The 10 Best Disc Golf Goals
10. Poof Master
9. Park & Sun Sports
8. Innova Champion
7. Wham-O Official
6. Yaheetech Catcher
5. Innova DisCatcher
4. DGA Mach Lite
3. MVP Black Hole
2. Titan Great Outdoors Target
1. Axiom Discs Pro
A Brief History Of Disc Golf
If there's one thing that can be said about humans, it's that if you show us a way to waste time, we'll figure out a way to waste an even bigger amount of time.
Such was the case when the flying disc was invented around the turn of the 20th century. Yale students found a way to blow off steam in between tests by tossing around pie tins from the nearby Frisbie Pie Company, eventually leading to the flying disc craze that would sweep the continent.
Of course, tossing a pie tin back and forth isn't much fun if you can't figure out a way to decide winners and losers. In Saskatchewan in 1926, a schoolboy named Ronald Gibson and his friends took turns tossing lids into circles drawn in the dirt. Giving their new game the undeniably catchy moniker tin lid golf, the group played regularly all throughout their adolescence, before giving the game up and going their separate ways.
While that initial run didn't set the world on fire, the idea was resilient enough that it seems to have cropped up in several places across America independently of one another. Students at Rice University in Texas played it with trees on campus in the 1960s, while other courses emerged in Augusta, Georgia, and Santa Barbara, California.
Every sport needs a champion, however, and disc golf's would be a man named Kevin Donnelly. A recreation supervisor in Newport Beach, California, Donnelly organized several disc golf tournaments at playgrounds in the city during the 1960s. His tournaments had the advantage of being sponsored by Wham-O, the makers of the Frisbee, and as such they were bolstered by heavy publicity, official rules and regulations, and prizes for winners.
Wham-O's affiliation with the sport would only grow from there, as the company's general manager, "Steady" Ed Headrick, spent a lot of his time brainstorming ways to improve it. He would be the one to create the formal target and found the first governing bodies for competitive play. He's also credited with coining the term disc golf, which is at least as accurate and exciting as tin lid golf had been.
Today, disc golf is a worldwide phenomenon, played in over 40 countries on more than 4,000 officially recognized courses. While disc golf may not yet be quite as popular as its namesake, one thing's for certain: both games are excellent ways to ruin what could have been a perfectly productive Saturday afternoon.
Choosing A Disc Golf Goal
If you're new to the game, you might not know exactly what to look for when purchasing a goal. After all, it's not like you can just turn on ESPN to see what kind of equipment the pros are using (at least, not yet).
Before you start looking, you need to consider the environment in which you'll be playing. If you live in an area that's prone to high winds, you'll want a heavy goal that you can anchor to the ground somehow. However, if you're just looking for something that you can put up and take down quickly, then there are lighter-weight options that don't require as much setup.
Similarly, how often you'll move the goals is important to consider, as well. The heavier goals are a much better investment if you're setting up a stationary course, but if you'll be lugging these things around from park to park every weekend, you might want to save yourself a headache and get something more portable.
If you're just starting out, it may be worth your while to find a complete golf set. Many of these come with goals and a variety of discs, allowing you to hit the ground running. Often, these sets aren't as high-quality as you'd find if you bought the components individually, but buying a starter pack allows you to dip your toes into the sport without making a huge financial commitment. Regardless of which goal you choose, the important thing is to have fun while playing.
Tips For Beginning Players
If you're looking for a hobby that gets you outdoors while simultaneously being somehow less strenuous than fishing, then disc golf is just what the doctor ordered. Beginners might not know where or how to start, however, so hopefully this mini-guide will come in handy.
First off, you need to find a course. Check with your city to find out if there are any set up where you live, as many areas have free courses that are available to the public. If not, you can set up your own in a local park or field (provided you have permission, of course). It's a cheap hobby, so even if there aren't any courses set up near you, that shouldn't stop you from playing.
Finding the right disc is key, as well. Just like in regular golf, you have drivers and putters, and different discs have different characteristics. If you're not looking to spring for a complete set right off the bat, you can find a nice mid-range disc that doesn't require a lot of touch to place accurately. As you get better, though, you'll likely want more responsive options, including specialized discs for specific situations.
Also, just like you would in regular golf, you'll want to work on your swings. You wouldn't hit the ball as hard as you can with every swing on the golf course, and likewise you won't want to throw the Frisbee as hard as you can with every shot in disc golf, either. Fine-tune your swings until you can throw for distance and accuracy with equal proficiency.
Luckily, though, disc golf has one huge advantage over its namesake: it's still obscure enough that you won't have to put up with everyone you come across trying to tell you what you're doing wrong.