Poll 46: When did you start playing?

So many times at tournaments and such, there will be stories about when and how somebody started playing this wonderful sport we call disc golf.

Whether via parent, stumbling across the game, your friends, etc., you had to have started somewhere.

weekly_pollEven more incredible is the age somebody started at. Some kids were extremely young when they were playing disc golf.

As the sport continues to grow and age, will there one day be stories of a kid and his or her father throwing a disc at a basket such as stories about having a catch with their father?

Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s still interesting to know.

We’ll get to that below in our weekly question. First, let’s go back and check out the responses from last week, when we asked if you had ever broke a disc while playing.

We received 114 votes for this poll (but, unfortunately no photos!) and there are some people who have broke a disc.

The no vote won this one, garnering 72 votes (63 percent). There were 42 people (37 percent) who said yes, though.

Let’s check a few of the comments.

Simpletwist said:

This is my 6th winter playing. Although, for Buffalo, NY, last year probably shouldn’t count. I think it only snowed once. I have never broken a disc nor have I ever seen anyone break once because of the cold. And I love to play all winter long. Cold & wind have yet to stop me from going out either. Of course with my noodle arm I don’t really expect I’ll ever break one either.

Never say never!

Ven Vardin said:

Over the many years of throwing discs I have broken many, many discs. All of them in the winter. Many have been returned to the manufacturer for recycling with a letter explaining how we need a better disc for winter play. Some times I have received replacement discs in the mail. My worst loss was way back in 1976 when two roommates played catch in the cold and broke my Super Giant Saucer Tosser from a Minnesota Company. That thing was huge. As big as a garbage can lid. And it flew really well. The first time most people caught it it knocked them down.
When I start official disc golf in Sept 2009, I proceeded to break all 5 disc golf discs in my collection. I am pretty sure they were old discs and had turned more brittle. Since then every fall I put all white discs and all cheap plastic discs away for the cold. Which reminds me why do Ice Bowl discs come in white?

It is truly nice to think that a few companies have thought well enough to send a replacement, though it’s not something I can imagine would be expected. Good customer service.

Luke T said:

We don’t really get the icy cold days where most of the courses are here in Australia so it’s never an issue anyone I have played with locally has been faced with.

And it’s always a bonus not to have that weather when playing disc golf!

Trevor T said:

I personally have never broken a disc, but I will tell about a friend of mind who did. After a friend of mine came out to play with me a few times he decided he liked the sport and wanted to buy a set. Trying to be frugal (and I being none the wiser at this point) he went to a large retail store that shall remain nameless but has been under scrutiny for unethical business and employment practices. He bought the first set he could find, a Halex beginner set. I had never heard nor seen this brand before and since it was only $8.86 for the set, I didn’t think it would do harm much for a driver, mid, and putter. Man was I wrong, the driver and mid-range were literally unthrowable. As soon as he put any type of power behind the discs would flip immediately and promptly fall the ground. The plastic was super brittle, and the only disc that would fly was the putter, so he used it for everything. About 5 holes in he hit his first tree and destroyed his putter. After refusing to believe what had just happened, we inspected the disc or what was left of it and came the realization that it literally broke into about 5 pieces. Needless to say he nor I were particularly impressed with Halex discs. Soon thereafter he got some Champion plastic from Innova, and hasn’t had a problem since.

I guess that can be filed under the “get what you pay for” category? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the Halex set, but at least your friend has gone on to get good plastic!

Ben T says:

I said no. Not because I haven’t had plenty of chances to break discs (I hit trees almost as often as I hit air). Here in the Great Inland Northwest we have very wooded fairways and it’s usually a challenge to get through all of them without hitting something. I have really enjoyed playing but decided cold weather play is for those who are more adventurous. I think it messed with my timing and foot work playing in the slick winter. I was getting less distance with more effort after playing in cold weather last year, because I was more worried about slipping that I was about timing for 3 months. My hope this year is to do more field work early in the spring and minimize breakage (bones & discs).

It seems there are definitely the types of players who go out all year, no matter what, and others who don’t. And your slipping/timing actually makes sense, too.

Now on with this week’s question. So we want to know — how old were you when you started playing? And if you have a story with it, please share it in the comments below. I’m sure there are some good stories with how you found the game, no matter the age you started.

[poll id=”51″]

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: pj@rattlingchains.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!


0 thoughts on “Poll 46: When did you start playing?

  1. I had always heard about disc golf (it sounded interesting) and dabbled in other disc sports like ultimate but I never got around to actually playing disc golf until I was 26. It was this past May and as part of my bachelor party, my best man decided it’d be a fun outing. Turns out it was and I was immediately hooked. I’ve been playing as much as possible ever since, including in the wintery snow. I only wish I woud have tried it sooner. I really love this game!


