Disc Golf a fun way to get exercise

While traditional golfers throughout the northeast begin to dust off their clubs and clean their spikes in preparation for another season, there is another group of golfers readying themselves for competition.

These people play a game called disc golf.

Disc golf first began in the 1970s. It was the brainchild of Ed Headrick who invented the Frisbee. The discs used in disc golf are a variation of the Frisbee. The shape is more aerodynamic with pointed edges to allow for longer flight. These edges make playing catch uncomfortable.

Much like traditional golf, there are different discs for the drive, mid-range and putting tosses. The discs are carried in a lightweight pouch that is typically worn around a player’s waist.

The object of the game is to throw a golf disc into a target. This is typically a “pole hole” or a basket with a pole in the middle and chains hanging from it. A typical disc golf course consists of nine to 24 holes varying from 150 to 500 feet each. The holes are designed to utilize the natural beauty of the parks where they are laid out. Hazards are thick brush, trees, and water.

Disc golf is a walking sport. There are no carts and average players can easily rack up a sufficient number of steps to meet the daily American Heart Association requirement of 10,000 steps. Novice players will get in a lot more steps. Players can set their own pace.

It is a very social game and allows time for laughter.

As in all other sports, there are those who are serious about the game. The Professional Disc Golf Association has about 14,000 members who compete in professional tournaments. There are an estimated 2,100 courses in the United States, most in public parks that do not charge for play. In Connecticut there are four courses that can be found by logging onto www.discgolf.com.

Disc golf is a lighthearted way to get out of the house and exercise. It also allows for a peaceful way to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Anthony G. Alessi, MD, is Chief of Neurology at The William W. Backus Hospital and in private practice at NeuroDiagnostics, LLC, in Norwich. E-mail him at aalessi@wwbh.org. If you wish to learn more about disc golf – or other sports health topics – listen to the podcast or go to the Healthy Sports blog at www.backushospital.org.

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