Disc golf

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Disc golf
A player putting at Cass Benton Disc Golf Course, Northville, Michigan.
Sport Disc Golf
Founded 1960s
No. of competitors {{{competitors}}}
Country USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, New Zealand[1]
Official website http://www.PDGA.com

Disc golf (also called Frisbee Golf or frolf) is a disc game in which individual players throw a flying disc into a basket or at a target. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, "The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc."[2]


[edit] History

Disc golf, in some form, has probably been played informally since the early 1900s, according to Victor Malafronte's, "The Complete Book of Frisbee." But modern disc golf started in the late 1960s, when it seems to have been invented in many places and by many people independently. Two of the best-known figures in the sport are George Sappenfield and "Steady Ed" Headrick who coined the term "Disc Golf" and who introduced the first formal disc golf target with chains and a basket, the Mach 1.

[edit] George Sappenfield and early object courses

In 1965, George Sappenfield, a Californian, was a recreation counselor during summer break from college. While playing golf one afternoon he realized that it might be fun for the kids on his playground if they played "golf" with frisbees. He set up an object course for his kids to play on. Other early courses were also of this type, using anything from lamp poles to fire hydrants as targets. When he finished college in 1968, Sappenfield became the Parks and Recreation Supervisor for Thousand Oaks, California. George introduced the game to many adults by planning a Disc Golf Tournament as part of a recreation project. He contacted Wham-O Manufacturing and asked them for help with the event. Wham-O supplied frisbees for throwing, and hula hoops for use as targets. However, it would not be until the early 1970s that courses would began to crop up in various places in the Midwest and the East Coast (some perhaps through Sappenfield's promotion efforts, others probably independently envisioned).[3] Some of Sappenfield's acquaintances are known to have brought the game to UC Berkeley. It quickly became popular on campus, with a permanent course laid out in 1970.[4]

[edit] "Steady Ed" Headrick and the growth of the modern game

The first standardized target course was put in by "Steady Ed" Headrick, a flying disc innovator known as the "Father of Disc Golf",[citation needed] in what was then known as Oak Grove Park in Pasadena, California.[5] (Today the park is known as Hahamonga Watershed Park). This park is immediately to the south of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which supplied at least a few of the earliest players. Ed worked for the San Gabriel, California-based Wham-O Corporation and is credited for pioneering the modern era of disc sports. While at Wham-O, Headrick redesigned the Pluto Platter reworking the rim height, disc shape, diameter, weight and plastics, creating a controllable disc that could be thrown accurately. Headrick marketed and pushed the professional model Frisbee and "Frisbee" as a sport. Ed Founded "The International Frisbee Association (IFA)" and began establishing standards for various sports using the Frisbee such as Distance, Freestyle and Guts.

Headrick coined and trademarked the term "Disc Golf" when formalizing the sport and invented the Disc Pole Hole, the first disc golf target to incorporate chains and a basket on a pole. Headrick founded the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), Disc Golf Association (DGA), and Recreational Disc Golf Association (RDGA) as governing bodies for professional, competitive amateur, and family-oriented play, respectively, and worked on standardizing the rules and the equipment for the quickly-growing sport. Headrick abandoned his trademark on the term "Disc Golf", and turned over control and administration of the PDGA to the growing body of disc golf players in order to focus his passion for building and inventing equipment for the sport. Upon his death, Headrick was cremated and his ashes were made into a limited number of discs per his wishes.[6] The discs were given to friends and family, and some were sold with all proceeds going toward funding a nonprofit "Steady" Ed Memorial Disc Golf Museum at the PDGA International Disc Golf Center in Columbia County, Georgia. One of the discs that contains Headrick's ashes will be permanently placed on the roof of the center. When asked why this was to be done, by a member of the local media, PDGA Executive Director Brian Graham quoted an old Frisbee addage, "Old Frisbee players are like old Frisbees ... They don't die, they just land up on the roof."

