Enjoying nature and being active are my primary factors when picking hobbies. Because of this, I naturally became curious about disc golf when my fiancé introduced the sport to me this year. A disc golfing outing allows me to walk in nature, be competitive and get in some quality time with him as well.
Disc golf is similar to traditional golf, but with plastic flying discs instead of golf balls and clubs. The courses are either 9 or 18 holes, have tee boxes, a set par and the goal is to have the lowest score. The main difference being throws vs. strokes and that disc golf tends to be free. Many public parks have disc golf courses, although some former golf courses are being turned into disc golf courses where carts can be rented and tee times selected. However, most disc golfers play for free in local places, making disc golf an affordable outdoor activity for people of all ages, skill levels and economic statuses.
Starter packs of discs can typically be found at outdoor stores such as Academy or Dicks or online. I started with this pack for under $20. Once I got more interested and invested we bought some Dynamic Discs. We also like our Westside Discs. The biggest piece of advice is after buying discs, put your name and number on the bottom of them using a Sharpie. The number of discs we have lost and found is rather astounding, but as long as they have information, we contact the owners and return them.
If you are interested in disc golf and want to find a course nearby you can download the UDisc app, which is available in the App Store and on Google Play. It allows you to see the number of holes, distance and par for each hole, other players rating of the course and the current conditions and directions to the course. The app also has the capability for you to create a scorecard at that course and keep score, along with tracking your distance on each throw.
Just like golf, there are different discs for each purpose — distance driver, mid-range and a putter. If you’re just starting out, it is encouraged to practice with a mid-range or a putter because they tend to be easier to control. Each disc has a specific speed that it needs to be thrown and variable rates of turn. So if a tree is in the course that needs to be avoided, then a disc with a higher rate of turn might be used than if the basket was on a straightaway.
Having a disc for every purpose can be helpful but difficult to carry. We love our disc golf bags — this one holds up to 18 discs and a water bottle (we normally keep the discs we use the most in the top compartment while on the course). I use this bag because it is slightly smaller and fits my frame better. It can hold up to 10 discs and my water bottle and has a pocket for my phone/keys.
If you’re looking for a new hobby or activity to do that gets you moving in the great outdoors, then disc golf is a great option! It can be played alone or with a group of friends, builds muscles, provides aerobic exercise and only costs about $15 startup cost. So get outside and get (disc) golfing!
Michelle Bufkin is a freelance communication specialist who enjoys a variety of outdoor activities — from agriculture to adventure sports.