Intro to Disc Golf

"So what have you been up to?" a friend asks me over a beer and some backyard bar-b-que.

"Oh, not too much. Working, non-stop kid stuff... quite a bit of disc golf," I reply, "yeah, more than a bit of disc golf."

My friend glances at me looking confused, "Disco? You have been dancing to disco?"

Disco would probably make more sense to the typical pedestrian. Just today I was out in a field throwing discs and I was hailed down by two women walking by who wanted to know if I was practicing for a frisbee league. Their words, not mine.

Disc golf is still a pretty well hidden secret, but I do feel like word is spreading to some degree. Summer means that our public courses are getting more crowded, which actually surprised me after the last 6 months of rarely seeing anybody.

So now you're ready to join the fun, your buddies are telling you that you're missing out and you're ready to give it a go - but you want to know a few things so you don't look worse than you have to. Below are a few tips that would have helped me when I started; things that I learned the hard way.

  1. Buy a disc or two. Most sporting goods stores will sell a beginner pack for about $20-30 that'll have everything you need. If you want to buy individual discs, grab a putter and a mid-range. Leave drivers for later down the line, they're really hard to throw for beginners even if they look cool. Write your name and # on the bottom so that if you lose it, you'll have at least a chance of getting it back. I've gotten a handful of calls for discs I didn't even realize I'd left behind, and that's always a welcome surprise.
  2. Where do you go to play disc golf? Disc Golf Course Review. Pop your zip code in there and grab directions to a course near you. Trust me when I say STAY OUTTA THE FORUMS unless you want to see the depths of disc golf obsession in full bloom.
  3. Wear some comfortable walking shoes and bring some water or Gatorade, because courses can be a few miles long and might take a couple hours (especially when you are hunting for lost discs). Flip flops are a bad idea.
  4. You're at the course parking lot and now what? Quite often the layouts are confusing to the uninitiated - and the tee pads might not be marked too well. Hopefully there is a map on a board somewhere that'll show you the basic layout of the course. You might do some wandering around asking people where the next tee-box is, it's okay - we've all been lost before. If there's a map online at dgCourseReview - it's worth printing out to help keep your bearings. If all else fails, the tee-box's SHOULD be numbered so you can hopefully figure it out.
  5. Throw your disc and walk, repeating this until you toss it in the chains and start hunting for the next tee-box. In the beginning you don't need to worry about your score, you just want to enjoy yourself - don't get bent out of shape if the discs don't go where you want them to - sometimes you'll have great shots and some will be less than great.
  6. Watch your disc like a hawk. It's pretty crazy how you'll think you know where it landed and then you find that it's not actually where you would have testified in court that it landed. Try to pick out land marks or anything you can get a reference on - because hunting for lost discs is not the most fun aspect of the game. They roll, skip and bounce all over the place and will nestle under anything that allows for some nestling.
  7. If people are right behind you or waiting while you're hunting for a lost disc, it's polite to offer to let them play through. It's absolutely fine to take your time and stroll through the park enjoying the day with your friends - but holding up people who want to play at a faster pace is bad news. If somebody asks to play through, let them cruise on by and say hello. Disc golfers are almost always a friendly crew.
  8. Watch out for pedestrians, bikers and other disc golfers. If you think you might hit somebody - don't throw until it's clear. There was a story not long ago about a woman who lost an eye due to being hit in the face with a bad drive at a small disc golf course. The last thing you want to do is to ruin somebodies day or life by hitting them. If you realize too late that you might hit somebody you didn't see - yell FORE! really loud as soon as possible. Don't start throwing on a hole until the people in front of you have cleared out, just wait and that'll help you avoid any problems.
  9. Leave the course nicer than you found it. Picking up a a little trash goes a long way in the eyes of the disc golf gods. Keeping the disc golf gods happy will mean less lost discs, less missed putts and of course learning to drive 400' after a few rounds... trust me, it works!
  10. Finally, prepare for the addiction. It's fun and the learning curve is not as steep as it first appears. 

22 comments:

  1. I started playing late Nov. 2015...and I'm totally addicted, hooked!

    Trash, since I was a kid it hurt to see that people could just throw their trash on the ground! So for quite some time I've been a trash picker-upper. I bring along with me a couple of bags while out on the course. I'm astonished how much trash are out in our parks! It's just not the disc golfers though..it comes from people in & around the area who are using the various things around the disc golf parks.

    SO, please clean up if you see any trash, only takes a few seconds! Keep America beautiful!

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