What is Disc Golf?
You have a disc, or discs. You go around the course, from tee’s to targets in the fewest throws possible. Not complicated you say? Disc golf is easy to play, yet difficult to master.
The growing popularity of the game of disc golf begins with the essential fact that throwing a flying disc with power and accuracy is a marvelous sensation. The constant challenge, the social nature of the game, the good physical and mental conditioning, and the fact that it is inexpensive to begin play are also attractions. Disc golf is a recreational sport for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or ability.
The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc. Each consecutive throw is made from where the disc came to rest after the last throw. Score is determined by counting the number of throws made on each hole plus penalty throws and then summing all holes. The winner is the player who completes the course with the lowest score. The course consists of a series of holes laid out so that when the player completes one hole he or she proceeds to the beginning of the next until all the holes have been played. The player is provided with a teeing area from which to begin each hole and a target to complete the hole.
Disc golf courses are normally laid out among wooded areas with diverse terrain to provide natural obstacles to the flight of the disc. These natural obstacles are very much a part of the game and must not be altered by the players in any way to decrease the difficulty of a hole. Disc golf courses are normally 18 holes in length.
Origins Of Disc Golf
The beginnings of Disc Golf are uncertain. The modern version, however, is understood to have started in the 1960s in the USA with the design and patenting of the original Frisbee (1966) by “Steady” Ed Headrick for Wham-O®toys. Headrick was also the first to design the Disc Golf Pole Hole™ in 1975. This consisted of a pole with a suspended basket and ten chains hanging down in a parabolic shape over the basket.
Headrick installed the Pole Hole in what was the first formal Disc Golf course in Oak Grove, Pasadena, California which is still in existence today. 1975 was also when Headrick formed the Professional Disc Golf Association. The popularity of disc golf has subsequently grown rapidly worldwide. New courses were formed with Headrick himself designing over 200 courses before his death in 2002. The PDGA is now a worldwide force and is growing faster than ever with over 2,900 disc golf courses and almost 40,000 members globally.
Disc Golf in South Africa
It’s impossible to know who threw the first golf disc in SA, or who played the first full round. A number of disc golf enthusiasts in Johannesburg and Cape Town have experimented with the sport on some level. However, there is no doubt that the biggest group of disc golfers reside in Johannesburg and a course was marked out in Delta Park by Ryan Males in 2003 after having played at various disc golf courses in California including the famed DeLaveaga Park course in Santa Cruz.
This 18-hole ‘Royal Delta’ course is played almost every weekend. The course is challenging with a number of water holes, dog-legs, and long holes requiring power and accuracy.
If you can toss a frisbee, you have the foundation for playing disc golf. The frisbee type backhand throw is the most common throw used by players, although a forehand or sidearm throw is also popular. Discs are broken down into 3 main categories: drivers, mid-ranges and putters.
All 3 discs are important to a player, the driver gives you distance off the tee. The mid-ranges accuracy for getting close to the basket (arguably the most important part of many players games) , and the putter is designed to give you the best accuracy in hitting the target.
Discs are more advanced than your average beach frisbee, but the mechanics of throwing a disc are essentially the same.
The amount of discs available is daunting to beginners, so please speak to one of the experienced players for advice, we import the discs and they sell for R150-R700ea depending on the quality and random import duties.
To start you only need 2 or 3 discs and other players will gladly lend you theirs. So trying out DG costs you NOTHING. We play at Delta Park in Johannesburg. Beginners are welcome to join us to play socially every Sunday. It’s free & fun.
The most common mistake new players make is getting the highest speed disc they can find, and expecting that it will go further.Discs are essentially wings that will fly optimally at the speed they were designed to fly at. If you cannot get the disc up to that speed you are not throwing the best throw you could, rather get a lower speed disc that matches your current throw… the big bombers will come later.