Why Is Disc Golfing All The Rage?

If you’re up for a trending game that is fast, fun, and supremely challenging, why not sign up for disc golf? Brian Graham, the Executive Director of the Professional Disc Golf Association, recalls the situation 20 years ago, when he would approach park district offices trying to get them interested in the game. Today, disc golf courses are sprouting up like mushrooms across the globe, and up to 12 million people have enjoyed the sport at least once. The magic began around six years ago, when people started taking notice of players in action, growing intrigued to give the game a go.

The Inclusivity of Disc Golf

Disc golf follows similar rules, terminology, and etiquette to those employed in golf. However, the vibe is a lot more casual and, many would say, more inclusive, since the game is played in parks instead of expensive golf courses. Forget about green fees—this game is completely free! The main difference lies in the equipment used. Instead of holes, strategically placed metal baskets are used. In lieu of balls and clubs, a bag containing your golf discs is all you need. There are various types of discs, depending on the player’s level. Distance Drivers go the extra mile and boast greater speed. They have sharper ‘noses’ so they are best kept for advanced players. Fairway Drivers don’t travel as far as Distance Drivers, but they are ideal for straighter, shorter drives. Midranges usually make an ideal first disc. They don’t vary from the throw as much as Fairway and Distance Drivers do if they are erroneously thrown. Finally, putters are the slowest, thinnest-rimmed disc. They have less potential to fly off-course. The good news is that you can typically purchase a pretty good disc for $10 or less. 

Disc Golf Embraces Diversity

Events such as The Color of Disc Golf—an unsanctioned tournament aimed to introduce players of color to the sport—are indicative of the sport’s interest in diversifying its player base. Representation matters and if disc golf is to truly become a world-class sport, its community needs to grow in a more diverse manner. In January 2021, the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) created the Diversity and Outreach Task Force, whose aim is to recruit and retain underrepresented players and encourage social change within this sporting community. One of their priorities is the Diversity and Outreach Grant Program, whose funding will be increased and whose target will be narrower. The Association is looking for success stories, and they aim to make more of these happen via dedicated programs and workshops. Meanwhile, avid player, Rebecca Cox, has aligned with fellow disc golf buff Sally Chatman to create Diversify Disc Golf. The latter began as a Facebook group and is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

It’s an exciting time for disc golf. This sport has an inclusive heart since playing is free and there an increasingly large number of courses are being built. The PDGA has expressed a desire to improve the sport’s diversity through grants, workshops, and programs. Charities have also been set up to bring this fun game to a more expansive and diverse group of players.