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The Elegant Sport of Disc Golf

There are probably quite a few people at HBS that play golf, but only a handful that know about the exciting sport of disc golf (also known as frisbee golf). The sport was invented in the mid 1970’s in Pasadena, California where the first courses originated. With all the sprout eaters in California the sport quickly spread throughout the state. The idea of the game is simple, throw a small plastic frisbee towards a “hole” about 250 to 400 feet away. The “hole” is a chain linked basket about three feet high. Most holes are designed as par threes.

Courses are typically located next to traditional golf courses. It’s really simple to know whether your golf course has a disc golf course. All you need to do is stand near the entrance. You will see a steady stream of Porsches, BMWs, and Mercedes going in one direction, along with a steady stream of Volkswagen Vans with bumper stickers going in another direction. If you follow the Volkswagen Vans you will end up at the disc golf course. Once you get to the disc golf course you will want to head to the pro-shop. There you can find an assortment of drivers, putters, and discs that differ in weight and stability. I typically play with three discs, but it’s not uncommon to see a disc golf dork carrying a bag of 30 to 40 discs. It’s worth checking out a disc golf course just to watch these “athletes” interact socially, let alone play the game.

Disc golf is an extremely laid back game. Courses vary in type, but the majority of courses are much more heavily wooded than a traditional golf course. I’ve thought a lot about how to describe a normal day of disc golf… Think walking on a heavily wooded trail, shooting the breeze with a bunch of your buddies, while carrying a disc in one hand, a beer in the other, and every once in a while throwing the disc towards some chain linked basket ahead of you. Like real golf, the sport is very relaxing, without all of the stuffy etiquette.

The best part is that it is not that difficult to improve quickly. If you know
how to throw a frisbee at all, you can immediately start off playing double bogie disc golf. After playing for two years you can even get your game pretty close to par…try doing that in real golf. Another cool thing about disc golf is that most courses are free or cost a couple of dollars at most.

With a disc costing only about $10 it’s a fun and cheap hobby.

While the game is very popular in California, it has caught on around the United States. There is actually a Professional Disc Golf Association (www.pdga.com), with professional tournaments. Massachusetts has 11 disc golf courses. For anyone who wants to give the game a go, I highly recommend the course at Borderland State Park, approximately a 45 minute drive from Boston. For more information feel free to email me at: klowery@mba2005.hbs.edu.

January 26, 2004
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