Parting with plastic brings different results and feelings

By Jenny Cook — For Rattling Chains

A disc’s life starts off in a manufacturing plant somewhere in America, and for the ones that end up in our disc golf bag, each has a story as to how it got there.

Was it purchased at a local disc golf store, won at a tournament, given to you by a friend, or found on a disc golf course? Over time, some of these lucky discs become our go-to discs — our absolute favorites to throw.

So if that disc you simply can’t live without ends up in a murky pond, how long would you spend searching for it? The majority of the disc golf population probably wouldn’t hesitate to grab a rake and start scraping bottom, searching until the sun went down — or came up. I’ve even seen lost-disc flyers
posted at courses with “reward if found” written in big, bold letters.

Facebook and the social forums on also allow us to reach out to the locals with pleas, like, “I lost my disc on hole No. 4, in
the rough somewhere. Keep your eyes open for my Valkyrie please! Call if found. Reward!”

We love the plastic that’s in our bag and would do almost anything for it.

There can be risks involved in fighting to get our loved ones back. My husband once found himself in the position of raking the bottom of a pond in search of his putter — his favorite putter.

As he crossed a slick fallen-down log acting as a bridge, he slipped and landed on a branch — X-rays later that night showed he had two broken ribs and a punctured lung. Two weeks later, including three chest tubes and a
thoracotomy, he was released from the hospital. A full recovery has been made since then and up until this last July, his putter stayed in that unforgettable stench of a murky pond in Joliet, Illinois.

The blue Champion Rhyno was recently found among hundreds of other discs and, after a phone call, it made its way back into his hands. His favorite Rhyno now hangs on the wall. Two years later, the story is now complete because of that phone call.

There are other lost disc stories out there that, thankfully, do not involve losing our go-to disc.

Take an amusing thread at The story tells of a guy who received an e-mail from a girl with the subject “I have your Frisbee!” The e-mail included a photo of the disc being used as a plate for a sandwich.

“This is your mid-range driver in a Colorado parking lot!” the e-mail read.

Cornfields are not fun places to lose a disc.

At the time, she was on a post-grad rock-climbing cross-country trip and continued to send more e-mails with photos of his disc in different situations, such as in the car, on the beach or on an airplane.

After the second e-mail from her, the guy simply wished her well on her trip and asked for more photos. Two months later, the story continues and it is one of the more entertaining threads in the DG Course Review forums.

It sounds like he’ll get his disc back some day and hopefully he’ll post a photo of his reunion for all to see. The disc owner appears pretty laid back about losing this particular disc. Some plastic we’re OK parting with — temporarily or permanently.

Sometimes, you just have to say goodbye.

Many years ago, I was doing some driving practice at a friend’s farm in Grinnell, Iowa. This was before I knew what an anhyzer shot does in a head wind. I turned one over and watched it carry deep into the cornfield. I searched for hours for that disc. It was my first and, at that time my only, ace disc.

I later decided to call the search off and informally offer it up as a donation to the farm, knowing one day a brush hog would be by and would chop my little Pro Leopard into pieces. The friend I was visiting that weekend has since unexpectedly passed away, so in a sentimental way, I’m glad I never found that disc.

Sometimes, losing a disc is a conscious decision. A donation, so to speak. If you live in a state as nondescript as Illinois, any mountain top or canyon you find yourself near, say on a road trip, creates a great opportunity to really watch a disc fly.


If you’ve never done it, throwing a disc off a mountain top is a truly exhilarating sight and feeling. That’s why I always have a few DX discs in my hatch. Just in case.

I’ve held onto found discs of friends whom I have lost touch with over the years. I refuse to throw them or sell them, so they stay in storage. I may run into him or her again and be given the opportunity to return their plastic and maybe even rekindle a relationship.

Even new relationships or acquaintances can be born out of the return of a lost disc.

Throwing off a mountain can be quite fun to watch.

I once found a disc at a local course in Illinois. After a phone call, I found out the owner lives in California and had never been in my state. He lost the disc in Nevada.

How it ended up here is a mystery. For my minimal efforts to mail his disc back to him in California, he offered my husband and I a personal tour of Yosemite National Park, where he works as a park ranger. An unexpected but fantastic trade off! We hope to one day take him up on that offer.

You never know what can become of dialing the phone number on the back of a Destroyer you pulled out of the woods. At the same time you may never get a phone call on ones you’ve lost – or you may just hold onto hope that one day you will.

It’s completely out of our control.

Remember, too, no disc is worth a life. As innocent as your search for a lost disc seems to be going, always use caution and remember, at the end of the day, it’s only plastic. Even if it is a 10x Roc. Some stories will have happy endings, and others will not. But for the ones that do, isn’t it great to have been a part of it?

