On a recent vacation I was searching for nearby mini-golf locations when I came across a course called “DG” instead. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and came face to face with one of my new favorite hobbies, disc golf.
I vaguely remember people raving about disc golf in the past but I completely ignored their ramblings. After all, I don’t golf. Traditional golf is expensive, challenging, time consuming and is best played with people of similar skill level. My skill level is closing my eyes and hoping to make contact with the ball. I’m not exactly someone you want to play a serious round of golf with.
Why play golf when I can eat cheese?
This newly found “disc golf” course peaked my interest and it happened to be only 1 mile from where we were. Best of all, they were only asking for a $1 donation to play. Only a $1? Sign me up!
While we didn’t have an official disc (only a Frisbee), we decided to head out to the course and see what is was all about.
We ended up playing for about an hour as the sun was quickly dropping, but we loved it and vowed to return the next day to finish our game.
What is disc golf?
Disc golf is a game very similar to regular golf. The biggest difference is instead of hitting a ball with a golf club, you’re using a disc to throw in a basket.
Differences between Traditional Golf & Disc Golf
|Feature||Traditional Golf||Disc Golf|
|Equipment needed||Clubs and golf balls||Discs|
|Main equipment||Drivers, Fairway woods, Wedges, Putters||Distance drivers, Fairway driver, Midrange, Putters|
|Course Fees||$$-$$$$||Free or $|
|Time commitment||4 – 5 hours||1 – 2 hours|
|Average Steps in one game||10,000||5,613|
|Goal||Get the ball in the hole in fewest # of strokes||Get the disc in the basket in fewest # of throws|
|Losing equipment||Balls (High)||Discs (Medium)|
|Number of courses in US||11,280+||8,000+|
|Average Course Hole||5,000-7,000 yards||200-240 feet|
Where can I play disc golf?
If disc golf sounds like something you might find enjoyable then you are in luck! Disc golf courses are located all across the world and you can find them just about anywhere (cities, national parks, ski resorts, forested areas and many more locations).
How much does it cost to play disc golf?
For beginner’s just starting out, you can pick up a cheap set of discs for under $20. If you aren’t sure you’ll like disc golf, you can even use a regular Frisbee (though not recommended) until you decide you want to make the investment. We got ours from Big Five as we couldn’t wait for shipping, but Amazon has a great starter set for those starting out.
Can you use a normal Frisbee for disc golf?
If you have a Frisbee lying around and want to go see if you like the sport before you buy a set, I say go for it. We played a couple of games before we purchased our discs. You will find play much more enjoyable once you decide to get the right equipment.
Discs designed specifically for disc golf are more compact and can be thrown much further than a normal Frisbee. Additionally, it is easier for the real discs to land and stay in basket as they are heavier and designed to be “caught” in the chains of the basket.
Course fees range from free to a small donation or fee to enter a park area. The first course we went too asked for a donation of $1 per person to play a round. Many other courses we visited were free except for the cost of a national or state park pass. One state park we went to in Idaho cost $5 per car. The park had 4 disc golf courses right next to each other. Talk about a mecca of disc golf!
The bottom line: Disc golf is a very affordable activity for anyone who wants to give it a try.
Why play disc golf?
1. Supercharge your hiking
If you love hiking and playing Frisbee, this is a match made in heaven. Most disc golf courses are located in beautiful parks or wooded areas. What’s not to like about hiking around and throwing a disc into a basket? It’s a simple way to spice up your hike with a little fun and friendly competition.
2. Burn calories without realizing it
The average disc golf course has participants walking around 5,613 feet which is around 2.5 miles! You get a full body workout throwing your discs through the air and then tracking them down. Additionally, some disc golf courses are hilly, have stairs or extra hazards for you to lose your disc and spend time tracking it down. Play a couple rounds of disc golf and you’ll most certainly be feeling it tomorrow!
Our favorite course to date was up and down the side of Mt. Schweitzer in Idaho. The first 9 holes were at the base of the mountain and the remaining 9 were on top of the mountain. Sure, you could take a chair lift to the top, but why not walk up the hiking trail for an extra exercise boost.
3. Gorgeous views
Many DG courses are located in breath taking areas. Beautiful forests, mountain overlooks, and gleaming lakes may await you at your next course.
Check out this view from a disc golf course at Mt. Schweitzer in Idaho.
4. Wild life sightings
Does the idea of bird watching, spotting little critters or catching a glimpse of a deer, elk or a moose excite you? You could see all these and more running around some disc golf courses. The first course we ever went to a deer was casually strolling through the forest and guarding the next hole.
5. All ages and skill levels can enjoy the game
Disc golf can be enjoyed by the young and the old alike. If you can throw a Frisbee and walk a couple miles, you have everything you need to be a successful Disc Golf player.
For non-competitive players, you can still enjoy the scenery and participate in the game without feeling like you’re holding up game play.
6. It’s an inexpensive hobby
There aren’t many hobbies you can start for less than $20 and enjoy without any experience. I’m all for hobbies that are easy to start and cheap as well!
How can you find a disc golf course?
I was pleasantly surprised to find there are hundreds of disc golf courses across the country. The best resource for locating courses nearby can be found on DG Course Review. They review over 8,000 courses nationwide. I highly recommend checking them out to get all the details you need on a course you’re considering playing.
Downsides of Disc Golf
Losing your favorite disc
The biggest downside by far is losing your disc. Water hazards, tree hazards, thick underbrush and errant throws are begging for you to lose your disc. It didn’t take long for our disc to go sailing through the trees in the wrong direction and quickly disappear.
Can you spot the disc in the tree below?
While losing discs happens more to beginners, it can happen to anyone. When my husband and I play we spend a good portion of our game tracking down discs in the woods. That’s half the fun right?
Were you able to find the disc? Here it is.
Ruh roh. Now that we’ve found the disc, how in the world are we going to get it down?
The good news is that since we’re in the forest there are lots of objects to throw at the disc to get it to come down. What ended up working the best was a rather large tree branch that was heavy enough to toss in the air and knock the disc loose. Close call! We were definitely more careful with our throws after that.
Chance of injury
While most would consider disc golf a very safe activity, your biggest risk is how far you’re willing to go to find your missing disc.
Discs have a tendency to find their way into thick black-berry bushes, precarious balancing acts in trees, in streams or other hard to access areas.
Use caution when trying to retrieve your disc. You don’t want to end up scraping yourself up or ruining your clothes by snagging them on a branch.
The next time you’re looking to get out doors, why not give disc golf a chance?