What is disc golf?
Disc golf is similar to traditional golf but players use a golf disc or frisbee instead of ball and golf club. The game starts with a golf disc being thrown from a tee area and ends when the disc has landed in a basket that acts as the hole on a golf course. The basket consists of a metal tube that extends up from the ground with chains and a basket in which the disc lands. During the game, the player goes to where the disc has landed and throws again until the disc is in the basket. The goal is to complete the course with as few throws as possible.
Many also call disc golf frisbee golf as most people know a frisbee from the garden or the beach where they have thrown with friends. However, Frisbee is a registered trademark of a particular type of disc and therefore disc golf is the more correct term for the sport.
A sport for life
Disc golf is one of the most accessible sports and it is both cheap and flexible to get started. The vast majority of courses are free to play and for little money you have a few golf discs in your bag. You can play alone or in groups of 4 to 5 people. So you are not dependent on fixed training times or coordination with many people.
When playing disc golf it is most often on courses in parks or in the forest. The different courses vary in size from 500-600 meters on the smallest courses to several kilometers. Along the way you throw your disc many times, so even if it does not lead to physical exhaustion, you get to move a lot. Disc golf shares many aspects with traditional golf and does not set any limits for either age or physical fitness. Disc golf is truely a sport you can play all your life.
An outdoor activity for children and adults
How to play disc golf?
You play disc golf on a course that typically has 9 or 18 holes. The goal is to complete the course using as few throws as possible. On each hole, you throw your disc from the marked tee area and you must throw your next throw where the previous throw landed. From throw to throw, you may change the disc, just as you may change the golf club in traditional golf. A hole is completed when you have got your disc in the basket. In disc golf, the term "a hole" is also used when talking about playing from the tee spot to the basket.
Trees, shrubs, lakes, streams and hills are all elements that help to create many of the holes on the disc golf courses. These elements are obstacles that one must overcome to get his or her disc to the basket.
Tee areas can look different and be marked with anything from two stones in the ground to a landscaped tee area with artificial grass or tiles. Common to all is that they mark where the hole starts. On many courses you will find up to 3 different tee areas for each hole. Each tee area has a color that is typically white, yellow or red. The color indicates the difficulty of the hole from that tee area. The white tee is the hardest, the yellow is medium and red is the easiest. New players can take advantage of this and start playing from the red tee area for the first rounds that they play.
The holes on a disc golf course are assigned to a "pair", as it is also known from traditional golf. In disc golf, a pair is awarded according to how many throws it is expected that an experienced player will use to complete the hole. Most holes are par 3, par 4 or par 5, and many new players will initially experience using more throws than the hole par. Experienced players will in many cases be able to use a throw less than par which is called a "birdie", and in very rare cases 2 throws less than par which is called an "eagle".
Where to play disc golf?
The easiest way to find a disc golf course nearby is by downloading the "uDisc" app on your phone. uDisc is the most used disc golf app in the world, and it has a map of the vast majority of courses in the world. On the map you can easily find a disc golf course nearby. It can also be used to find your way around the individual courses and to keep scores for both individuals and groups who play together.
Disc golf often utilizes forests and natural areas, as the ground surface does not have the same influence on the game as it has in traditional golf. Where golf courses are typically enclosed areas that are only used for golf, disc golf courses are often made on public land and are therefore free to play. Disc golf courses often work in conjunction with other activities in well-utilized public spaces.
When you think of a fairway on a golf course, you think of large, beautiful, well-kept lawns with an even nicer green and a flag at the end. When you think of a fairway on a disc golf course, you often think of a winding route through a forest, with a basket at the end. It helps to give players a completely different nature experience when playing disc golf.
Disc golf on many levels
Disc golf is a sport where you can go in depth with both your technique and your equipment. While new players typically have a few single discs and play once in a while, there are also many experienced players. You often meet them on the courses around the country, and you can see that several of them have special disc golf bags that are filled with golf discs.
While the majority of disc golfers practice the sport on a hobby level, there are also professional players who make a living playing disc golf. The best players have big sponsorship agreements with the manufacturers of disc golf disc and equipment, as you know it from golf and tennis. Many professional players participate in the biggest tournaments and they are closely followed by spectators and fans who walk around the field or follow the livestream online.
