I was driving through a park recently and passed – what I thought was a golf course – but when I looked more closely at one of the holes, I noticed strange contraption where the cup should have been. I noticed it was for a sport called “Disc Golf”. I had heard of this before but I had never seen a REAL disc golf course.
Yes, Frisbee – or Disc – Golf is a sport and it is a refreshing variation of the traditional form of golf.
Disc Golf isn’t a recently discovered sport. It was actually invented in the 1900s when the first recorded game was played in Bladworth, Saskatchewan in Canada. It was never organized into a sport until the 1970s.
Instead of using golf clubs, players throw a disc at a target on a course with 9 or 18 holes. Players complete a hole by throwing a disc from a tee area toward a target, throwing again from where the previous throw landed, until the target is reached. Usually, the number of throws a player uses to reach each target are tallied (often in relation to par), and players seek to complete each hole in the lowest number of total throws. The “hole” is a strange contraption. Baskets are constructed with a central pole holding a basket under an assembly of hanging chains. When a disc hits the chains, it is often, but not always, deflected into the basket. To complete a hole with a basket target, the disc must enter the target above the top of the tray and below the bottom of the chain support, and come to rest supported by the target.
Believe it or not, there are actually over 6,000 disc golf courses in the United States. The best course in the world is Jarva Discgolf Park in Kista, Sweden. Maple Hill in Leicester, Massachusetts has the top U.S. course. Disc golf is the 4th fastest growing sport in United States. There has been a rapid increase in installed permanent courses with an average of more than 400 new courses added each year between 2007 and 2017. The game is played in about 40 countries and, as of 2019, there are 53,366 active members of the PDGA worldwide.
The top men’s player is Paul McBeth from Huntington Beach, California. He has 126 wins and has made over $400,000 in career earnings. Paige Pierce from Plano, Texas is the top women’s player. She has won 128 events and earned over $218,000. Both are members of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA).
After the coronavirus pandemic caused a two-month hiatus that canceled or postponed 645 events, 36 eager competitors flocked to a golf course in West Point, Utah, this past week for the official return of PDGA-sanctioned play.
Want more information about Disc Golf? Check out these cool books about the sport: