Disc golf (sometimes referred to as Frisbee ® Golf, folf, frolf, or even disk golf) was established as a sport in 1975 with the construction of the first public disc golf course in Oak Grove, CA. The following year the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) was founded as the sport’s governing body. Since this time, disc golf has emerged from its meager and regional roots to become an international sport that is played by many thousands of individuals on over 2,100 courses. There is even a professional disc golf tour that features the sport’s best players.
The object of the sport is very similar to that of golf, except that flying discs (a.k.a. Frisbees ®) are used in place of clubs and balls. Essentially, the course is comprised of 9 to 18 holes that vary in par from 3 to 5 throws per hole. Each hole has a tee box marking the area from which a player must throw the first shot. The hole ends when the player throws his disc into a Pole Hole ® basket (or target)
, although on some older courses the goal is to hit an object like a tree with the disc to “hole out” (known as object courses). Scores are kept in the same manner as ball golf, with the winner being the person with the lowest overall score for the holes played. Many courses also offer alternate tees (i.e. white and blue) to ensure the course is sufficiently challenging for players of all abilities.
Disc golf is played on courses that have been specifically designed for this sport. The majority of courses feature a variety of terrain resulting in challenging and diverse holes. Some holes are carved through forests, making the goal of throwing long, straight shots without hitting obstacles (i.e. trees) very challenging. Others are in more open spaces, like fields, making it somewhat easier for the player to throw shots unimpeded by obstacles. Many disc golf courses exist in public parks or on college campuses, and are generally free to play. Some private courses also exist which charge a nominal fee for an unlimited day of play (generally between $2 - $5 per person), and disc golf country clubs with premium amenities and annual membership fees are emerging as well.
Disc Golf features hazards like ball golf, except in disc golf these hazards are trees, shrubs, boulders, and other obstacles in between the tee and the hole. Much to the dismay of many disc golfers, water hazards exist in this sport as well, as does the concept of “out of bounds” areas. However, at least there are no sand traps to keep you stranded on the beach.
Disc golf provides excellent exercise for players of all abilities and physical conditions. In fact, some longer courses may require the players to hike 1 – 2 miles during the course of an 18 hole round. The sport can be played by individuals of all ages and abilities, including young children and senior citizens, which makes this sport an excellent family activity.