I have played since 1983 or so. For the first couple of years I played with regular Frisbee brand discs in my friend Bill Dimon’s neighborhood. We’d play down the streets, around a park and back to his house. The goals were trees or lampposts. Initially, the winner of the previous hole would call the next goal, but eventually we established 18 set holes with pars so we could more easily gauge our progress. Progress we did! Somewhere in this house is the map of the course I drew up with colored pencil and all. If I find it, I will post it. [I found it!]
We’d to pay as many as 36 holes a day in the summer, with 18 holes before lunch and another 18 in the afternoon. We all got pretty good and were basically evenly competitive, but if my memory serves our friend Ross exhibited some magic now and again that eluded the rest of us. We each had at least three Frisbees at home. Let’s see if I remember the weights. 133, 144 and 165? Just one disc each on the course. We played with the middle weight discs most often, but would break out the lighter disc if it was extraordinarily still and the heavier for heavy weather.
I didn’t play at all when I was in Chicago or NYC, but I resumed play when I got to Omaha. The 18-hole municipal course there was wonderful, but I would only play a couple of times a year. If you haven’t been on a disc golf course, they generally have marked tee boxes and the goals are baskets (see the picture below). I don’t need to have the baskets to enjoy a game of disc golf, but they do present a unique challenge.
I was used to big lofty arcing throws that seemed to suit the traditional Frisbees (now used mostly for ultimate). I’d seen folks at the Omaha course throwing the disc golf discs and it was all about ground level missile hucks. Straight as an arrow throws and flights over hundreds of feet. I couldn’t make the disc golf discs fly that way.
In Albany, I started using the disc golf discs more often when my friend Jay and I would play. We’d play a few times each summer at a State Office campus near our home, using lampposts and trees as targets. I found a few instructional videos on the net and learned how to throw the disc golf discs. I started getting control and distance. I started to prefer the disc golf discs to my old Frisbees.
Then, sound the trumpets, Jay and I discovered the Joralemon Park course in September, 2009. The pictures on this page, unless credited otherwise, are mine of Joralemon from last fall. We were blown away. 27 beautiful holes with a good mix of woods and open fields. The woods can be frustrating, but they force you to change your playing style. Softer throws are sometimes in order. If you throw too hard and hit a tree, which happens too often, the deflection can be seriously demoralizing. Softer throws help mitigate the damage of making contact with wood.
We’ve played Joralemon about 25 times and can’t get enough. Jay makes the more amazing shots, but I can sometimes overtake him with a more consistent game. It is a perfect back and forth competition situation. Most we’ve played is twice a week for weeks on end, but once a week seems to be the norm. If I could, I would play every day and still feel like throwing another round. It is just that fun.
I played with Jay this morning and had an especially fun time thanks to a new to me disc. A Discwing Quarter K. A mystery! I had never seen such a disc. So regal with its understated and undersized graphics. Lovely soft plastic. The thing felt like magic the second I picked it up. This one was white and could easily have been left by Obama if he had been in town. It looked and felt presidential. Maybe it was lost by a pro during last Saturday’s tournament? Who knew. I was in the woods without the internet. The possibilities were endless! [Picture from Discwing site]
It must have been found in the woods and was left at the welcome kiosk for reclamation by its owner. I picked it up to give it a test. My first throw from hole one was better than I had ever done. Even though I felt kind of bad about it, I proceeded to use the disc for drives on the remaining 18 holes. The things was magic. I was throwing farther, straighter and luckier than ever before. I left it at the kiosk when we left with a second disc we found, but I made a note of the disc’s maker and model and went online the instant I got home.
Discwing is a new company out of England making what I now know to be amazing discs. The other two major makers of disc golf discs are in California. Looks like the folks at Discwing want to introduce disc golf to Europe. Lucky folks.
I found Discwings for sale at Disc Golf Station for very reasonable prices and free shipping. Since I was “in the store,” in addition to the Discwing Quarter K driver, I bought a Discwing middle distance disc and a putter. Maybe those will be magic, too! That will bring my total collection to 9 discs so, gulp, I also bought a disc golf bag. I had been using a backpack, but my new Double NutSac (!) bag (made in the USA) will be very helpful in keeping my discs in order and at hand. To add insult to injury, I also bought a goal for home use to practice putting. [Picture from Disc Golf Station site]
It has reached the stage of an illness, but I simply don’t care. I am having too much fun!