Although it has been more than 3 years since I was introduced to disc golf, this is the first time I have had the winter disc golf bug. Today, for example, in Missouri the high temperature was below freezing and there is 2 inches of snow and ice on the ground. This is not my idea of disc golf weather, especially as a beginner who gets frustrated enough when my discs are dry.
These conditions have left me thinking about disc golf much more than playing. Mostly I have pondered my favorite disc golf moments from last year, and those I’m looking forward to most this year. The biggest difference between the two is that now I’m a player, not just a spectator.
Last summer I drove to Charlotte, NC, with my boyfriend and his dad for the 2012 Disc Golf World Championships. At the time, I hadn’t even played a full 18-hole round of disc golf. I was coming as a girlfriend, caddy, and camera girl. From my point of view of as non-player and disc golf spectator of nearly 3 years, here were the top 5 things I loved about 2012 Worlds that I hadn’t seen anywhere else.
5. Beautiful courses
Yes, I’ve been to other courses that were pretty (most notably, Diamond X in Billings, MT, and some courses in Des Moines, IA). However, this was the first time that EVERY course I went to was gorgeous and visually interesting. On top of simply being nice pieces of land with awesome layouts, they were clean with very little litter. Despite the heat of the Carolina sun, it was always fulfilling to be outside just to see the courses.
4. Narrow, straight fairways with tall, skinny trees
When I first started watching disc golf, I thought it was so neat how discs flew in curves and “S” shapes. It wasn’t long before I realized that discs curve naturally, and it is extremely difficult to throw down a narrow fairway. Watching drives on the numerous holes with tight hallways simply amazed me, especially because so many were so accurate!
3. Putting for dough
As the saying goes, “drive for show, putt for dough.” At such a competitive event with incredibly skilled players, putting was for dough AND show. Every throw counted, and long putts created more suspense than any drive from the tee. And, when someone made one, led to more excitement.
2. Watching people of all ages play
As a 19 year old girl, it is often hard to find other people “like me” at the course. Spending a week watching the junior divisions gave me a whole new perspective on the sport (even if I mostly followed the boys!). The disc golf community is so much larger and more diverse than I knew. It was definitely a shock to see kids ten years younger than me flicking farther than I can throw backhand (still)!
1. Watching other people watch
As someone who watched disc golf for nearly 3 years before I started playing, it always seemed so odd to me that I was usually the person in a gallery. The way the discs fly and the relaxed atmosphere of the sport make it such a unique sport to watch. Seeing so many people with so much interest in watching others play was pretty foreign to me. It changed my view on the potential of the sport. Now that the PDGA has announced a partnership with the Emerging Sports Network, the opportunity of having a new role in the disc golf community—spectators—is more possible than ever before.
Sitting around, drinking hot tea, and waiting for spring to come is giving me plenty of time to get excited about the upcoming disc golf season. I haven’t decided how many tournaments I’ll play in or where all I will travel to watch, but I sure hope to get to Emporia, KS and Crown Point, IN to have the Worlds experience again!