I played all the time in high school and college, then pretty much stopped for the next 20 years – I’d get a wild hair and play once every few years, but all of the courses were at least a half-hour drive away, and then I started traveling all the time, having kids, etc.
About a year and a half ago, we moved to a new house that’s practically across the street from a park with one of the better courses in the Atlanta area. The pro tee box for the 4th hole is approximately 800 feet from my front door. It wasn’t a factor in deciding to buy the house (well, the park was, but not the course specifically), but now that my work travel schedule is a bit saner, I’ve started playing again. I can walk over and play 9 holes first thing in the morning before it gets too hot, and still be back at the house with time to shower before heading downstairs to my home office to start work at 9 am. I desperately need the exercise and have never really gotten into anything else.
I’m not very good – never was, by national standards. I was just good enough in my prime to place in the top 3 in the amateur division at the Arkansas state championship in the early 1980s. Arkansas, of course, was not a hotbed of disc golf then, and anyone who was any good was in the pro division, so that’s no real distinction. The best thing about it was that I had the opportunity, on the second day of the tournament, to play in the same foursome with “Steady Ed” Headrick, the creator and tireless promoter of the sport (as well as Ultimate, and the raised ridges on top of the conventional Frisbee disc), and a wonderful man.
In high school, I laid out a decent object course on the grounds of a local elementary school. In college, there was an object course around the most heavily traveled part of campus, and we played almost every day. Looking back, it’s a miracle someone wasn’t maimed. All of the holes crossed sidewalks/paths between buildings, and the last hole involved a drive from an elevated, blind tree area across the main sidewalk from the women’s dorms to the library, across another sidewalk leading from the front door of the student center, to a flagpole in front of the building. It wasn’t until I started playing a “proper” course with pole holes, laid out by decent players, that I realized how short all of our holes were.
Thus I never learned, even in my prime, to throw with anything like the distance guys manage today. Short and straight was my game then (shorter, but not so straight, today). Of course, the discs were different then – I played with standard Wham-O Frisbees for a long time, graduating to the “moonlight flyer” denser plastic Wham-O golf discs, and then to Kitty Hawk Driver and Kitty Hawk Putter. I acquired a few newer discs several years back but never threw enough to get comfortable with them, and have bought a new batch recently that I’m experimenting with now. Fortunately, my home course is heavily wooded, so heaving it 500 ft isn’t as critical as at other courses.
The best thing about starting to play again has been that my ten-year-old son has been playing with me at times (so has my eight-year-old daughter, though less often). He seems to have some aptitude for it – on one of our first rounds he holed out on a tree-guarded basket from at least 80 feet out, and he’s pretty accurate in general. The park system offered a disc golf camp for kids last week at the course across the street (3 days, 9 am to noon) and he really enjoyed it – plus the registration fee included an Innova starter bag and three discs (Champion Sidewinder, Skeeter, and an Aviar) plus a marker mini and towel – just the discs would retail for more than the fee, so it was a great deal (didn’t know they were getting the stuff – it was reasonable even without that).