Beer pong or blongo balls? Croquet or badminton? Frisbee or golf? Sometimes choosing the perfect outdoor game for your backyard party is no picnic (although that’s the whole point). Things may get even more confusing when you’re hanging out with a large crowd. In such cases, some prefer to stick to the basics while others are in for a dash of excitement. While there are certainly more worthwhile conundrums to solve, arguing about which lawn game you should play doesn’t actually make your party any funnier.
That’s where disc golf steps in. A super fun fusion of two popular games (frisbee and golf), this mashup lawn game combines the best of both worlds, from the active nature of frisbee to the delicate side of golf. If you’re ready for more fun in the sun without all the decision drama, a match of disc golf is the only choice. After all, choosing (and playing) just one game is plain boring, right?
What You Need to Play Disc Golf
Also known as frisbee golf, this outdoor game is slowly gaining steam mostly thanks to its simple setup. The truth is that this variation loosely resembles the one of traditional golf which is all kinds of simple.
However, despite drawing inspiration from the original version, disc golf has nothing to do with all the fancy equipment used in the traditional version which usually costs an arm and a leg. Instead, frisbee golf calls for easy-to-access tools which can be handled by practically everyone, no matter their age. So, here’s what you’ll need:
- A set of 3 disks for each player. One putter (regular Frisbee with round edges), one mid-range with slightly sharper edges and one driver which features a sharp, pointed rim.
- One disc golf basket. Also known as disc pole hole, this specially designed basket is one of the most important components of frisbee golf. Breaking all basket stereotypes, the disc golf basket consists of a pole, a chain holder, and a basket. The chain holder is placed at the top of the pole and has a bunch of chains attached to it. They are installed this way so that they surround and pole and hang down towards the basket which is located halfway down the pole.
The Basic Rules of Disc Golf
A quick look at the frisbee golf equipment is enough to convince anyone that we’re talking about a super easy and fun game here. That comes as no surprise as this outdoor game combines the simplest aspects of the two games, golf and disc throwing. So, as long as you know how to throw a frisbee and have an eye for covering the distance between you and the basket, you have the win in your pocket.
- Step 1
Find the perfect location to play. Whether it’s your backyard, a public park or the campus recreation area, finding the ideal location to set up your disc golf equipment is key. Even though large disc golf courses provide you with more options, don’t let the relatively small size of your backyard fool you. If you adjust the throwing distance accordingly, you are still in for an exciting match with your friends and family.
- Step 2
Set up the equipment. The building blocks of a disc golf course are the basket and the tee, a flat podium from which the players throw their disks. According to the official rules of the game, the tee and the basket should not be more than 50 feet away from each other. However, this distance may vary given the size of the various courses as well as the skills/age of players. Case in point: If you’re playing with kids, you should always keep the disc golf basket as close to the tee as possible.
- Step 3
Decide who is going to throw first. Once everything is set up, it’s time to decide which of the players is going to make the first throw. To reach a fair decision, you can either flip a coin or leave it up to a round of rock-paper-scissors.
- Step 4
Throw the disks toward the basket. The goal of disc golf is to land the frisbee into the basket before the opponent beats you to it. So, players throw their frisbee of choice (putter, mid-range or driver) toward the basket and hope for the best. The throws in frisbee golf are also known as strokes.
- Step 5
Count how many strokes it took for each player to hit the target. Landing a disc into a large basket may sound like the simplest task in the world. But, things aren’t always what they seem. Factors such as the weather and lack of skills may ruin your shots more times than you can imagine. That’s why it’s usual for most players to throw some shots before they hit the target. So, keep track of the strokes it took you to land the disk into the basket. Take each new shot within one step of where the last throw landed.
- Step 6
Move to the next “hole.” Once all players hit the target, move the basket to a different position which is slightly more challenging than the previous one. Repeat the game’s steps and count your strokes once again. You can create as many “holes” as the course allows. So, the larger your yard, the better.
- Step 7
The player with the least total strokes wins. Running out of “holes” to throw the disks means that the game is over. In this case, crown the person with the least total throws as the winner.