[edit] Rule differences with golf and disc golf

A disc resting in the basket
  • In golf, a player can carry only 14 clubs. Disc golf has no rule concerning how many discs a disc golfer can carry.
  • In disc golf, it is acceptable for a player to 'fall' in front of their lie after the release. This allowance does NOT apply to putting. A throw is officially considered a putt in disc golf if the lie is marked within what is known as 'The Circle'. This is a circle with a 10-meter (33 feet) radius, with the pin at its center. Within the circle, after putting, a player must not advance beyond the marked lie toward the pin, normally by picking up the marker disc. However, like golfers putting from the fringe, rough or fairway, most disc golfers still use a putting motion on shots that are longer than 10 meters, often called "being out of the circle" or "being outside." The player may follow through on these shots and many players develop a jump putt where the golfer jumps towards the target. This allows a combination of the accuracy that putting provides and more power on the putt.
  • Falling putts (when the player follows through [as described above] on a putt 10 meters or shorter) and foot faults (when a player does not release the disc behind their mark or within the required distance of the mark, when a player has a part of their body touching the ground on release past their mark or when their tee shot is released from off the teeing area) are penalized in a unique way. The first offense is not penalized a stroke, but the golfer is required to re-throw the shot and then is warned for the offense. Any subsequent fouls, however, are penalized one stroke and the golfer must re-throw.
A disc golf course incorporating a pond
  • Disc golf doesn't have "hazards" as defined in golf. Bodies of water, park roads and areas of cement are typically defined as out-of-bounds in disc golf, however, sometimes these are not. Most courses define these areas as out of bounds or in bounds on tee signs at each hole, however, there is no universal standard for these. As in golf, any out-of-bounds shot is a one stroke penalty, however, the rules for spotting the lie for the next shot are quite different than those in golf. If a throw lands out of bounds, unless defined by the hole, the thrower has the option of playing from the previous lie, or playing from the approximate spot where the disc crossed into the out-of-bound territory. If they choose to play from where the disc crossed out-of-bounds, they may take a one-meter relief from the out-of-bounds area, even if it puts them closer to the pin. The rules do not permit a player to have a supporting point touching out of bounds on release so this is the reason for the relief. If a player lands within a meter of the out of bounds and is in bounds, they are still granted this relief for the same reasoning. This relief is an option, the only rule regarding this is when the disc is released. Most golfers use this rule to their advantage to make putts closer or to improve their lie. Some holes may require a throw from a Drop Zone. If that is the case, the thrower moves to the drop zone to play the next shot. A disc is only considered out-of-bounds if it is completely surrounded by out-of-bounds - if any part of the disc is touching in-bounds, then the lie is playable.
  • Another difference is the optional penalty for a disc that lands more than 2 meters above the playing surface. The course designer may specify that on particular trees, holes, or the whole course, a disc landing above 2 meters will receive a one throw penalty. This is known as the 2-Meter Rule. If not specified, there's no penalty for a disc landing any height above the ground. In golf, it's likely a player will need to take an unplayable penalty if their ball lands above the ground. On the other hand, balls are much less likely to remain stuck above ground than discs are as they fly through trees. When the disc is stuck above ground (including on top of baskets and those that land in the wrong basket) are to be marked directly below the disc. Even if the disc is not retrievable, as long as the player can identify it, they are not penalized (assuming the 2-meter rule is not in effect). A tournament director has the option of enforcing the 2-meter Rule regardless of whether or not the course enforces the rule. Many casual disc golfers often choose whether to play with the 2-meter rule at the beginning of a round.
  • Disc Golf holes may also have what are known as 'mandatories' or what are commonly called "mandos". These are obstacles that a disc must pass in a certain way. For example, a tree may be marked as a 'right mandatory', meaning a disc must pass that tree on the right side. Failure to hit a mandatory is a one-stroke penalty, and the thrower must play from their previous lie or a drop zone if provided. Mandos are usually put in place to force a player to play down a fairway instead of down another fairway to help with safety.

