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The Beginner's Guide to Playing Disc Golf

Disc golf is a great recreational sport for all ranges of physical ability. Why cover it on a personal finance blog? Disc golf is not only great fun, but it’s also extremely inexpensive, with full start-up and ongoing costs under $50 (depending on where you play). That’s what you pay for a round of golf and a cart!

What exactly is disc golf? Well, let’s cover what disc golf isn’t. Frisbee golf! Frisbees are lightweight flying saucers that you play catch with. If you play catch with a puck and it hits hard enough it might break something. Now that I’ve covered that little pet peeve, let’s move on.

How do you play Disc Golf?

Disc golf is basically golf with hard plastic discs. Traditional advice given to golfers is to always carry a disc golf bag to keep discs, and instead of putting the ball in the cup, the goal is to throw the puck into a metal basket. You start on a concrete pad, similar to a golf tee, and shoot toward the target of the basket until you land your puck in the basket. As its name might imply, there are a number of similarities between traditional golf and disc golf.

Similarities Between Golf and Disc Golf

  • Scoring: Each hole has an even number of targets to hit. ‘Shots’ are equivalent to ‘strokes’ in golf. If you have 5 shots on a par 3 hole, you are 2 over par for that hole.
  • T Difficulty Levels: Just like golf, many golf courses have 2 or 3 sets of tees for different skill levels.
  • The Course: Disc golf courses are not too different from regular golf courses. Courses are typically 9 or 18 holes. There are fairways, tree hazards, water hazards, tees, and if you’re lucky, scorecards. Are no dashboards available? Just play as if all the holes were par 3 or 4 (depending on your skill level).
  • The Equipment: On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be many similarities between a plastic puck and golf clubs and balls. You might be pleased to discover that there are actually different types of discs for different types of golf shots. There are drivers, mid-ranges, dump discs, and even putters!

Differences between Golf and Disc Golf

  • Hole Length: Golf tends to have much longer distances from tee to hole than disc golf. An average golf hole tends to be 300 to 400 yards long, while a disc golf hole is usually around 300 feet on average.
  • Hazard: While water, lanes and fairways for another wait tend to result in 1-stroke penalties in traditional golf, this is not always the case in disc golf. Some courses define specific out of bounds lines, but many do not.
  • Number of Players: Golf is rarely played with more than 4 people playing together. There are no rules against more than 4 players playing together on disc golf, but if you are holding back anyone who is playing behind you, it is considerate to let them play.

Disc Golf Equipment

One of the best things about disc golf is the low barrier to entry. Disc golf is cheap. Very cheap. Most disc golf courses are free. Some parks charge an entrance fee, but the golf itself is often free. The equipment is cheap too. Beginners can easily get away with buying three different discs:

  • Driver: The disc golf driver is a very flat, fast-moving disc design for gliding long distances. My favorite controller, and a good one for beginners, is the Innova T-Bird.
  • Midrange: Midrange discs are made to be stable, straight flyers. They tend to be a bit heavier and thicker than conductors. Actually, if you want to get away with just two drives, you probably don’t need a midrange drive. The Discraft Buzz has a very good reputation as a great mid-range disc for all skill levels.
  • Loafing: Putters are the heaviest and thickest discs and are designed to take a beating from hitting metal baskets. The Discraft Magnet is a solid disc golf putter.

It is also worth noting the different types of stability on disks:

  • Overstable: A drive that is too stable will increase the natural fade of the drive. Very overstable discs are generally not recommended for beginners.
  • Understable: A record that is understandable will go against the natural fade of the record. These discs are generally recommended for beginning players.

The record weight is important too. Records generally weigh between 150 and 180 grams. Beginners should start with light to medium-weight plates, while professionals tend to use heavier plates.

As highlighted above, Discraft and Innova are two large disc golf manufacturers. They both make excellent records that I would recommend to everyone. The discs tend to be anywhere from $10 to $15 in price. Since you need very few discs to play, I recommend avoiding the cheaper discs, which are usually made of smooth, harder plastic. Higher-end discs tend to provide more grip and durability. Both manufacturers offer product catalogs, details on all of their drives, dealer locators, and how-to videos on their sites:

  • Discraft
  • Innovate

Let’s not forget the goal of disc golf. It’s a metal post with a basket around it, usually about 2 feet off the ground. Chains hang from the top of the pole above the basket to “catch” your putter as it is being thrown at the target so that it can drop into the basket. Once there is a disc in the basket, you have completed the hole.

Where to find disc golf courses?

City and county parks are the two most likely places to have disc golf courses. Occasionally, you’ll find a private course, but they’re a rarity in the world of disc golf. To find a local disc golf course, here are some good resources:

  • The PDGA Course Directory
  • DG Course Review


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My name's Mary Lee, I'm a mom of twins and live in Los Angeles. Now the twins are at school, I can focus on my blog. You will be able to discover articles on lifestyle, hobbies, anything about the home and garden as well as entertainment. I love to write and hope you enjoy what I write....

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