Disc golf still looking to go viral

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

The day disc golf finally goes viral is . . . not here yet.

Hasn’t happened.

But like a geologist who observes trends and predicts a major earthquake will occur in an area with no seismic history, I believe it will.

Many share my belief, but few agree with my vision of how it will happen and what disc golf’s future potential can be. Those on the inner circle of professional disc golf — and their small but intensely loyal pack of fans — seem to think a major sponsor will come along and bankroll the professional tour, making televised tournaments a reality, thus creating legions of new players and courses.

This is a romanticized vision based more on hopes and dreams than any historical sports precedent, and I feel it is completely backwards.

Corporations are about two things — making money and, if public, increasing share price. They just don’t sink major sponsorship money into anything until they can see that it will draw a measurably significant audience and therefore improve their bottom line. By this yardstick disc golf is no where close.

I asked Rattling Chains founder P.J. to run last week’s poll question, ‘How did you get introduced to the game’ for this precise reason, and the results were just as I predicted — 67 percent said they learned of the sport through a friend, and exactly zero responded that they learned of it through some form of media.

Disc golf has grown steadily over four decades almost entirely through grassroots efforts — in my mind a testament to its very substantial and enduring attractions — but also a reality check in terms of where we’re at in the overall public consciousness.

With having more than 20 years of observing and participating in all aspects of the sport, I feel disc golf must reach a critical mass as a recreational participant sport before it can even dream of attaining any significance as a spectator sport. And, frankly, that’s the main thing I personally care about anyway. I want as many people as possible to become aware of this nearly perfect sporting activity.

I feel a moral obligation to share the message of disc golf — how it provides all that is great about the game of traditional golf while removing that sport’s many barriers (cost, time, difficulty, environmental impact, exclusivity) — with people around the world.

Further, it is my sincere belief that if someone knows all the nuances of and details of the above statement, there is a good chance they’ll give the game a try. And if they try it, we all know a majority will like it and some will love it. Most people who have a vague idea of disc golf have a simplified notion of the sport, and that has to change.

If you agree with my position, or if you simply want disc golf to go viral and don’t care how it happens, I have a proposition for you.

I’m working on a book that will hopefully lay out the message I just described as a compelling, detailed argument on multiple fronts. It’s already more than halfway complete. The intended audience are the millions of people out there that would fall in love with our sport if they could understand why we love it. They need to know that there is a complex, yet simple activity that provides so much entertainment, and competition, and exercise, and fellowship — at practically no cost.

Writing the book is only a small part of the plan, and that’s where you come in.

My hope is the book will be the spark that helps disc golf go viral. And for that to happen, I’m going to need help. I want an army of DISCiples to use the book as a tool for the greater purpose. How exactly that can happen — besides the obvious social media and old school word-of-mouth methods — I’m not yet sure. But I’m open to suggestions, and have begun to build a database of people who feel as strongly as I do about disc golf and want to be part of it all. Please contact me directly at jack@schoolofdiscgolf.com with any and all input.

And since I realize rational thinking individuals would want to know more about the contents of the book before seriously considering to help promote it, I’m going to begin posting excerpts here and at schoolofdiscgolf.com. Look for the first to appear in the very near future.

No one knows when or how disc golf will go viral, but wouldn’t it be fun to part of it?

Jack Trageser is the founder of School of Disc Golf and is a writer for RattlingChains.com. You can reach him at jack@rattlingchains.com.

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0 thoughts on “Disc golf still looking to go viral

  1. Pingback: Disc golf still looking to go viral | Disc Golf Information

  2. That’s a great ambition. It would be awesome to see Disc Golf gain more popularity. Ball golf is insanely popular, for virtually the same challenging reasons, yet it’s soooo EXPENSIVE. I think one of the reasons that disc golf hasn’t taken off is because “Frisbees” are perceived as little kid toys, and not as a sport. The perception is that ball golf is for rich preppy people, disc golf is for poor trashy people. We need the masses of non trashy non preppy people to learn to love the game.

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  3. Alan, you hit on the exact main theme of the book. 1- golf is an awesome game. 2- bal golf has several barriers that prevent most people from ever experiencing its greatness. 3- disc golf preserves all of the qualities that make golf great (and them some!), while overcoming all the barriers that keep the majority of the world from enjoying it.

    I think this basic theory gives disc golf the best chance to appeal to the rest of the world. We’ll see, I guess.

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  4. This is a great idea. I am an internet marketer and Disc Golfer. I am currently working on several websites and companies to help promote the sport. Here in Maine there are a lot of people who share your determination, I think we all need to pool our energy. We should talk about ways to promote your book and the sport through my marketing expertise and website accessibility.

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    • Thanks for the offer Kevin. Getting the attention of people like you is the exact reason I reached out in search of those willing to spearhead a grassroots effort. I’ll contact you through email.

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  5. Great Article Jack:

    Two things: 1) consider multimedia in addition to the book; the role of books is shrinking fast as a way of getting the word out. Video, blog, etc are quickly becoming the preferred way to acquire information and get the word out.

    2) A barrier that we have here where I live to expanding the popularity of disc golf even more, is the behavior of the disc golfers. For example, I have a 14 year old stepson who I don’t take disc golfing at our local courses. Why not? Bowl hole, beer cans, cussing, etc. and this stuff is just not appealing to his mom or me as a safe way for him to find recreation. Now, I know that some folks are drawn to the sport for that reason (i.e. a venue to do that stuff, and goodness knows I’ve done my share of all of the above), but we need to come face to face with the fact that in certain parts of the country (not all), this behavior is a serious barrier to introducing kids to the sport, and kids are where its at for the future of the sport. I just wish people were a bit more conscious of how doing that stuff so openly does have a real effect on who lets their kids play. Around here, its a VERY big deal, and we’re ready to lose courses over it (they did lose a course over this issue in Alaska). I wish there was more of a culture of courtesy and respect for those who don’t want that kind of stuff around them. I mean c’mon keep it on the down low people!! I admit I’ve contributed to that in the past. I guess it took being a dad and growing up a bit to see it more clearly. However, there’s absolutely no culture of respect in disc golf regarding these issues at this time (casual play), and there needs to be some.

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