I know you don’t need a weather report from me, but in case you haven’t looked out your window for weeks, the weather in FresYes is amazing lately. It seems like the whole Valley is looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors, and disc golf is a perfect activity to test out during these temperate temperatures.
Disc golf is a popular sport where you throw Frisbee-like discs into a series of baskets. It’s similar to traditional golf in that you try to get your disc in the basket in the fewest amount of attempts, but you don’t need a club, a cart, or a golf ball collector.
Those who play are big fans of the sport, so the odds are high that you’ll enjoy it, too. In fact, according to disc golf enthusiast Jody Winter, it’s even an improvement on the traditional golf game.
“Mark Twain said, ‘Golf is a good walk spoiled’, but I say disc golf is a good walk without the spoiling. After playing both sports for over 20 years, I find disc golf to be easier to learn and teach, cheaper, faster, and just as enjoyable as golf to play,” he explains.
If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time! Our spring weather has been amazing (I know, I said that already but it bears repeating) and Fresno boasts a fabulous 18-hole course that you can play for free. Therefore, with the help of Ken Dubell of Spinfluence Disc Golf, here’s a handy “How-To” guide for getting started with disc golf.
What You Need to Play
Technically all you need to play disc golf is one disc, shoes for walking, and a smile. However, in order to get the best results, you need a driver, a mid-range, and one putter.
A disc golf course consists of holes (not literal holes, golf holes) with a concrete tee pad. Throwers launch their drives down the fairways to a basket. Depending on the amount of holes on a course, there are multiple basket locations.
Just like traditional golf has clubs, disc golf has different discs for different shot types. As you progress, you can try out varying types of discs with greater flight capabilities and options. Each golf disc is designed differently to provide different flight characteristics: some glide, some are speedy, some drift, and some turn.
When Should You Start Playing?
Anytime’s a great time to play disc golf! Ken and his wife started playing soon after having a baby. Looking for something fun to do, they went and bought a starter pack of discs (driver, mid, and putter).
He explains,”We went out and just played as we walked. At first it was just to get out with the baby in the stroller to walk. Then I began meeting people. Disc golfers are the nicest, most inviting people you’ll ever meet.
“Next thing I knew, I was in the FCDG [Fresno County Disc Golf] club, then on the FCDG board of directors, and I had also created Spinfluence Disc Golf. It all happened so fast! Disc golf becomes very addicting.”
How to Join a Disc Golf Club
Fresno County Disc Golf is the local club that new golfers can join. According to Ken, Fresno’s a great place for disc golf because there’s a tournament or event going on almost every weekend. These activities range from locals getting together for fun rounds weekly to PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) tournaments.
Fresno’s major tournament takes place each May and is called the Hard Pan Classic (presented by Fresno Flight Center and many other major sponsors). Of course, there’s many other special events happening all the time! From putting leagues to charity events, there’s truly something for everyone.
Where to Play
Fresno is home to Woodward Legacy, an 18-hole course located inside Woodward Park in north Fresno. This course is taken care of by the FCDG, local players, and the City of Fresno.
For additional excitement, at Woodward Legacy, the basket locations move regularly to keep things fresh and fun. Each hole also has a tee sign allowing you to see the layout from an aerial view, as well as distance information and basket locations. Not just a sport for Fresno, there’s a course in almost every major U.S. city.
If you think this friendly and fun sport is for you, here are some resources:
• The rules for recreational disc golf are here.
• A handy guide to disc golf terminology is here, if you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about (even if you don’t).
• A map of local disc golf courses can be found here.
About the Hard Pan Classic
Even if you’re not a professional disc golfer, there are many ways to help out. The event is a fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Greater Fresno Parkinson’s Support Group. You can purchase a fundraiser disk here and help support the effort to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
[Thanks to Ken Dubell for use of his photos]