Safety: Disc golf is usually played in a public park, thus bicyclists, hikers, children playing and campers are often on the course. On some courses, such as on a college campus, athletic activities often take place on fairways. Disc golfers have to be very careful to avoid pedestrians, and it is a generally accepted rule that pedestrians have the right-of-way.

Driving is one of the more dangerous aspects of disc golf as it pertains to pedestrians. Players should always be aware of their surroundings before a drive. It is common to yell "Fore!" before a drive on holes that the target cannot be seen from the tee pad. Groups that have finished the hole yell "clear!" to signify they are clear of the target area. If a player is about to drive and want to know if there are players in the target area, they may yell "clear on hole 12?", and if players are in the target area they may yell "no" or if they have vacated the area they will yell "clear on hole 12!". Players use these terms to alert other groups when finishing the hole as well as approaching groups to find out if the hole is ready for play. This also gives pedestrians a chance to react if they do not realize they are on a disc golf course.

Hole #17 on the Gold course at Winthrop University, home of the annual United States Disc Golf Championship

[edit] Equipment

[edit] Understanding Disc Golf Discs

The golf disc used today is much smaller than traditional flying discs. Also, general-purpose flying discs, such as those used for playing guts or ultimate, have a simple edge to them, whereas disc golf discs have extended lips. They also have a much smaller diameter and profile.

There are a wide variety of discs, divided into four basic categories: putters,all-purpose mid-range discs, and drivers.

The putters are designed similar to discs you would play catch with: e.g., a Wham-o brand Frisbee. They are designed to fly straight, predictably, and very slowly compared to mid-range discs and drivers. Mid-range discs have slightly sharper edges, which enable them to cut through the air better. Drivers have the sharpest edge and have most of their mass concentrated on the outer rim of the disc rather than distributed equally throughout. Drivers are the hardest types of discs to learn how to throw; their flight path will be very unpredictable without practice.

Drivers are also often divided into different categories. For example, Innova Discs divides their discs into Distance Drivers and Fairway Drivers, with a fairway driver being somewhere between a distance drive and a mid-range disc. New players will find that throwing a distance driver accurately will require experience with disc golf disc response. It is better to begin play with a fairway driver and later incorporate distance drivers. Discraft divides their drivers into 3 categories: Long Drivers, Extra Long Drivers and Maximum Distance Drivers. The greater the distance of the driver the less control the disc golf player has on the disc. Therefore, an inexperienced player would most likely prefer to use a Long or Extra Long Driver while an experienced player would go for a maximum distance driver if they were seeking longer throws.

Natural action of the disc: For a right-handed, back-hand thrower (RHBH), the disc will naturally fall to the left. For a right-handed fore-hand thrower (RHFH), the disc will naturally fall to the right. For a left-handed, back-hand thrower (LHBH), the disc will naturally fall to the right. For a left-handed, fore-hand thrower (LHFH), the disc will naturally fall to the left.

Overstable: A disc that is over-stable will increase the natural angle of the disc; discs that are more over-stable are not usually recommended for beginning players.

Understable: A disc that is under-stable will push against the natural angle of the disc; discs that are more under-stable are usually recommended for beginning players.

Weight of the disc: Golf discs typically weigh between 150 and 180 grams (5.3-6.3 oz.), and measure about 21-24 cm in diameter. PDGA rules prohibit discs weighing more than 200 grams, or more than 8.3 grams per centimeter of diameter.[7]

[edit] Understanding Disc Golf Course Components

Four basic components go into a course design, Disc Pole Holes, Tonal Poles, Tee Signs and Tee Pads.

