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What is Disc Golf?

Disc Golf is One of Today’s Largest and Fastest Growing Sports in the World!

Disc golf is one of the best lifetime fitness sports.  It is easy to learn, it is a healthy activity and it is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels.  The sport of disc golf evolved as an offshoot of the many games spawned by the Frisbee® craze. The game started with people using Frisbees and aiming at targets made up of trees, trash cans, light poles, pipes, and whatever else was handy. . If you can throw a Frisbee® and you like to have fun, you can play disc golf.

When you’re trying to tell friends about your passion for disc golf, they will grasp the concept more quickly if you use the term ‘frisbee golf’ instead.  So why isn’t the game called frisbee golf?  “Frisbee” is a registered trademark much like “Kleenex” is in the tissue world, so we must call the game ‘disc golf’ and explain from there.  Oddly enough, the company which produces Frisbee toys makes very few golf discs.

Disc golf is similar to regular golf; however, instead of using golf clubs and balls aiming for a hole, Disc Golf players use golf discs and aim for a Disc Pole Hole, a pole extending up from the ground with chains and a basket where the disc lands.

The sport was formalized in the 1970’s, and shares with “ball golf” the object of completing each hole in the fewest number of strokes (or, in the case of disc golf, fewest number of throws). Score is kept the same with the lowest score winning. A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target which is the “hole”. the hole can be one of a number of disc golf targets; the most common is called a Pole Hole® an elevated metal basket.  As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed.  The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer.  Finally, the “putt” lands in the basket and the hole is completed. Disc golf shares the same joys and frustrations of traditional golf, whether it’s sinking a long putt or hitting a tree halfway down the fairway.

There are few differences, though.  Disc golf rarely requires a greens fee, you probably won’t need to rent a cart, and you never get stuck with a bad “tee time.”  Disc golf courses can use a wide variety of terrain.  Often times, land not suitable for other park activities or development is perfect terrain for a disc golf course.

Disc golf offers many of the same pleasures: fresh air in a beautiful landscape, the camaraderie of friends, and the challenge and excitement of combining personal skill and speed to project an object toward a target.  In addition, disc golfers can feel better about themselves and their environment, knowing that chemical pollutants aren’t being used to keep their playing fields looking good, nor do acres of trees need to be clear-cut or wetlands filled in, as is sometimes the case for too many ball golf courses.  And perhaps best of all, disc golf is inexpensive.  At retail prices between $7 and $20, lost discs are more easily replaced than your typical nine-iron. The only equipment you need is a flying disc, and most disc golf courses are located in municipal parks, which admit players for free or charge a minimal fee for daily or yearly access.

Trees shrubbery, water and terrain changes offer plenty of hazards to avoid, and it becomes very possible to lose a disc in areas with thick growth, tall trees or (SPLASH!) deep water.

As of 2010, there were more than 3,000 established courses, nearly all of them free to play and more being designed and implemented all the time.  Most of these courses are 9, 18, or 27 holes and vary in length and difficulty.  Holes lengths vary, but are generally as short as 150 feet and sometimes as long as 900 feet.  Pro players compete in more than 390 sanctioned tournaments and a Worlds Championship annually. The positive experience with Disc Golf and the growing demand for courses have led to the expansion of the sport all over the country, from small towns to urban areas.

Bottom line: disc golf can be big fun for everyone regardless of age, gender or economic status.

Who Plays Disc Golf?

Disc golf can be played from school age to old age, making it one of the greatest lifetime fitness sports available.  Specially-abled and disabled participate, giving them the opportunity to take part in a mainstream activity. Because disc golf is so easy to learn, no one is excluded.  Players merely match their pace to their capabilities, and proceed from there.  The game draws a friendly, easy-going crowd of 500,000 regular players who welcome and encourage new players. Traditionally dominated by 18 to 54-year-old males, the field of disc golf players has expanded greatly in recent years to include many women and families.  Kids love it, it’s a cheap date and a great excuse to get a little outdoor exercise.

The Professional Disc Golf Association, with a member base of 40,000+, is the governing body for the sport and sanctions competitive events for men and women of every skill level from novice to professional. Permanent disc golf courses are found in countries worldwide.

Where do I play?

Many city parks have golf courses already set up.  Most are free to play as often as you like. Disc golfers who do not have the benefit of a permanent disc golf facility in their area often “make up” courses in nearby parks and green spaces.

One of the great features disc golf shares with traditional golf is that they are both played in beautiful settings.  A nine-hole disc golf course can be established on as little as five acres of land, and a championship-caliber 18-hole course on 30 to 40 acres.  Disc golf courses can coexist with existing park facilities and activity areas.  The ideal location combines wooded and open terrains, and a variety of topographical change.

The need for more courses is constant, as the sport continues to grow in popularity.  One of the best sources for information about disc golf courses in your area is called DG Course Review

Why should I play?

The ongoing fitness boom finds more and more people taking up recreational activities in an effort to improve health and quality of life.  Disc golf provides upper and lower body conditioning, aerobic exercise, and promotes a combination of physical and mental abilities that allow very little risk of physical injury.  Concentration skills increase by mastering shots and negotiating obstacles.  Players of limited fitness levels can start slowly and gradually increase their level of play as fitness improves.  Scheduling is also flexible; a round takes one to two hours, and may be played alone, eliminating the difficulty of scheduling tee times.  And as in traditional golf, disc golfers find themselves “hooked;” increasing the likelihood of frequent participation.  Disc golf offers year-round fitness, even in rain or snow.  Perhaps the greatest attribute of the sport is the expense – or rather, the lack of it. A professional quality disc costs less than $20, and it only takes one for basic play.

And, of course, there’s the sheer fun of the game – no matter what your age or skill level!

So get out there and play Disc Golf – It’s in the Air!!!