I started playing disc golf 3 1/2 years ago, pretty much against my will.
Give me craft beer, a football game, and a couch and I’m in heaven. So when a friend of mine asked me to go play disc golf with him, I laughed. Play with a Frisbee? I don’t think so. That sounds about as fun as croquet! “Nah, I’ll just stay here and watch the Texans”, I said. My friend
continued to nag persisted until finally one Sunday when the Texans had the week off, I gave in, and played disc golf with him. Isn’t it strange how we initially resist some of the best things that come to us?
Three years later, I’m addicted to the sport. My kids like to go with me now. As a father, there are few things more rewarding than playing sports or sharing a hobby with your kids. All three of my boys and my oldest daughter love to play. Aside from being able to get my disc golf fix, our trips to the local disc golf course give me an opportunity to get outdoors, enjoy some exercise and spend quality time with my kids.
I’m sure that 90% of you have never considered playing disc golf, much less with your kids. That’s why I’m writing this article, to convince you to drink the Kool-Aid.
Disc golf is similar to ball golf in that the goal is to get the ball or disc from a tee to a target. In the case of disc golf, the target is a set of chains with a collection basket at the bottom. Both sports have pars, birdies and bogeys etc. Watch this short video.
Yes, it is easier to throw a disc than it is to hit a ball, however, disc golf courses are much more difficult to negotiate. Most holes have twists and turns, trees and vegetation, water hazards and steep up and down terrain to make getting to the basket more difficult. Here are some examples of what a disc golf course looks like,
Instead of different clubs for a variety of situations, you use different discs that are designed to fly in a specific pattern, speed or level of control-ability. Some discs are drivers, mid-ranges, and putters. But enough of this technical mumbo jumbo. Let get to why I think this is the greatest sport in the world.
It’s Ridiculously Fun
There are three elements that make any game fun:
- Having a clear and challenging goal that requires skill to achieve
- The chance to go head to head against another person or team
- The challenge of pushing yourself to beat your previous best
Disc golf has all of of these characteristics, but you don’t have to be super competitive to enjoy getting out into nature and exercising.
Compared to many other sports, disc golf is dirt cheap. You can buy a starter set of three discs for as little as $20. As long as you don’t lose your discs, there are no ongoing expenses. Compare that to regular golf, where you have to pay for exorbitant green fees, as well as expensive balls and equipment.
If you are playing with younger kids, they only need one disc, so you can split the cost of a set. But beware! Disc golf junkies are always coveting new discs, looking for new drivers and putters etc. Between me and my kids we have more than 30 discs.
It’s a Great Way to Get Your Kids Outside
Unlike when I was a kid, and maybe you too, kids don’t usually go outside just to play anymore. Hand my kids an electronic device or turn on a TV, and they aren’t likely to move their lazy carcasses for hours at a time. But, give them a handful of discs and drive them to the disc golf course, and they will happily play for several hours, getting much needed exercise and vitamin D.
You will walk at least two miles while playing the typical disc golf course, Throw in a few hills, and picking up and throwing a disc 70-80 times, and you are guaranteed a good workout. Unlike running or weightlifting, a round of disc golf is easy on your joints.
The Whole Family Can Play
Because it it so inexpensive, everyone in the family can play. You don’t have to all be at the same skill level. Some people love to compete with their friends or in tournaments, while others like to compete with themselves and some of us have a blast just throwing things or getting out for a walk. Disc golf allows for all personality types to have fun. Because most disc golf courses are free, you don’t really need a reason to take your family for an outing.
It Takes Skill
I know how people joke about disc golf not really being a sport. I guess that’s due to it’s pot smoking, tie dyed, hippie background. Butt it really takes a great amount of skill to master. Yes, disc golf is very easy to learn (which makes it so family friendly), but it’s very difficult to master. Just as in ball golf, there are plenty of duffers and hacks, but it takes a truly dedicated and gifted athlete to achieve the highest level of ability. There are so many shots and situations to master that it takes a ton of practice to be truly good at it.
Disc Golf Courses are Almost Everywhere
Since disc golf courses are relatively inexpensive to create, you can find them almost anywhere. This website contains a course locator. I just put in my zip code and it revealed more than 50 courses near me. If you live in the boonies the pickings may be a little slim, otherwise, you might be surprised at how many disc golf courses there are nearby.
It’s Growing In Popularity
Disc golf is becoming a mainstream sport. Yes, it’s true that disc golf has a reputation of being populated by hippies and stoners, but more and more, you see young athletic men, families and couples walking their dogs. Yesterday, we took our standard poodle and he was one of four dogs I saw at the course. I saw a couple of groups of men clearly competing, a couple golfing together and one hard core skilled guy playing alone.
Disc golf was invented in the US so it makes sense that it has traditionally been most popular here. Most of the top disc golfers in the world are still Americans, but that is rapidly changing, because as fast as the sport is growing here, it is nothing compared to Northern Europe and Scandinavia, where disc golf has exploded. No seriously! Everyone in family friendly Norway seems to have picked up the game.
It’s a Real Sport
Despite the opinion that most people have about disc golf, it is rapidly becoming a sport where professionals can make a viable living by touring the world and playing in tournaments. Paul McBeth just signed a record $1,000,000 four year deal with Discraft Discs to represent them while on tour. The professional disc golf tour covers the world with stops all over the US, Australia, Japan, Norway and the Czech Republic.
So why should anyone care. Well, the increased popularity of professional disc golf and golfers means growth to the sport which means more and better courses to play on. So, now is a great time to get your kids involved in a sport that is safe (no concussions) has a lot of competitive opportunities (tournaments are springing up everywhere and for all age groups) and is just plain old fun.
At a time when most kids spend a large amount of their time playing alone with an electronic device, wouldn’t it be great if the whole family could get outside for a family activity? You and your kids and spouse can bond, exercise and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. I can’t think of a better way to spend time together, unless it’s camping. but that’s another story.
I included lots of links with this article. I hope that you watch them and become interested enough to give disc golf a try. If you do, drop me a comment and let me know what you think! Better yet, share a photo with me on my Facebook page or Instagram.
So what does your family do for outdoor fun? I’d love to hear from you!
Brian at Daddy Go To Timeout