Disk Golf at The Tee Pad at The Anderson Valley Brewing Company Course (photo by Brent The Brewer)
What is Disc Golf? Disc golf is also known as frisbee golf or frolf (a combination of frisbee and golf), and is a game that is very similar to traditional ball golf. Disc golf is a flying disc game, as well as a precision and accuracy sport, in which individual players throw a flying disc at a target. However, instead of using golf balls and golf clubs, players throw a disc into a basket or at a target. Score is kept the same with the lowest score winning. The object of the game is to finish the course in the fewest number of throws. A hole is started by someone throwing a drive from the tee pad area and completed when the disc comes to rest in the basket.
The game of disc golf is played all over the United States as well as about 40 countries around the world.There are more than 3,000 established courses, nearly all of them free to play and more being designed and implemented all the time. Most of these courses are 9, 18 or 27 baskets and varying lengths and difficulties. Some even have alternate tee pads and alternate basket placements. Along with the low cost of disc golf and availability of courses, it is a very enjoyable sport to play no matter how young or old a person is.
In the state of California there are 190 courses. Here is Mendocino County with a total of 8 Disc Golf Courses.
- College of the Redwoods, Fort Bragg (9 baskets)
- Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Boonville (18 baskets)
- Lake Mendocino, 5 miles east of Hwy. 101 (18 baskets)
- Mendocino College, Ukiah (18 baskets)
- Low Gap Park, Ukiah (18 baskets)
- KOA Campground, Willits, West on Hwy. 20, (18 baskets)
- Manchester Beach KOA, Manchester, (18 baskets)
- Mendocino High School, (18 baskets)
- Teeing Off - Play begins on each hole with each player throwing from within a designated area.
- Establishing Position - A thrown disc establishes a position where it first comes to rest. A disc is considered at rest once it is no longer moving as a result of the momentum imparted by the throw.
- Marking the Lie - The established position of a thrown disc on the in-bounds playing surface marks its lie. Alternatively, a mini marker may be used to mark the lie by placing it directly in front of the thrown disc on the line of play.
- Throwing from a stance – To throw from a correct stance when the disc is released, a player must have one supporting point in contact with the playing surface on the lie. You may also not have any supporting points out of bounds, touching the marker or an object in front of your lie. After the disc is released, supporting points may come in contact with the playing surface in front of your lie except when putting. One is considered putting when inside a 10-meter radius of the target. Once a lie is inside this circle, all supporting points on the surface must stay behind the lie until after the throw is complete and you have established balance. A player shall receive a warning for the first stance violation in the round and all subsequent violations will result in a one stroke penalty and re-throw.
- Holing Out - In disc golf, there are two types of targets; there is a basket target and an object target. To hole out on a basket target the disc must come to rest within the bottom cylinder of the basket or within the chains. A disc on top of the basket or wedged in to the side of the cage is not considered holed out. To hole out on an object target the disc must strike the designated target area on the object.
- Out of bounds - A disc is out of bounds when it is clearly and completely surrounded by the out of bounds area. A player whose disc is out of bounds shall receive one penalty throw. The player may elect to throw next from the previous lie or a lie that is up to one meter from and perpendicular to the point where the disc crossed the out of bounds line.
- Discs used in play – Discs used in play must meet the conditions set forth by the PDGA Technical Standards. Any disc modified to alter production to change its original flight characteristics is considered illegal; this includes discs that crack or break. A player who throws an illegal disc will receive two penalty throws without a warning.
- Order of play – Teeing order on the first hole is determined by the order of the players on the scorecard. Teeing on subsequent holes is determined by the scores on the previous hole with the lowest score throwing first and so on. If two or more players tied on the previous hole the order is determined by the order of the players who tied on the previous hole. After all players have teed off the player farthest away from the target plays next and so on until all players have holed out.
Disc types: The golf discs used today are much smaller and heavier than traditional flying discs, typically about 8 or 9 inches in diameter and weighing between 90 and 180 grams. The PDGA prohibits any disc to be heavier than 200 grams. Discs used for disc golf are designed and shaped for control, speed, and accuracy, while general-purpose flying discs, such as those used for playing guts or ultimate, have a more traditional shape, similar to a catch disc. There is a wide variety of discs used in disc golf and they are generally divided into three categories: putters, all-purpose mid-range discs, and drivers.
Putter: Putters are similar to the discs used in simple games of catch, such as the Wham-o brand Frisbee. They are designed to fly straight, predictably, and very slowly compared to mid-range discs and drivers. They are typically used for tight, controlled shots that are close to the basket, although some players use them for short drives where trees or other obstacles come into play. Usually a pro carries 1-7 putters depending on their flight characteristics.
Mid-Range: Mid-range discs have slightly sharper edges that enable them to cut through the air better. These discs are usually faster, more stable, and have a longer range than a putter. Some players will use mid-ranges as drivers, and there are tournaments that require players to use only mid-range discs. They are good all-around discs and are suitable for a first time player.
Driver: Drivers are usually recognized by their sharp, bevelled edge and have most of their mass concentrated on the outer rim of the disc rather than distributed equally throughout. Drivers are 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 driver and a mid-range disc. Discraft divides their drivers into 3 categories: Long Drivers, Extra Long Drivers, and Maximum Distance Drivers. Because the physics of a disc require “snap” or “flick”, which means putting spin on the disc, new players generally find that throwing a distance driver accurately can be somewhat difficult and will require experience with disc golf disc response. This is why it is better for players to begin with fairway drivers, long drivers, or even mid-ranges, and incorporate maximum distance drivers as their strength and disc control increases. Most players that are starting off will be most likely throwing lighter discs. Another type of driver, used less frequently, is a roller. As the name indicates, it has an edge designed to roll rather than fly.
Throw styles: While there are many different grips and styles to throwing the disc, there are two basic throwing techniques, backhand and forehand (or sidearm). These two techniques are different and effective in different circumstances. Their understanding and mastery can greatly improve a players’ game, and offer diverse options in maneuvering to the basket with greater efficacy. Many players use what is referred to as a run-up during their drive. This is practiced to build more forward disc momentum and distance. Throwing styles vary from player to player, and there is no standard throwing style.
All discs when thrown will naturally fall to a certain direction, this direction is termed Hyzer, the natural fall of the disc, or Anhyzer, making the disc fall against its natural flight pattern. 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.
Backhand: To perform this throw, the disc is rapidly drawn from across the front of your body, and releasing it towards a forward aimpoint. Due to the potential snap available with this technique, one can expect greater distance and accuracy than with its counterpart. It is important to initiate momentum from the feet and allow it to travel up the body, hips and shoulders, culminating in the transfer of energy to the disc.
Forehand: The forehand (“sidearm”) throw is performed by drawing the disc from behind and partially across the front of the body: similar to a sidearm throw in baseball. The term sidearm actually predates the descriptor forehand, which is seemingly in use today as a simpler means to communicate the technique: equating to a tennis forehand.
|-3||Albatross (or double-eagle)||three throws under par|
|-2||Eagle (or double-birdie)||two throws under par|
|-1||Birdie||one throw under par|
|0||Par||throws equal to par|
|+1||Bogey||one throw more than par|
|+2||Double bogey||two throws over par|
|+3||Triple bogey||three throws over par|