The Not-so-Basic Rules of Disc Golf
There’s no doubt that disc golf is a super fun outdoor game as is. However, if you’re a fan of adventure, you can always spice the game up even more with a few minor tweaks. After all, some rules were simply made to be broken and, in this case, revamped.
- When the disc lands on top of the basket, it counts as an “in the hole” stroke.
- Note certain areas of the course as out-of-bounds. So, when the disk lands on these regions, the thrower gets a penalty of one stroke. How about you raise the stakes, huh?
- Change the disk of choice depending on the distance between you and the basket. For example, it’s best to opt for a regular frisbee with round edges (putter) when you’re close to the target, and you need to reduce the chances of a curved toss. On the flip side, drivers (disks with sharp edges) are the best choice when you want to cover a great distance.
- As the game goes on, determine the first thrower of each “hole” based on the total stroke score. In this case, the player who won the previous “hole” gets to throw first on the next one.
- If you want to challenge yourself and opponents, even more, place the disc golf basket beside or slightly behind a tree. This way you’ll have to focus entirely on your skills for this shot. Just throw the disk sideways and leave its curving nature take it from there.
How to Choose the Best Disc For Every Situation
If you’re just starting out with disc golf, chances are you have a million questions flooding your head regarding the disks themselves. From how to angle them the right way and get them to land exactly where you want to curving them around tricky objects, the list just goes on and on. However, the one that matters the most (especially if you are a newbie) is the type of disk you should use in certain win-or-lose situations. Ready to learn some new tricks?
- The Putter
Usually soft in touch and round around the rims, putters are the best choice for short-distance strokes. Despite their limited throw range, these discs glide very well and can be used by players of all ages, even kids.
- The Mid-Range
Unlike putters, mid-range discs can make the most out of various situations throughout the game. Due to their round-like shape with slightly sharp edges, mids (as most players call them) can make the most out of almost every shot, from short drives to long approaches. Given this, it’s no wonder that this type of disc is the most popular choice for disc golfers worldwide.
- The Driver
Last but not least, we have the drivers. These discs feature a sharp, pointed rim which is ideal for crossing long distances without getting drifted away by the wind. That’s why they’re perfect for that very first throw when you want to get as close to the basket as possible. But, don’t be fooled. Their unique sharp-edged structure makes them hard to handle. So, don’t be surprised if your shots are not that accurate when throwing a driver instead of a putter.
How to Throw the Disc Like a Pro
Contrary to popular belief, disc golf is not a game focused entirely on power. Instead, this outdoor game calls for a balanced combo of disk throwing techniques and just a dash of arm strength. In fact, most players note that they are more likely to hit longer throws when they use just part of their power. This way they also can focus on improving their throwing techniques. If you want to throw a disk like a pro, these tips are a great place to start.
- Don’t use all your power since your muscles tense and reduce your accuracy.
- Using just a part of your strength when throwing can also improve the speed of your strokes which can be critical during some shots. In a nutshell, relaxed the muscles help you develop more accurate and concise throws.
- Angle the disk when you want to curve it around objects. Also known as “hyzer,” this disc golf technique can make the difference between pros and amateurs. Want to curve the disk to the right? Just aim the basket and throw the disk diagonally to the upper left. By putting to use various laws of physics, the “hyzer” tilts your disk sideways with little to zero effort.
- Try to keep your throw as flat as possible to cover more distance. How come? Throws which are not flat (horizontal) tend to catch more wind and, thus, break hard down to the left. At least, that’s the case for right-handed throwers. With this in mind, flat throws are more likely to move forward despite the wind and, thus, cover more distance.
Sure, outdoor games such as the dunk bucket and lawn Twister are real crowd-pleasers. But, sometimes they can get too boring too fast, especially if you have lots of guests over and everyone wants to tag along. In cases like this, disc golf (a.k.a. frisbee golf) poses as a fun and exciting alternative with no maximum amount of players whatsoever. Plus, it combines two of our favorite games into one. So, double the games, double the fun, right?