Jenny Cook (PDGA 28692) is a women’s Open-division player based in Illinois. You can see some of her disc golf photography at her website.


0 thoughts on “Parting with plastic brings different results and feelings

  1. I found a pink Buzzz in the weeds. It had someone’s name and number on it, so I put it in my bag and a couple of days later texted the owner to let him know I had it.

    His text back to me was this, “Thank you. I will contact you later. My wife is giving birth. Thank you.”

    I guess there are some things in life more important than the lost disc. I”m really glad he didn’t ask me to bring the disc to the hospital or tell me he’d be over to get it as soon as she was done.


  2. There are several deaf disc golfers who put their email on the discs in case they lose. Most of time, they included me do get the discs back so thank to anyone who willing to email to let us know!!


  3. Great article! I can’t wait to read more. I personally haven’t ever risked life and limb for a disc, beyond dealing with higher than normal blood pressure. :p I’ve seen people scale 7-story tall pines, balance on felled trees or scale ravines for plastic though, so I know it can be hazardous.

    I’ve gotten a ton of calls about lost discs that have led to new friendships, and I’ve often made gifts of lost discs. I just had a fellow Stumptown Disc Golf member find an Innova Vulcan I lost at Pier Park about a year ago call me recently. I told him to go ahead and keep the disc as his karmic reward.

    Speaking of which, I should probably call the guy who had my Blizzard Boss and tell him to go ahead and keep that one too.


    • Why thank you Andre!
      My recent trip to Oregon had me overwhelmed by the height of the fir trees. As I played Milo McIver, I wondered what I would do if one of my discs got hung up high in one of those trees. Sure it would be a fun climb but an awfully high one!

      Was the disc that your fellow Stumptown DG Member picked up found at Pier Park or somewhere else? I recently played that course and felt like a dwarf walking around that park, b/c of the tall trees that towered over me. We showed up at 9am or so and while were were getting our things together, at least 4 other cars full of people showed up to play. Popular place! There were a few holes, especially on the front 9, that left my jaw dropped, such beautiful fairways!

      Yes, it’s true, a lot of times discs end up as a nice gift for people 🙂

      ** That’s good news for the guy with your blizzard boss!!


  4. Jenny, that was a great read. I identified with the antidotes numerous times, and have come to shed the emotional attachment to discs that I had in my earlier years. Now when I lose a disc that is an integral part of my game and hard to replace, that’s a different matter! : )

    Rattling Chains will post a product review next week that relates directly to the issue of lost discs, so great timing as well.


  5. i currently live in an area(marquette mi) where losing a disc is only possible if you don’t care. playing locally(2-5 hours to play another course) i haven’t lost a disc in the last 2 years. I had one go into the top of a 50 foot pine, to never be seen again, and I lost one on a blind 800 ft hole during a January with 3 plus ft of powder on the course. Joel Kelly of chain reaction disc golf told me to not get hooked on a disc. He said that he plays the current discs, what ever’s new and available. it made a lot of sense. does that 11 time tee bird throw that way or do you. When you step up to a 327ft water hole at Victory Park( Albion MI) why throw a disc you don’t care about and dunk it do to the fact that you are not familiar with it. step up with the best possible disc that you know will make it and put it there with confidence. Dont get hung up on a particular mold/run was what i had learned and after dumping some crap dx disc into some bodies of water over the years, I know my favorite disc will be sent to it’s grave on a bad throw in any risky situation not because i risked my fav but because i did it a great injustice and threw it badly. so what I’m drunkinly getting at is throw with confidence not with fear of losing a ce firebird or even a first run glow ce eagle. it’s not the disc that gets you to the basket ….it’s you. you can buy a 15 dollar disc to replace any disc.


    • Hi Nate, thank you for taking the time to read and reply!

      I agree there are certain holes (water holes especially) which are better suit for a disc you don’t care about. In other situations; Set up a spotter down the fairway to help reduce the chance of not finding your disc in the tall grass/brush.

      On the other hand I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you that a $15 disc can replace any disc. There are different molds out there for a reason (take into account inconsistencies, too) and I personally have my preference on particular runs/molds for my 5X JK Aviar-X putters. I really dislike the new “driver mold” for the JK-Aviars – they are too gummy for my liking. I still bought a few to have to use during the colder months b/c stickiness of the disc is actually helpful in the snow/cold.

      Otherwise, I am always searching for my good ol’ 5X JK-Aviar because that’s the mold that I trust. I haven’t thrown the 4X’s but don’t have a huge interest to do so because if I fall in love with it it will be an investment to track down more – especially in great condition.

