Disc Golf – what is it? And who plays it?
The short answer to the first question is that Disc Golf is basically golf with flying discs, similar to Frisbees®, instead of balls. In this game the “hole” is most often a Pole Hole®, which is an elevated metal basket.
The answer to the second question is ANYONE! That’s right – anyone can play. Men, women, children, seniors, people with physical limitations, tall people, short people, large people, small people – literally, almost anyone can play Disc Golf. Because it can be played from school age to old age, its players believe it is one of the greatest lifetime fitness sports available.
So what do you need to play? I stopped by Discinsanity, a retail outlet in Allentown, PA to talk to the owner, Jeff Cope, about just that. I was treated to a tour of his store and he showed me discs of all types and dollar values. I saw a selection of other equipment for the Disc Golf aficionado, as well.
The foremost manufacturer of disc golf equipment is Innova. Latitude 64, Discraft, MVP and Prodigy are other recognizable names to regular players. There are many smaller companies that are beginning to pop up as this sport becomes more and more popular. A good, quality disc can be purchased for as little as $10. The better discs are in the 15 to 30 dollar range. Of course there are limited edition collector’s discs available for purchase, which can be quite expensive but for the most part, the equipment needed to play this game regularly, really isn’t.
A beginner can learn to play the game with just one disc. Jeff suggested to me though, that once someone gives it a try and decides to continue playing, they might want to look for a “kit” or “package deal” for discs. Those would be starter sets that include one of each of the different types of discs skilled players use to play. A good set would include a Driver, a Mid-Range and a Putter disc. Smaller marker discs are also sold and are used just as markers are in golf. They mark your place on the course between shots, if you are playing in a group. Many have cool images on them.
One of the biggest draws to playing disc golf is that is it often played in a beautiful setting, just like traditional golf. Each course is unique and has its own challenges. The best courses have topographical changes aplenty. This means there are open terrains as well as wooded areas, water, hills and declining surfaces. Another great aspect of playing is that there are almost never any greens fees or other fees of any kind and tee times are usually not necessary, either.
UDisc is an app that can be downloaded and will help you find disc golf courses in any given area. If you would like to watch professional disc golfers in competition, YouTube is the place to do so. DGPT stands for the Disc Golf Pro Tour and that is the structure for tournament play which includes a group of caretakers of the game, so to speak. You can read all about it at www.dgpt.com. The Pro Disc Golf Association (PDGA) is the governing body for these contests and is responsible for making, revising and enforcing the game’s rules. It has over 100,000 members in 47 countries.
When I was at Discinsanity, Jeff told me that he believes the best way to improve your game is to work backwards on your throws. He thinks that if you can get good at putting, practice your mid range throws next and then work on your drives last, you will eventually be playing a more complete game without getting discouraged easily. That advice from someone who has been playing for a long time, made a lot of sense to me – so much so that I want to try the game myself.
To get a better idea of just how a person gets into playing disc golf, I spoke to Matt Miller, a local disc golfer who has been playing since high school. I asked Matt why he got into the sport; what drew him to it? He said it was a simple case of having nothing to do and hearing his friends talking about playing. He decided to give it a try and has been hooked ever since. Matt said that in his opinion it is a game for anyone. He even plays with his younger brothers from time to time, because it is something they can all do together. Matt says he sees mostly men out on the courses and he would like to see more women playing. He thinks the sport would benefit from more diversity.
So, there you are – Disc Golf. It sounds like a blast to me. According to both Jeff and Matt, there are players who play year round. Both of these guys play whenever they get the chance. I’m not sure when I’ll give it a try but look for my follow-up article then. I want to share everything about my experience with all of you.
Until next time, Eyes to the Sky.