What is Disc Golf?
Disc golf is a recreational sport played to broadly similar rules as traditional ball golf. However, instead of a ball and clubs, players throw a plastic disc (or “Frisbee”) into a standing metal basket (which has loose hanging chains to help catch the disc). Players throw from a designated tee towards a target basket, and, as in ball golf, try to do so in as few throws as possible. A course typically has 9 or 18 “holes” (fairways with tees and baskets).
Disc golf “holes” are shorter than in ball golf, and the game can be played in spaces shared with other users, such as public parks.
Discs are smaller and more streamlined than traditional beach “Frisbees”, and fly further. There is a wide variety of different discs (they vary by design, type of plastic and weight). Each type of disc has different flight characteristics. As ball golf has different clubs, so disc golf has different discs for different purposes (putters, mid-range, drivers). Each player builds a small collection of discs that suit him or her.
Disc golf is relatively quick to learn. Rapid and noticeable improvement in a skill means that frustration is minimized.
Disc golf can be played on one’s own, in an informal group with friends, at organized times on weekends and summer evenings, in leagues (e.g. as organized by our Club), or in weekend tournaments (to which the game is well suited). Players of widely differing skill levels can play together, thus all members of a family can play as a group, or an inexperienced player can happily play in the same tournament as someone with years of experience.
There is no requirement to book a “tee time”, players are free to play as and when it suits them. Not much equipment is needed: a bag of discs and suitable footwear (e.g. training shoes). Thus the game is well suited to the fluid schedules of modern life.
It takes 50 to 90 minutes to play a recreational round of 18 “holes”. Approximately 72 players can be accommodated on an 18 “hole” course at any one time.
Disc golf started in 1975, with the invention of the metal basket. Innovations to plastic disc design followed in the 1980s and 1990s. Since 2000, the game has been growing rapidly worldwide. It is most popular in North America and Northwest Europe. Finland, with a population not much larger than New Zealand, has over 700 courses.
There are some 30 courses in New Zealand. In the South Island, there are courses in Queenstown (2), Wanaka (2), Dunedin, Invercargill, Timaru, Twizel, Tekapo, Nelson and Christchurch (2). The game is growing rapidly in the South Island, many of these courses have been installed in recent years, with others planned. The Christchurch climate is well suited to disc golf, as the game can be played all year round.