Disc Pole Holes are the main and most important components of a disc golf course. A Disc Pole Hole comprises a center pole, chain holder and a basket. A set of chains hang down from the chain holder surrounding the center pole. Surrounding the pole below the chains is a circular basket that serves to catch a disc thrown at the chains of the Disc Pole Hole. The Disc Pole Hole is also commonly known as a basket or a catcher. In some cases a Tonal Pole, a pole without chains and a basket, will act as the target. When the disc strikes a tonal pole, the pole makes a noise, indicating that the disc has been "caught" by the chains. The approximate dimensions of a tonal pole represent those of a full disc pole hole (if the disc strikes the tonal pole, that same shot would have fallen in the basket on a disc pole hole). When the disc drops into the basket or strikes the tonal pole the player moves to the next Tee.

For each hole, a tee pad provides a firm and level foundation to start play from, “tee off”. Tees are usually composed of poured concrete slabs, decomposed granite, or more recently dense rubber pads. Some courses have alternative tee pads for a given hole. Similar to traditional golf, one tee is often closer to the target, allowing multiple players of different skill levels a better chance of competitive play. The player(s) with lesser ability to drive the disc greater distances shoot from the closer tee than his/her fellow players shooting off the further tee. Most often, experienced players allow this strategy to be employed by novice players and children, to keep the scores in more competitive range.

Located at each tee, Tee Signs are the map to the hole. They give important information like the distance, par, the preferred flight path, hazards and out of bounds.

[edit] Scoring

A player getting out of the rough on Goolagong, hole #3, Whitcombe Disc Golf Course, Beaminster, Dorset, UK. Photo:Toby Green

Stroke play is the most common scoring method but there are many others, including match play, skins, speed golf and captain's choice, which in disc golf is referred to as "doubles" (not to be confused with partner or team play).

In every form of play, the goal is to play as few strokes per round as possible. Scores for each hole can be described as follows:

Term on a
Specific term Definition
-3 Albatross (or double-eagle) three strokes under par
-2 Eagle (or double-birdie) two strokes under par
-1 Birdie one stroke under par
0 Par strokes equal to par
+1 Bogey one stroke more than par
+2 Double bogey two strokes over par
+3 Triple bogey three strokes over par

A snowman (perhaps 4 over par on a par 4-hole) is an informal term in some countries for a score indicating that 8 shots were taken at a single hole.[8]

Doubles play is a unique style of play that many local courses offer on a weekly basis. In this format, teams of two golfers are determined. Sometime this is done by random draw, and other times it is a pro-am format. On the course, it is a 'best-disc' scramble. Meaning both players throw their tee shot, and then decide which lie they would like to play. Both players then play from the same lie, again choosing which lie is preferable. The World Amateur Doubles Format include best shot, alternate shot, best score(players play singles and take the best result from the hole) and worst shot (both players must sink the putt).

[edit] Women in the sport

While there are more male than female players, the Women's Disc Golf Association exists to encourage female players and arrange women's tournaments. A PDGA survey states that out of its 11,302 members in 2006, 8% are female, or about 900. In PDGA competition, women have the option to play in gender-protected divisions.

Several companies have started programs to help attract women to the sport, including Innova, who has dedicated a section of their website for ideas on getting women involved.[9] There are also Disc golf companies such as Disc-Diva, that have started up with a primary, though not exclusive, focus on women in the sport, promoting accessories geared towards women and using catch phrases like, "You wish you threw like a girl."[10] Sassy Pants is another group that focuses on getting more involvement from women in the sport, advocating for sponsorship of women to enter tournaments.[11]

[edit] References

  1. ^ WSSA Events: National-level WSSA Sport Stacking Tournament.
  2. ^ "Rules", PDGA.com, Professional Disc Golf Association
  3. ^ "Brief History of Disc Golf."
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ PDGA Rules of Disc Golf[2]
  6. ^ "Definition of snowman in golf". MiMi.hu. http://en.mimi.hu/golf/snowman.html. Retrieved on 2007-08-19. 
  7. ^ Disc golf for women at Innova[3]
  8. ^ Disc-Diva.com[4]
  9. ^ Sassy Pants Visions[5]

[edit] External links

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