By now, there are already two beautifully designed courses in Braunschweig alone, one with 15 and one with 18 holes.
As some may say, Disc Golf is the financially cheaper version to regular Golf, because not only is the game principle, but also the selection of game equipment very similar.
The goal is to complete a course of mostly 18 holes in as few throws as possible. In addition, there is a different club for every situation, or here: a different disc.
Compared to a Golf club set, which starts at around 650 €, you can get a disc set, consisting of three different discs, already at around 30, - €. Of course, the rule that applies to both sports: The sky is the limit. Financially speaking.
However, to carry a disc set worth 650 € in your bag, you will need a lot of discs. And I mean a lot.
Since Disc Golf courses are usually set up in public parks, you don't have to register at a club to play on Disc Golf courses, as it is the case in regular Golf. Club fees accumulating to several hundreds or thousands of Euros are therefore not the case.
By the way, Disc Golf is especially suitable for beginners. Why? Because it offers a steep learning curve. Contrary to regular Golf, where you’ll easily miss 95 out of 100 swings, the Disc will actually fly each time you throw it. In the beginning, it does not always fly exactly where you want it to fly to, but the problem mostly disappears after 2-3 Disc Golf sessions. Disc Golf therefore is a sport that you will have fun with very fast.
Now you know that Disc Golf has some slight similarities with regular Golf and has a way faster learning curve and success ratio.
But what exactly is Disc Golf? How is it played? Is it really a "sport" and for whom is it suitable?
Questions over questions. Let's start at the very top.
Like regular Golf, you have a course of mostly 18 holes. There is a determined throwing zone, like the "tee shot" in Golf, from which you will make your first throw. From this "box", how it is called in Disc Golf, you throw your disc as close towards the trash can as possible. But from now on we call the trash can "Basket". From the point where your disc lands, you make your second throw to get even closer to the basket. The fewer throws you need to sink your disc into the basket, the better.
I mean, how many throws could it be?!
As in Golf, the "par" indicates the average number of throws you should need for the hole you are playing. Most holes are actually a par 3, which means that you should sink your disc in the basket with three throws. For example:
If you play all of the courses exactly par, so exactly in the given number of throws, your result is zero (0). No throw over, no throw under. Exactly even. The table below (an 8 hole example) illustrates this a bit better.
As the table shows, all holes are par 3. The player needed more throws than planned on holes 3, 4, 6 and 8 going over par. This difference in the number of throws is added up in the end. The player has finished the course with a score of +5, which equals to 5 throws over par.
Your score can of course also go negative (below zero) if you need fewer throws than the hole requires.
Since the player with the fewest throws wins, a result below zero is always better than one above zero.
So on an average 18-hole course with all holes being a par 3, you're already throwing your disc 54 times on average.
54 repetitions of the same movement is more tiring than you might think.
But how physically challenging is it really?
First of all, as in any physical exercise, over time your body will get used to the stress of thousands and thousands of repetitions and your performance will increase. A perfect technique will make it easier for you to throw your disc more often without getting fatigued.
Some professionals believe that the general idea of technique is irrelevant though. Instead, it is much more important to cover as far of a distance as possible per throw. In professional terms the technique of a "Full Rip" is also known as "Full Yeet" or "Yeeting". In Yeeting, all power is put into the throw, which makes it particularly difficult to precisely aim at a target. In this case optimal technique is essential for a successful Yeet.
The physical demands of Disc Golf
Disc Golf is a sport that can be extremely demanding, both physically and mentally, if you play it seriously. A solid basic physical fitness is recommended, but definitely not a necessity.
During an entire round on a Disc Golf course, you often cover a distance of 5 - 8 km and take up to 8,000 steps, mostly on uneven terrain, with smaller "mountain passages" depending on the course. You'll often find yourself hanging between branches and bushes in somewhat unusual throwing positions, as you'll have to throw your disc from exactly the point where it landed. If this is in the bushes, then this is in the bushes.
The physical intensity of the movements in Disc Golf can be compared to a brisk walk in the park. A joint-friendly walk at a brisk pace where you will cross some sticks and climb some stones.
Due to the powerful throwing motions, you also put some physical stress on your muscles. The throwing movements differ in two basic ways. The classic backhand throw, as well as the more unusual forehand throw.
With the regular backhand throw, the body works with smaller muscle groups than compared to the forehand throw.
The back shoulder, the outward-rotators of the shoulder, the rhomboids and the traps are much smaller and weaker compared to their movement antagonists in the forehand throw. In order to compensate for this muscular weakness and to still be able to throw the disc far, your core muscles work even more. Your full torso, including lateral and oblique abdominal muscles, latissimus, back extensor and square lumbar muscle actively participate in the power development of the backhand throw by throwing from a full 180° upper body rotation.
You have back problems and have to be careful with spinal rotation movements? No problem. Just throw it forehand.
With the forehand throw, the rotational load on your core and thus the rotational and shearing forces on your spine are reduced considerably, as your chest muscles, front shoulder and the internal rotators of the shoulder can apply considerably more force. Your core itself stabilizes you during this process, but contributes less to the actual force generation.
According to discgolfnow.com, with a generous round of Disc Golf in the park you can burn up between 400 - 500 kcal. This is about the same as one hour of jogging.
The advantage: Disc Golf is much more joint-friendly than jogging. You think you have to jog to become fit? You rather have to be fit to jog. The constant vibrations you get with every step of the run put so much stress on your joints that you could force patella- & Achilles tendon and/or knee- & hip-injuries, if your muscles cannot withstand the strain.
Speaking of advantages: Especially in times of social distancing, Disc Golf is an excellent choice because you certainly can't convince any of your friends to join this "nerd sport" and you will always play alone anyway.
Jokes aside! Even in a group of 8 people or more, Disc Golf always allows you to keep the necessary minimum social distance, since basically everyone plays against everyone else, but everyone still plays for himself. There is no physical contact, like in Ultimate Frisbee or soccer.
Disc Golf enjoys more and more popularity all around the globe. With its steep learning curve it is particularly suitable as a hobby sport for those, who like to be out in the open and who want more, than just a boring walk in the park. With distances between 5 - 8 km covered per round and physical exercise in the complete torso area, Disc Golf can burn almost as many calories as an extensive summer run.
If you have not tried Disc Golf yet, but feel like you are completely hooked, then you are good to go with an initial investment of about 30, - € for a starter Disc Golf set to test your skills in the nearest Disc Golf course.
Believe me, it is worth it!