Starting this weekend, in honor of The Masters, we’re “Fighting the Pieties that Be” here at halphillips.net by celebrating golf’s non-traditional, even subversive appeal. Friday we featured the internally illuminated, colorfully sequined mannequins I recently came across in a Vietnamese pro shop. Today’s topic: Disc Golf.
Nothing rolls the eyes of traditional golfers than a discussion of disc golf. Well, I’m here to tell you that not only does disc golf totally rock, but I played more disc rounds in 2010 than actual golf rounds.
Why? Well, there are lots of reasons: First and foremost, between the ears the two versions are uncannily similar. Let me give you an example: Driving. We all know that over-swinging is a recipe for disaster, especially when wielding the big stick. The dynamic is identical with the disc, including the urge to vacantly muscle a drive out there in order to 1) satisfy some animal urge; and 2) gain 5-10 extra yards that won’t, in the end, truly enable you to play the hole in fewer strokes. Managing this dynamic is a dead-on crossover shared by these two incarnations of the game.
Here’s another: When you’re standing over a 4-foot putt, the traditional golfer must weigh the merits of charging said putt, taking the break out, and, should he miss, living with the consequences of another 4-footer coming back — or lagging it, increasing the break one must play, but pretty much guaranteeing one won’t three-jack. The same thought process and consequences are extant with a putting disc in your hands. Exactly.
I could go on and on. There are differences. The most striking is disc golf clever rendering of the body and club as one. But it’s the same game.
I plan to blog more on this topic because there are so many aspects to disc golf’s striking appeal — aspects that tend to address directly many misgivings we have concerning actual golf: A disc round takes no more than 90 minutes to play, for example; there is no dress code; there is absolutely no barrier to entry — anyone can become competent in a few weeks; rounds are $5-10; the courses themselves are really cool, all of them distinct 3:1 miniatures of actual golf courses — with the added dimension that forested areas, if thinned a smidge, produce a corridor of play unlike anything in the actual golf world.
I’ll leave you, for now, with a word on the game’s aural sensations. There are no “cups” in disc golf. One holes out by landing the disc in a basket. I’ve included a picture here, to give you an idea of what I mean. But imagine a circular metal basket that sits halfway up a 5foot metal pole. Atop the poll sits a metal disc the same diameter as the basket. Draping down from the top disk are chains that deaden the oncoming disc, dropping it into the basket.
Holing out in actual golf only makes a sound on TV, whereas holing out with a disc produces a distinctive sound: faintly metallic, a bit plinky, but definitely audible from a couple hundred yards away and pleasing in a communal sense. It’s sorta like the sound a kid makes as he mounts a chain link fence, with the idea of clambering over. Not exactly the roar of a crowd filtered through Georgia pines; indeed, that’s something that most of us will never hear, on any golf course. But to the ears of disc golfer, it’s music.