Disc golf is one of the country’s fastest growing sports. Formerly known as Frisbee, the first official course dates back to Pasadena, Calif. in 1975. Fast-forward 36 years and the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) counts more than 40,000 members and nearly 3,300 courses around the United States. Disc golf also has expanded to a worldwide community.
As its name indicates, disc golf is similar in many respects to conventional golf. Substitute a little white ball for a flying disc or Frisbee, and aim instead for a metal basket that sits about waist-high off the ground. The goal is to complete each hole with the fewest strokes, or throws in the case of disc golf.
According to PDGA officials, a golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target, which is the “hole.” As a player progresses down the fairway, they must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. With most courses built in a park-like setting, trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer. After the disc golfer “putts” the disc into the basket, the hole is completed.
With the average length of a disc golf course in the 5,000 to 7,000 foot range, participants certainly get a good workout. Depending on the terrain, it can be a significant workout. For example, the West Sound Disc Golf Association (WSDGA) in Kitsap County, Washington, is about to christen a brand new course: The Bud Pell Course at Ross Farms, which measure at about 7,300 feet. WSDGA officials say the new course introduces the first par four and par file holes in Kitsap County, with longer holes becoming a national trend. The course has one par five, which measures 1,022 feet.
In addition to the social aspect of the game, there is a lot of cardio workout involved with disc golf. The sport provides upper and lower body conditioning, aerobic exercise, and promotes a combination of physical and mental abilities that allows very little risk of physical injury, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association web site.
Disc Golf Tips
For those just starting out in the game, it’s essential to know that there are a wide number of discs that are available in the market. The weight of the disc helps you decide which disc to choose. Beginners must opt for lighter discs which will glide well and fly straight. Heavy discs are difficult to control.
Distance and accuracy come with proper technique and practice. It’s important to keep your disc flat when releasing it. Throwing distance will increase with time and practice.
Grip is also very important, just like in conventional golf. Your grip on the disc must be such that all four fingers are under the disc. The disc must be held firmly, but at the same time your grip must be loose enough to let your forearm and wrist move freely. Your thumb should be on the edge of the disc.
Proper shoulder rotation is important for the muscle power in disc golf. When throwing the disc, your elbow extension will be the main source of power. Once the disc is thrown, a good follow through – just like in baseball or conventional golf – will not only help you avoid injuries but improve your performance as well.
Like regular golf, it’s important to simply enjoy the sport. Having fun and enjoying the camaraderie will make disc golf something you’ll want to experience over and over again, no matter your age, gender, or social status. Another benefit: There are no green fees involved!
For more information about disc golf, or to find a course near you, visit www.pdga.com.