designed and taught PE: 143 The Disc Golf Experience for academic credit at Mars Hill University for over a decade. He has given multiple private lessons, facilitated corporate disc golf team-building exercises, and published several articles about disc golf.  Ryan is passionate about the mental side of disc golf and creating intentional training.  He is the co-author of The Definitive Guide to Disc Golf.  

When not working on disc golf he is a professional strategy and organizational development specialist offering business consulting and management coaching through www.workwithmeaning.com. Ryan earned an M.A. in Organizational Development and Transformation from the California Institute of Integral Studies and a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University.  Ryan lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife Kelly, daughter Ellora Don and son Andrew Bentley.

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