Earlier this week, a major collegiate sporting event quietly kicked off in North Augusta, South Carolina. The event runs through April 14th and includes top-flight athletics programs from across the country, including Texas A&M, NC State, Mississippi State, University of Georgia, Clemson, and Purdue. The event, believe it or not, is the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship. Disc golf is one of the most rapidly growing sports in the country with incredible upside. Here are a few reasons why you should pick up some plastic this spring.
Disc Golf: Everyone’s Game
Disc golf, commonly referred to as frisbee golf or “frolf,” shares more than just the nomenclature of ball golf. But, instead of being played with a ball, clubs, and holes, disc golf is played with plastic flying discs and baskets. The rules are the same: try and toss the disc into the basket in the fewest throws. Players make their initial throw from a designated tee area much like in golf and make each consecutive throw from the spot their last toss landed. Courses offer a variety of terrains and obstacles, giving rise to the same challenges a player would encounter with a ball and a club.
Due to the equipment involved, the game is relatively easy to pick up. Most people have thrown a frisbee at some point in their lives, meaning that they already understand the basic physical mechanics of the game.
Getting Up and Outside
The most obvious reason to play disc golf is the outdoor aspect of the game. Indoor courses are few and far between, so the majority of disc golf is played outside. Each course across the country offers a different view. For instance, Burgess Park in Marstons Mills, Massachusetts winds its way through a heavily wooded area. Wolf Pen Creek Park in College Station, Texas crosses large, open fields and features an infuriating water hazard. With outdoor courses in every state in the country, budding players should have no problem locating a spot to experience a local landscape.
Cheaper Than Bowling
One of the most common barriers to picking up a new hobby is cost. Fortunately, the game is relatively cheap. Most disc golf courses crop up on publicly owned land, often regulated by municipal parks and recreation departments. As such, pay-to-play courses are rather rare.
The game itself does not require expensive equipment for a novice player to get a feel for the game and become accustomed to the rules. The two major disc manufacturers, Innova and Discraft, sell some individual discs for less than $10 and starter sets that include a driver, midrange disc, and putter for less than $30. That being said, it is not necessary to have a golf-specific disc to play the game. With an understanding of the rules, disc golf can be played using any plastic flying disc (Ultimate or otherwise).
Camaraderie and Culture
While disc golf is a sport that can be played alone (an attractive concept for introverts with cabin fever), most people do not. In a survey conducted in March 2015, 81.5% of those surveyed claimed they disc golf in a group of two or larger. Much like golf, disc golf involves its fair share of downtime while waiting for other players to make their throws. As a result, the sport becomes as much a social gathering as it does a social activity. Local and regional leagues often sprout up around specific courses. These leagues can vary in size and meet regularly to play and socialize.
As accessible as the sport is, disc golf presents a very inclusive culture. People of all ages, occupations, and levels of athleticism are able to enjoy the sport together. The variance in levels of ability creates a judgment-free culture. At any point, there may be first-timers, novices, and professionals sharing a course or playing group. Higher-level players will often offer advice to new players or player unfamiliar with the course.
How To Get Started
To find a local course, check out Disc Golf Course Review. This site offers pictures, terrain descriptions, course conditions, and even player ratings for thousands of course all over the country.
It is recommended that players testing out the sport start out with a midrange disc, usually on the cheaper side. The Discraft Buzzz and the Innova Shark are popular starting discs. If you are looking for variety in your shots, consider the Discraft Beginner Disc Golf Set or the Innova Disc Golf DX 3-Disc Set.
If you are looking for some more information on the sport, there is no better source than the sport’s national governing body, the Professional Disc Golf Association.
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