      The newest run of Champ. 12X TeeBirds don’t fly like the older 12X’s. Sure, the player can choose to adapt to the new plastic but with the accessibility of online dg stores and forums seeking out the older 12X runs is a lot easier these days.

      The list goes on and on….

      I see the advantage of sticking with what’s currently available in the DG market, and not getting attached to particular molds – but decision is simply up to the individual disc golfer I guess!

      I agree with you, to a certain degree that it’s not the disc, it’s you. BUT, in my experience I have grown to love and hate particular discs for particular reasons – sometimes they aren’t always what’s readily available and popular.

      I often find myself searching high and low for my 5X’s – I guess part of me enjoys the hunt.


  6. I have also spent 3 hours of day light came back with flashlights for 2 hours and came back at day break to find a disc. not because of it being special but because of it needing to live in my bag.


    • Thank you for your reply, Nate!
      You brought up an interesting point that I am curious about – What’s the difference between a “special” disc and one that needs to “live in your bag”?


  7. One of the best gifts I got at my wedding was a wetsuit (there’s a story attached there, but for another time). Every few months, I’ll don the wetsuit and wade into our murky lake up here in Canada and fish out some discs. Last week I spent a half hour in the lake and fished out 4 discs. 2 are being returned to their owner and the other two will find a spot in my backup bag.

    This post makes me think that I should probably wear a life jacket while I do this.


    • Hi Kevin,

      Wetsuit huh? My husband has a pair of high waders which have been fun to use to search swampy tall grass areas and small ponds. But it seems like one could have better results in a wetsuit. Maybe I’ll try to find a used one somewhere to buy…. 🙂

      How are things in Canada? I’m not familiar with the disc golf scene up is it?


  8. Thank you for this wonderful article. This touched on a sensitive risk of being a disc golfer – losing your “children.” My friends and I often discuss lost discs, and our conversations often cover many of your thoughts. It’s a risk we all take.

    I don’t find discs often, but I always call when there’s a number. I wish some of my friends did the same (they know who they are). Recently I fished a disc out of a pond that was not my own (thank you, “Golden Retriever,” $25 that has paid for itself a few times over). There was a name and a P.D.G.A. number. I looked that person up, but he had not been active for several years. I contacted the P.D.G.A., who helped me get in touch with him, and his disc will be returned after a few years’ absence.

    I lost one of my favorite discs on a particularly exhausting 27-hole course two days ago. Afterwards I listened to a voicemail from a stranger who found one of my discs on a different course across town; it lessened the blow and I called that person back to thank him. Thank you to ALL who make phone calls and send emails when you find a disc!


    • Thank you for reading and your response BlueAndy!

      It’s good that the disc you found landed into your hands and you knew what to do with that PDGA number…many others out there wouldn’t even know what that number means. Nice of you to go the lengths like that to track down the owner and make that call.

      Kudos for going the extra mile!!!


  9. Irony:

    A new 18-hole course in Albert Lea had several places where players must throw RHBH hyzers over water. I began carrying this disc that someone once gifted to me but I never liked at that time. It turns out that disc, a Predator, does such a good job at the task that now I dearly don’t want to lose it in the water. This disc once perceived as awkward and worthless now is a go-to throw. Let’s just hope it keeps successfully crossing the drink, huh?


  10. It’s always a great feeling when someone actually calls you to tell you they found your lost disc. From my experiences losing discs, less than half the time I actually get called, and it’s usually only my beat up crappy DX discs rather than my quality ones…


  11. The only discs I seem to lose are the discs I love. (then again I do love all discs)

    First lost disc – Nuke ESP (bought 3 more to replace that one)
    Second lost disc – Z Avenger SS (bought 2 more to replace that one)
    Third lost disc – 12x Champion Teebird (bought 2 more to replace that one)

    I’ve had others of my discs lost but my friends have lost them. They always offer to replace them, but unless they are always in my bag instead of sitting at home, I won’t let them replace them.


    • There are certain discs I throw for some waterhazard holes, I always throw my brightest disc (avengerss bright pink plastic) Plus I trust it to do what I want it to because I’ve been playing with it since I’ve started.


  12. Great article Jenny! The rare occasions I have received a call always made me feel good, whether I got the disc back or just told the person to keep it ( lost a few discs out of state ).
    While there is only a few that I still think about and miss sometimes, there is always that one that I wish I might have in my hands again someday.

    my best story came from when I was practicing drives at a nearby park and an hour after I got home I received a phone call from a young kid using his moms cell phone to tell me he found one of my discs and told me where they would be in the park.
    I drove back and found them and after he gave me my disc back I thanked him and gave him a DX Roc and $5 for being an upstanding young person to call me. He was so happy, as was his mother. Made my day as well.


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