  2. In 1994 I was a freshman in high school and this kid comes into class with these skinny frisbee looking things. I ask him whats going on with those. He said its called disc golf. I knew I had to check it out so after school he took me to the local 9. A park I had been at before but never payed attention to the baskets. Needless to say I was hooked ever since but it wasnt until 2009 that I started playing tournys


  3. When I was in my late twenties my coworker introduced me to disc golf. My sons have been on the course since they were about 6 months old. I think they finished around of 18 holes when they hit about 8 years old.


  4. I began playing in 2001 when I was a sophomore at KU. My roommate introduced me to the game and luckily we had a nice course just off campus. I continued to play for several years on a novice level until life started taking over. After an extended sabbatical, and a chance encounter with old friends I found the game again in the fall of 2011. That is when I really started to “play” the game. I played my first tournament at last years Ice Bowl and have never looked back.


  5. About 5 years ago I started walking our Scottish Terrier around a local park. One day I found a disc with no name or phone number on it. I figured it was ok to take it with as long as it was sitting off in the weeds nowhere near a basket and there were no other players nearby. At the time I didn’t know anything about disc golf discs and this disc sat in my car trunk for awhile. About two years went by and my wife and I were on a road trip to a nearby community. We had stopped in a local record shop and there were a few disc golf discs for sale. I asked the clerk about them and he proceeded to tell me all he could, which most of his info was based on what his friends who played told him. Nonetheless, I picked up a couple of discs; an Aviar putter, a Roc, and a Tee-bird.

    About another year went by and I finally attempted to play at the park where I took our Scottie for walks. Only managed to play a very few times by myself as I didn’t know anyone else who played.

    A little over a year and a half ago, I found a local disc golf supply shop and paid them a visit, bought a couple of new discs for my wife and a t-shirt for myself. My wife and I started getting out on a local course that had just opened up in the late summer/early fall. We played quite a bit there. She doesn’t do well with hilly courses due to problems with vertigo and this course is very flat but a good 6000 steps for the 18 baskets.

    That same fall I badgered a co-worker who played disc golf into starting a league at work. I had to work on him until finally in the spring of 2012 he and I did a lunch and learn at work to try and gather some other interested individuals to start this league up. The league got off the ground, much like the Wright Brothers first plane, at a low level. Though the distance was a bit longer as we played from late March into early November. I’ve been going out most every weekend this winter (and sometimes during the week as days get longer or I’ve got a day off work) as long as the weather permitted. For me that has to be temps not below 15 degrees. Not interested in frostbite! Thank you! That’s not to say some times the wind chill takes temps near zero degrees. But it hasn’t been too bad.

    I plan on attending two ice bowls this coming Saturday and Sunday that are in the midwestern area I live in.

    My wife jokingly says “I’m a golf widow!” Along with “You’ve really got it bad, Joe!”

    I am looking forward to much more disc golfing this spring, summer, and fall! I probably should seek out a DGA (Disc Golfers Anonymous) but I’m not lookin’ too hard for that!!! ;-D


  6. I started in 1973, 40 years ago, when I was 15. Started playing in a schoolyard. Went to Ann Arbor Frisbee Festival in Spring 1974 and I was hooked. Became member of PDGA when first started in 1976. Have been playing ever since, sometimes in clubs and for many years singly. Back into a club in Melbourne, FL. Trying to be an example this game is ‘fun for all ages’.


  7. I played once with a friend in Dallas in the early 1990s (my early 20s), but I didn’t get serious about the game until I landed a job in 2011 at a college campus where we have a course. Now I get out at work in evenings for practice and on most weekends for league play at neighboring courses.


  8. In my youth, I abused my body with a lot of heavy hitting contact sports so, at the ripe old age of 32, with bad knees and back, I was looking for something a little more entertaining than walking but a lot less impact than most team sports. A friend at work had been trying to get me out to play so here I am, a year later, travelling up and down the east coast of Australia for tournaments and absorbing everything I can from the online community.


  9. My two younger brothers told me about a game where you threw a disc/frisbee at a basket. They said they would take their lunch break at the local park and play for about an hour every day. So, intrigued, I went to Sports Authority to purchase some discs. This was around 2004 or 2005, I can’t quite remember. I purchased a shark and a viper that day.. I didn’t know high speed from low speed, or distance from mid-range from putter. I did know that I spent that first year or two struggling with my technique. And it seemed my brothers were content with my bad form, as they never tried to help with it. After about a year, one brother moved to another state and the other one moved out of the city. I was left with playing solo.
    Then the course baskets were being stolen and vandalized to the point where an 18 hole course only had 8-10 baskets at a given time. frustrated, I quit. 6-7 years later, in April of 2012, I found my old discs and told my wife I was going to go play a round. She asked if she could join me and a new chapter in our life opened up.. We lost nearly 75 lbs this last year together and really enjoy the time we can spend just relaxing outdoors throwing plastic.
    I played in my first tournament in August and DFL’d it.. But I didn’t care, I was having a great time. My game is getting better and I hope to get a rating officially. I think I am a sub 800 rated player based on unofficial ratings. so 800 is my goal this year..


