Updated: Sep 24, 2019
January of 2016 offered an entire new beginning for two friends Gabe Dao & Kristopher VanBecelaere living in Tulsa, OK. In a 1993 Chevy Conversion van the two of them headed out west on Interstate 40. They went not only to to explore the western United States but also were in search of a clear mind and the new habits of living on the road.
The two of them split everything they had to make this trip happen. They would journey through ten states, putting thousands of miles on the very capable older van. In the 8 months of their epic journey they visited many of the National Parks seeing places like the Sierras of California & The Cascades of Washington. Hiking, long boarding & playing lots of basketball was how they would spend time in between parks and states. But the one activity that was new to them was Disc Golf. Once arriving in Colorado they met up with a friend, Ryan Tracy who had some extra discs. They played a disc golf course, Johny Roberts in Arvada, Colorado. After the round they bought Innova Starter Packs & immediately they were hooked.
Gabe and Kris were playing every disc golf course in the Denver and Boulder areas. On the weekends they would drive further and find courses in the Rockies. Camping in the van left plenty of time to watch every disc golf video on Youtube. They settled in Denver for a few months and were refining their skills. But summer was ending and the commitments of the fall season brought Gabe & Kris home to Tulsa. But just like the new beginnings of the van trip eight months previous, they found that Tulsa had a thriving Disc Golf community and many excellent courses. In September of 2016, playing a casual round at Hunter Park in South Tulsa they met Bobby Cox and invited him to join them in a TDSA tournament at Chandler park later that month.
After playing for a few months in Tulsa Gabe & Kris really wanted to go out to Colorado again. There was a really awesome course in Colorado, Beaver Ranch Disc Golf Course that Gabe, Kris & Bobby all wanted to play. They invited their friend Isaac George who at the time hadn’t ever seriously played disc golf but was excited to fly his drone around the Mountains. The four of them loaded up Bob’s Mom’s van and headed up to Colorado. That was the first time that an idea of starting some sort of media company had been floated.
So by the end of the year they were playing almost every local mini and started to get to know the disc golfers in town. One of those disc golfers that they were starting to hangout with was Blaine Williams. The four of them started playing tournaments together all over Oklahoma and became friends. One afternoon they were watching some coverage on Youtube and started to explore the idea of filming their own local tournament. A couple weeks later Kris bought a used drone & started to fly the local courses and publishing the fly throughs on Youtube. The thought, being that people could look up a course that they hadn’t played before and get a good perspective before traveling.
There connection to the local tournament directors was Blaine & he had been active in the Tulsa disc golf community for a couple years at that point so he was able to get permission to film the next tournament in town, The King Of McClure. With their smart phones they were able to record the entire 18 holes with two camera angles and drone fly throughs. That was the start of GK Pro providing coverage for local tournaments. Over the next few months the guys traveled all over Oklahoma filming tournaments. As they slowly started to gain a following and refine the production process for filming and editing the Oklahoma Open invited them to film the 2018 tournament.
The 2018 Oklahoma Open was the first break through moment for GK Pro with Eagle McMahon’s Ace on hole hole 6 in the final round and fierce competition with the 2018 World Champion, Greg Barsby. This gave them regional name recognition and opened up the opportunity to start filming tournaments in Texas. Matt Siri who had worked with GK Pro on smaller tournaments invited GK Pro to the film chase card at the 2019 Nick Hyde Memorial Open in Texas.
When the DGPT introduced a bidding system, GK Pro felt confident that they could provide quality coverage and decided to bid on The Ledgestone Insurance Open & Idlewild Open. In July of the 2019 season the DGPT hired GK Pro for the first time to provide post production coverage of the Disc Golf Pro Tour. With the success of these tournaments GK Pro topped over 10,000 subscribers on Youtube.
At the time of this article being written the crew at GK Pro still all work full time jobs outside of disc golf but continue to refine their skills in multimedia production. Kris the founder of GK Pro works as a drone pilot and pretty much spends all his extra time working behind the scenes on GK Pro business projects for the 2020 season. Blaine Williams has stepped up to fulfill the role of throw cam and liaisons between the tournament directors and GK Pro. Gabe Dao works on commentary with Bobby Cox and also they both film catch cam and the reaction cam. In addition Bob is part of the post production process helping Kris with the editing. Isaac George provides technical assistance to the film and post production process and also assist Kris with some day to day operations at GK Pro.
Behind the scenes at GK Pro they are working on post production FPO coverage for the DGPT MVP Open & The Green Mountain Championship and also getting ready for the 2020 season. GK Pro is ramping up it’s online store with over ten products for sale from discs to apparel. If you are interested in supporting the disc golf community and specifically would like to support more coverage of disc golf then be sure to support GK Pro through their online store & patreon account https://www.patreon.com/GKpro/overview. And as always, by subscribing to disc golf channels and liking the coverage videos on youtube will help grow the disc golf community.