Disc Golf Great Way to Stay Fit in the Fall
WASHINGTON — Are you keeping up with the latest social sports trends here in the district? Disc (or frisbee) golf isn’t new. In fact, it dates back to the 1960s but became more popular during the pandemic. It’s a great way to get outside, get moving and socialize with friends, family, colleagues or a new group. It’s a perfect way to bask in these crisp fall days before it gets too cold.
Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about disc golf — what it is, how, why and where to play it.
What Is Disc Golf?
Disc golf, also called frisbee golf, is similar to traditional golf. Instead of a ball, holes and a golf club, you use a frisbee, baskets and your body.
According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, disc golf was initially played for fun in 1965. Over the next decade, after publishing a book and formalizing the sport, the PDGA was founded in 1976. Since then there have been official events, tournaments and world championships. There are over 200,000 worldwide members, with many more casual players.
How to Play
Disc golf follows rules similar to those in traditional golf, often called “ball golf” by disc golfers. A course consists of nine or 18 “holes,” baskets connected to poles or trees. The goal is to complete each hole with as few throws as possible and complete the course. Whoever has the least total throws at the end wins.
Serious players can get more information by reading the official rules on the PDGA website.
As with any sport, you need to pay attention to your body. Proper form is essential to be successful at the game and to engage your muscles to protect your joints.
Proper disc golf form starts at your base: a strong stance. Set up your feet about shoulder distance apart. Turn your body so your feet and shoulders align with the line of your throw. Push your feet into the ground, and engage your leg, glutes and core muscles before you throw.
Next, think about your grip. You’ll mostly grip the disc between your thumb and index finger, though there are different grips to play with. Use a firm grip without overly squeezing your fingers.
Finally, prepare to throw. Think about initiating the movement from your feet so you don’t overly stress your elbow and wrist. Hinge your hips, bend your knees slightly, and engage your core. Begin to rotate through your ankles, hips, torso, shoulders, and then wrist to throw. This full-body movement will help you throw farther and protect your joints.
Note: There are many specific techniques and types of throws to learn as you get more advanced, but these are the basics you need to get started.
Choose Your Disc
There are three main types of discs to choose from.
- Putters look like traditional frisbees. They are for short distances and great for beginners.
- Mid-range discs are sharper and helpful for more precise shots.
- Drivers work best for long distances and advanced players.
Benefits of Disc Golf
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, along with muscle-strengthening exercise on two or more days, for optimal health and cardiovascular disease prevention.
Disc golf is a great way to get your moderate cardio in, and it’s accessible for all ages, fitness levels, and socioeconomic groups. You’ll also engage your upper and lower body muscles and practice coordination. It requires mental focus and concentration, which can boost your cognitive and mental health.
As the weather gets cooler, we tend to want to stay inside. Getting fresh air and soaking up vitamin D from the remaining sunlight is excellent for mental and physical health. Playing disc golf in a park also lets you take in the sights of the beautiful fall foliage in the DMV area.
An often-underrated component of physical and mental health is time spent connecting and socializing with others. Here are three ways to make disc golf social.
- Arrange to play disc golf with friends or acquaintances.
- Join a local league to meet new people interested in the sport.
- Go to an official course and engage with others who are there.
Check out the UDisc website here to find local leagues in the DMV area. You may also find casual leagues on Facebook and Meetup.
Where to Play Disc Golf
Ready to jump in and throw your disc? Here are the top places to play disc golf in the DMV area.
Official Disc Golf Courses
- RFK Stadium on Oklahoma Avenue has a free disc golf course.
- Rock Creek Park has a disc golf course. Enter at 6100 16th St NW.
- Bluemont Park in Arlington, Virginia, has a scenic course.
- Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has a beautiful course.
- Check the official PDGA course directory to find the course closest to you.
If you can’t or don’t want to go to an official course, you can play disc golf in any open area. You can improvise targets using trees or poles — just be mindful of damaging trees or hitting other people!
Grab, Throw and Go
Get outdoors and play frisbee golf this fall. Soak up the sun and see the changing leaves. Get your heart rate up and catch up with friends. All you need to get started is a simple frisbee, a light jacket and proper form. Engage those muscles and have fun!
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