WHAT IS DISC GOLF?
Disc golf is similar to traditional ‘ball’ golf, but played with a flying disc. The object of the game is to complete the course with the fewest number of throws of the disc. Each hole begins in a designated tee area and ends at a target, generally an elevated basket. The initial ‘drive’ is made from the tee pad. Each consecutive throw is made from the place where the disc came to rest after the last throw. The hole is completed by landing the disc in the basket. Courses are typically 9, 18 or 24 holes. Hole lengths vary, but generally fall between 150 and 500 feet each. Trees, shrubbery, water and terrain changes offer plenth of hazards to avoid, but also a beautiful landscape to play in.
Disc golf is a game that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. Kids love it, it is a cheap date and a great excuse to get a little outdoor exercise. Disc golf can be fun for everyone, regardless of age, gender or economic status. Disc golf offers many pleasures, including the camaraderie of friends and the challenge and excitement of combining personal skill and speed to project an object towards a target.
The only equipment required for disc golf is a set of discs. Disc golf discs are generally 8-9 inches in diameter and weigh 150-180 grams. There are three categories of discs: Putters, Mid-range and Drivers. Typically players would have at least one of each type of disc.
Putters – these discs are designed to fly straight, predictably and slowly. They are used when tight control of the disc is required, mainly close to the basket. They are sometimes also used for short drives where trees or other obstacles come into play.
Mid-range – these discs have a slightly sharper edge that enables them to cut throught the air better. They are usually more stable than a driver with a more predictable flight path. They are faster and have a longer range than putters.
Drivers – these discs have a sharp bevelled edge and most of their mass is concentrated on the outer rim of the disc, rather than distributed equally throughout. They are typically split into different categories such as: distance drivers, fairway drivers, extra-long drivers, etc.
HISTORY OF DISC GOLF
The specific origins of disc golf are not known, as it seems to have started up in many different places, by many different groups of people. One of the early accounts of the game was a group of school children in Vancouver, BC who played a game they called Tin Lid Golf. They played on a regular basis on a course they laid out around their school grounds. Unfortunately, as with most of the early stories, the children grew up and seemed to forget about the game.
Disc golf, as it is played today, started sometime in the 1960s. A group of students in Houston, Texas were playing as early as 1964 with trees as the targets. Another group in Augusta, Georgia played with 50-gallon trash cans. In the late 1960s, George Sappenfield from California, introduced the game to many adults by planning a Disc Golf Tournament as part of a recreation project. Wham-O Manufacturing supplied frisbees for throwing and hula hoops for the targets. In the early 1970s courses began to crop up in various places in the Midwest and the East Coast. Ed Headrick, who worked at Wham-o toys designed and installed the first standardized target course in California.
In Rochester, New York, a group began a regular league in 1970, including an annual tournament each year. In 1973, they decided to make their annual tournament a national tournament to see how many other people around the country were interested in playing the game. They called it the American Flying Disc Open and gave away a 1974 automobile as a prize. Afterwards, Ed Headrick hired the winner of the tournament, Dan Roddick to work for Wham-o’s new Sport Promotion Department. Upon Roddick’s urging, disc golf was included as a sport in the 1975 World Frisbee Championships. This introduced the sport of disc golf to thousands of Frisbee players. Headrick formed the first disc golf association, the PDGA, which now officiates the standard rules of play for the sport. Currently there are more than 3000 courses in the US, and another 3000 around the world, in more than 40 countries.