Disc Golf takes flight in Dallas-Ft WorthTOM WARD

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, November 24th, 2018

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TOM WARD
TOMPWARD@SBCGLOBAL.NET

Recently I was invited to a golf gathering unlike any I had ever
attended before. It’s called Disc Golf and is played much like
traditional golf except instead of balls and clubs the players use a
flying disc similar to a Frisbee.
I met up with two friends, Collin and Nathan, at a nearby park in
Tarrant County. Upon arrival I noticed they were carrying backpacks filled with different colored discs of various sizes. Prior to teeing off Nathan showed me the different types of discs they would be using.
There are three main types of discs which are called Driver, Mid-Range and Putter.
Just like real golf they had discs that are designed to go
farther for distance like your driver. Nathan told me that each disc
had numbers on them that can control variables like speed and the
ability to fade or draw the disc. Some of the discs are wider for
better control. There are discs that are used for putting that are
heavier and don’t bounce around as much.
As far as buying the discs, Nathan gets his at Amazon.com for
under $20 each.
Each hole had a concrete tee box which was around 10 to 12 feet
long. Each player would take a running start and launched their tee
shots towards the intended target which was an elevated metal basket
located at varying distances on each hole. The basket was usually
visible from the tee, but a few were tucked away behind some trees
which made for some creative shot making.
As we headed to the course (on the grounds of the park) they both
educated me on the rules, equipment, history and other fascinating
nuances of the game.
As a player progresses down the fairway, they must make each
consecutive throw from the spot where the previous throw has landed.
The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the
fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer.
Finally, the “putt” lands in the basket and the hole is complete.
Par is three shots for the holes on this particular course.
Disc golf shares the same joys and frustrations of traditional
golf, whether it’s sinking a long putt or hitting a tree halfway down
the fairway. There are a few differences, though. Disc golf rarely
requires a green fee and you never get stuck with a bad “tee time.” I
was surprised to learn how many disc golf courses existed in the DFW
metroplex. Many city parks have golf courses already set up. Most are
free to play as often as you like.
One of the great features disc golf shares with traditional golf
is that they are both played in beautiful settings. A nine-hole disc
golf course can be established on as little as five acres of land, and
a championship-caliber 18-hole course on 30 to 40 acres.
Disc golf courses can coexist with existing park facilities and
activity areas. The ideal location combines wooded and open terrains
and a variety of topographical change. Nathan mentioned that you can
go online and type in Disc Golf Finder, put in your area code and
find out where nearby courses are in close proximity to where you
live.
While watching them play I really appreciated the skill it took to
navigate the discs around bends in the fairways similar to doglegs on
real golf courses. This particular course had an abundance of trees
which loomed large on many of the holes. Occasionally they would hit
some of the trees off the tee or on their approach shots, but overall
I came away impressed at how they managed to avoid a lot of obstacles.
There was marked out of bounds on some holes and water came into
play periodically as there were some creeks meandering throughout the
park.
During the round I asked both players what attracted them to
Disc Golf? Collin replied,
“Disc golf is a fun activity and I get some good exercise walking
and playing the courses. I was terrible at it at first, but I started
to learn new shots and seeing that progression quickly was exciting.”
Nathan who is both a real golfer and Disc golfer said, “
Originally, I first played when I was a freshmen in college.
About a decade later in 2012 I kept trying to get my buddies to play
(ball golf) known as real golf and none of them played as they were
playing disc golf instead. So I decided to join them. Plus, it’s a
cheaper alternative to real golf. Disc golf is similar to real golf
because it’s you versus the course and lowest score wins. All the
adages in ball golf work in disc golf too.”
I learned that while there are many different grips and styles to
throwing the disc, there are two basic throwing techniques: backhand
and forehand (or sidearm). These techniques vary in effectiveness
under different circumstances. Their understanding and mastery can
greatly improve a player’s game, and offer diverse options in
maneuvering the disc to the basket with greater efficacy.
Many players use what is referred to as “a run-up during” for the
drive shot. This is practiced to build more forward disc momentum and
distance.
Throwing styles vary from player to player, and there is no
standard throwing style. All discs when thrown will naturally fall to
a certain direction, this direction is termed Hyzer, the natural fall
of the disc, or Anhyzer, making the disc fall against its natural
flight pattern. For a right-handed backhand throw (RHBH), the disc
will naturally fall to the left. For a right-handed forehand throw
(RHFH), the disc will naturally fall to the right. For a left-handed,
backhand throw (LHBH), the disc will naturally fall to the right. For
a left-handed, forehand throw (LHFH), the disc will naturally fall to
the left.
One of things I did like that about disc golf (that I wish real
golf would improve) is the pace of play. Our group moved along at a
pretty good clip. Another thing that caught my attention was how many
people were out playing the course. The ages ranged from kids playing
with their parents to a number of millennials both men and women to a
bunch of middle aged men.
After watching the guys in action I can see why they enjoy playing
the game and their enthusiasm was infectious. So if you are looking
for a fun family activity that the whole family can get involved with
I highly recommend you give Disc Golf a try. It’s nice to see a game
where everyone can find enjoyment and you sure can’t beat the price.

Tom Ward can be contacted at www.teetimewithtom.com

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