In recent years, there have been examples of professional disc golf players receiving contracts worth a million USD from their sponsors in exchange for producing equipment with their name on it.
How to start disc golf?
Getting started with disc golf is easy. Most people start by going out on the course with friends and family, but you can also join the local disc golf club. The clubs typically arrange trainings, club nights and tournaments where you get to meet other players.
In the many of the disc golf clubs you can get good help and guidance to get the best start. The clubs are most easily found via their facebook pages and you can quickly find them on facebook by searching for disc golf in your area. If you can not find a club that way, you can go to the national disc golf facebook group for your country and write a post.
To start playing disc golf you only need a few golf discs. In many of the disc golf shops online you will find beginner sets with 3 discs for less than 20€. These sets provide you with all that you need to get started. In addition to discs, the "uDisc" app is a great help. uDisc provides a complete overview of all courses around the world and helps to keep scores and show the way on the course. It's a really good tool to find your way around.
Disc golf rules and safety on the course
To get started playing disc golf, there are only a few rules you need to know. The first throw on each hole is thrown from the marked tee area. Where the disc lands, the next throw must be made. Here the rule is that you must have contact with the ground in an area corresponding to an A4 paper (approximately 21x29 cm) behind the disc you last threw when the next throw is made. The hole is completed when the disc is in the basket, or hanging in the chains of the basket. A hole is not finished if a disc hits the chains or the basket and subsequently falls to the ground.
On some courses you will find that parts of the course are "out of bounds". If the disc lands on an area that is out of bounds, it is out of the playing area. There are typically trails, ponds or other areas on the course. If a disc lands in an area that is out of bounds, players must throw the next throw, from the last point where the disc was inbounds. It can be, at the edge of a water hole. When the disc lands out of bounds, it costs a penalty throw which is added to the number of throws the player has otherwise used to complete the hole.
As disc golf has become very popular, one can sometimes experience a bit of a queue at the individual holes. It may also be that one has to wait to make his or her throw because other users of the area are about to pass. It is important that you do not start playing until there is space for you to make your throw without endangering both humans and animals. This is especially evident on disc golf courses which are located in parks or in areas with users other than disc golf players. Here it is always the responsibility of the thrower to wait to throw until there is space. It is important to avoid hitting other people when playing.
The official disc golf rules are maintained and updated regularly by the PDGA. PDGA is an abbreviation for Professional Disc Golf Association and one can always find the latest version of disc golf rules on their website.
Disc golf history
Disc golf as a sport started in the 1960s, when the first tournaments were held. Since the disc golf basket had not yet been invented, one played with objects as goals. It could be that you had to hit a certain tree or get the disc into a rubbish bin that made up what we have the basket for today.
In the late 1970s, the rules were put in place and both the DGA (Disc Golf Association) and the PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) were founded. In 1983, the first disc golf disc was made. In the past, "Frisbees" were typically used, which was one of the first commercially produced plastic discs from the manufacturer Wham-O. For that reason, many people today use the words "frisbee" and "disc" as synonyms even though "frisbee" is a trademark for a particular disc.
The invention of disc golf is attributed to Ed Headrick also known as "Steady Ed". In 1976, he founded the Disc Golf Association in the United States. The purpose was to produce discs and in 1978 disc golf as we know it today was born with Ed Headrick's patent on the modern disc golf basket.
Read more about disc golf
There are many aspects to disc golf and one can always learn more. If you are still curious, here are some references where you can continue reading:
- Disc golf in Denmark
Are you curious about how the development of disc golf in Denmark has been the last few years? Then you can read our article "Disc Golf in Denmark". Find the latest numbers on the number of disc golf courses, the number of rounds played and the number of disc golf players.
- A guide to disc golf discs and flight numbers
On disc golf discs are often 4 numbers that say something about how the disc is designed to fly. These 4 numbers are the disc's flight numbers and you can read more about them in our guide to flight numbers.
- A guide to discs golf disc and their stability
If a guide to flight numbers is not enough and you want to know more about why a disc behaves the way it does, then our guide to stability might just something for you.
- Danish disc golf news
Follow what is happening and read news about Danish disc golf on the disc golf portal www.anhyzer.dk.