  10. First time I played was in a P.E. class in elementary school. Enjoyed it so much my mom would take me and my brother to the park sometimes to play with the cheap freebie frisbees we had, until one day a guy at the course saw us playing and gave me and my brother each an old innova driver from his bag. Played a few times in middle school with the boy scouts, and then when I was about 16 I really got hooked and I’ve been playing ever since!


  11. Looks like I’m right in line with the majority of folks here who started playing in their 30’s.

    I actually played three or four times when I lived in Arizona and Texas about a decade ago, but never actually got into it until last spring.


  12. I first tested the sport in 2004 at the age of 50, when grave arthrosis in my left hip was making my life miserable. My son who is active in the local DG-club wanted me to test if discgolf could help me exercise despite of the arthrosis pain. I got some used discs from him to test.

    Trying to find a disc deep in the shrubs, deciding on how to best make the next shot out to the fairway again and then once again trying to find the disc, proved to be a great way to make my brain forget about my pain.
    After hip-resurfacing surgery 2006, disc golf worked great as rehab training for me.
    Having realized how much fun discgolf was I joined the DG-club to have company on my rounds and to work on improving my game.
    Now at the age of 59 I´m still improving, playing tournaments and expecting to do even lower scores than I did last year.

    And next year I´ll become a Senior Grandmaster 🙂


  13. Didn’t start till my mid 50s. I only wish I knew about it sooner. I have a vague memory of hearing about it, but never gave it much thought.

    Being the old hippy that I am, my wife and I found an old promotional frisbee so we were tossing it around the street. They don’t fly very well. I told her we need a “real” frisbee. So I got a Wham-O ultimate lid. Around the same time we discovered/noticed the baskets in a local state park. “Feed the deer in the winter?” we pondered as we drove by.

    So at a family reunion picnic at a different state park we we’re tossing our frisbee around and right there were more baskets and we watched as the disc golfers we’re throwing. A light bulb went off in both our heads!

    The next day I went out and bought starter sets. That was in 2007 and we haven’t looked back. Like I said though, wish I had discovered it years ago, but I’m happy I play now and my wife is as obsessed with it as I.


  14. I started playing very young…around 5 or 6 years old. I’m now almost 30. My dad introduced me to the game in those halcyon days when we were all thrown discs of enormous diameter and low weight. We had a “course” in my hometown that was really nothing more than trees with engineers tape around them. The “teepads” were just the walking trail that ran through the wilderness area where the course was located with some rocks marking where you teed off from.

    We played with Wham-Os until I was in middle school and saw an Eagle and an Aero in a sporting good shop. I purchased them with my lawn mowing money and never looked back. I can’t say I’m at the skill level of other people who have been playing for over 20 years, but I can comfortable say that over 2 decades in, I still have fun every time I step out on the course!


  15. hey everyone….i grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, Illinois from 1977 to 1983. It was 1979 when i first discovered disc golf….i was about 11 years old. Gilson Park, right on Lake Michigan, had what i now know as one of the very first disc golf courses in the country at that time. my buddy Eddie and I were always throwing a Whammo frisbee around and were doing just that on the day we stumbled across the disc golf course. we played for hours, every day, that summer….it was a love affair for me that has lasted to this day, and i am 44 years old.


    • i must know you. this is marie murphy. played gilson park from 1977 until about 1982 anyway. do you remember? or tooo much age difference?? I played a lot with John Connolly, Jose Montalvo, Tower brothers? Sound familiar?


      • Marie, did you also used to play at Farwell Beach in Chicago? Jose, Chau, Bruce Koger, Jordan Halpern, etc. all used to play there during the week and then we would take the train up to Linden on the weekends to play at Gilson. I had a couple of great summers of frisbee with that group. Now I am over 50 and looking to catch my second wind. I get out and play disc golf anywhere I can find a course and the time in my schedule.
        Peace –


  16. Pingback: Poll 47: Buying discs in 2013

  17. Back in the easrly 2000’s, I had bought my first Ultimate Frisbee when I was a junior in high school. Me and a few buddies would toss it around at lunch. After one occasion, I had the sport’s very own Nikko Locastro approach us when he was probably a freshman telling us about the sport. A few days later, me and my sister went to check out his uncle’s, Dave McCormic, disc golf shop down the road and I picked up some fresh Gateway discs and they ended up giving my sister a couple discs too. I didnt really get into the sport much until 2011, but now I’m an addict and I count down the seconds everyday until I can get out on the course.


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