(The Triangle Trend) — Disc golf’s history dates back to 1926 in Saskatchewan, Canada where the first game took place in the town of Bladworth. Ronald Brandon Cain and his schoolmates decided to play a game of tossing tin lids on their school grounds. They named this game Tin Lid Golf and played regularly. While their game came to an end as they grew older and went their separate ways, the idea lived on.
Fast forward to 1966 when “Steady” Ed Headrick, who is widely regarded as the Father of Disc Golf, invented the Frisbee while employed at Wham-O. Nine years later, Headrick invented the Disc Golf Pole Hole. Now equipped with a disc and a target, the inexorable path to the disc golf of today commenced.
Soon, the game was being played all around the country. One course led to another and as interest grew, the Professional Disc Golf Association was born. Organization, formal rules, leagues, and tournaments followed. By the year 2000, there were one thousand permanent disc golf courses in the US. Just five years later, that number had doubled to two thousand. North Carolina is home to over two hundred ninety courses with more than twenty-five found in or around the Triangle.
But, why so much love for this sport?
To this question, there are simple answers. It’s free. It’s fun. It’s challenging and competitive. It’s relaxing. It’s healthy. It’s easy to learn so anyone can play. And, it’s an outdoor sport often played in the forest. And then, there is the slang, which is all kinds of fun.
It’s all about the throw…
Chucking plastic. Hucking plastic. Grip it and rip it. Chuck it and pray. Bang the chains.
Seeing the forest for the trees…
Praying to treesus. Treejected. Trees don’t care about your feelings. The tree giveth and the tree taketh away.
The art of playing fetch with yourself. The most important shot is the next one. Throw long and prosper.
For the uninitiated, disc golf has a lot in common with ball golf: courses (nine or eighteen holes), pars, tee boxes, fairways, obstacles, and holes (i.e., baskets). Players typically carry, at a minimum, three discs which are disc golf’s equal to golf clubs. There is the driver disc for distance, the midrange disc for both distance and control, and the putter disc for accuracy which works well when you are trying to finish the hole. Speaking of putting, in disc golf, there is an imaginary ten meter circle that radiates out from the base and surrounds the basket. To the seasoned disc golfer, this is known as Circle 1 and is often a circle of life or death depending on the round you’re having. And, just like ball golf, the person who reaches all nine or eighteen holes in the fewest number of legal throws, is the winner. There is more to it than that, of course, but to find out, you have to play.
All the rules you need to know can be found online, but perhaps the most important one is the Golden Rule which states:
“Behave the right way, don’t waste time needlessly, and don’t bring the group down with anger, and you’ll be quickly accepted and invited to join them again. “
Whether you are a recreational player or one with a more serious approach (pun intended), you’ll be happy you downloaded U Disc. This essential app provides you with a host of resources including Course Locator, Scoring, Rule Checking, Track Your Improvement, Measure Your Shots, and Practice Your Game. It’s a must have for any disc golfer.
If your interest has been piqued, your first order of business will be to purchase a beginner set of discs which typically runs around $25. Discs last forever so this nominal investment is well worth it. Then you have to get out to a course and you are in luck as the Triangle is home to many highly rated disc golf courses. One of them, the Diavolo Course in Cary, is rated #7 in the world (yes, the world). Check them out on U Disc or stop by in person to enjoy their forty-eight acres and three unique course loops.
To close things out, I spoke with disc golfer, Paul, who shared his visualization of the disc golf experience:
“Step onto the tee box and look 300 feet down a tree lined fairway—at the end a sun lit basket. You step into the throw drawing your arm back and squeezing the disc tight. Your throw is a beautiful gliding shot that rides along the edge of the trees before fading towards the basket. The disc settles at the base of the basket and for the next five minutes you are invincible.”
2584 New Hope Church Road
Cary, NC 27519