Leon Sonnleitner: The most efficient shot isn’t always the prettiest, but nothing is prettier than a low score in this game.

Leon Sonnleitner: The most efficient shot isn’t always the prettiest, but nothing is prettier than a low score in this game.

Meet Leon Sonnleitner, a 19-year-old Austrian with a passion for disc golf. With his sponsorship by Latitude 64, a thriving YouTube channel with over 5000 followers where he shares his rounds and knowledge, and plans to tour Europe for the season, it's clear that his dedication to the sport runs deep. But what's the story behind this rising star? Let's find out!

When did you first discover disc golf, and what inspired you to start playing?

I started playing when I was around 9 years old. My dad introduced me to the game shortly after discovering it himself, and we just kind of learned the game together. I honestly don't know why I enjoyed it so much instantly, but I guess it was a mix of spending time outside playing with my dad and me being very competitive from a very young age. Many of my earliest disc golf memories are actually from putting in our garden after school and field working with my dad trying to get over the 50m mark on the field, so I guess I just always liked practicing.

Your YouTube channel has seen significant growth recently, receiving praise from DG Spin Doctor, among others. What motivated you to create content on YouTube?

The owner of one of my sponsors, an Austrian shop called discgolf4you, has wanted me on his team for a while but it just never really happened. When I made the switch from Discmania to Latitude 64 after the '22 season, I decided that I wanted to step up my social media game because that was and is kind of lacking in the Central European region. I saw the opportunity to make a name for myself online, which is part of being sponsored in my opinion, and called up Martin with my idea and asked if he was interested in working something out in that direction. We quickly found a way that helps us both out, and that's really the entire story. I honestly didn't expect such quick success at all so that is really cool.

What are your plans for this season? Which tournaments are you looking forward to the most?

Since I have the privilege to be in the professional sports program of the Austrian military, I have the chance to play almost all of the DGPT events that will take place in Europe this year, which is something that I am very grateful for. So I will play those tournaments basically from May to August, and before and after that, I will play locally, at least that's the plan right now. In November, I will play the Team Worlds in Australia, which will be an exciting way to end the season.

I’m really looking forward to Krokhol Open because I played so terribly there last year and I want to show myself that I can do better now. I’m also really looking forward to the Swedish Open because I enjoyed playing there last year.

Leon Sonnleitner
PDGA Europe photo

What are your goals for the year and/or disc golf career?

I have plenty of goals for the season but I won't talk about all of them. The main goal is to get better every day and push myself to the limit in the process of getting better. Last year my mental game cost me a lot, so I hope I can make those corrections this year. I try not to think about results goals too much because that isn't really something I can control; there are so many factors that play into it. The goal for me is always the same, trying to figure out what is holding my game back and improving on that. All I can do is continue to put in quality work and trying to get better over time, and whatever happens happens.

How long have you been sponsored by Latitude 64? Could you tell us more about how that partnership came about?

I joined the team in January 2023. I was sponsored by Discmania at first, but after a very successful 2022 season, I was not happy with what they offered me for a contract extension. Since I knew from my friend Jakub Semerad that Latitude 64 treated their players very well and that he was super happy with Latitude 64, I asked him for the email address of the manager. Only a few days later I signed the contract for 2023, and this year I extended with them!

If you had to play a round with only three discs, which ones would you choose and why?

Royal Grand Hope - I can putt with it and also get some very good distance out of it off the tee, which means I wouldn’t need a midrange. Super versatile disc.

Fuzion-X Felon - Very nice run of the Felon that I can use for forehands and backhands. If I need it to go straight I can just throw it really hard, but it also has enough stability for some creative shot shapes.

Opto-X Glimmer Ballista Pro - Nice and stable distance machine. I can make a lot of Par 4s very simple with this disc because it just goes so far. I’m not sure if this disc is the best option but it definitely is the most fun option.

Leon Sonnleitner
PDGA Europe photo

What would your dream card look like?

There are so many players to choose from that I would like to make a card with 20 people. But out of all the people I have played with I think this would be the lineup:

Paul McBeth - the GOAT of the game and a super nice guy that I have gotten a lot of valuable advice from, even during rounds.

Niklas Anttila - Very nice guy to play with and a great player to learn from.

Jakub Semerad - great guy and player, also a fun guy on the round which always helps my game.

And then I would have my dad caddie for me because he knows my game and my mind very well, so I always play better and have more fun when he caddies for me.

If you could have any fictional character as your caddy, who would it be and why?

Probably Alan from the Hangover movies. Most likely wouldn’t be a very low scoring round but it would be fun for sure.

What's a pro tip you would give new players?

Find out which way of practice works for you and consistently put in work with a goal in mind for every session. Every shot you throw should have a target in my opinion, because that's what this game is all about. Also, keep the game simple. The most efficient shot isn’t always the prettiest, but nothing is prettier than a low score in this game.