It’s amazing what happens when you can break things down in a simple way.
Over the years, I’ve had my bouts with being too competitive in sports, despite knowing I was usually over-matched.
Years ago, I was a semi-competitive ball golfer. It’s not that I was great by any means. But within the divisions in which I competed, I could do decently well. On my home course, I never shot anything better than eight-over-par, and that only happened a few times. Often enough, I was more in the range of plus-12 to plus-20, on average. Sometimes better, sometimes much worse.
Despite knowing I had a ton of limitations, didn’t hit the range as much as I should and didn’t understand the game as well as I thought I did, I still got irritated and would get into my own head.
That’s not a rarity.
Up until the past few years, I took sports way too seriously. I over-thought things. And, to be fair, I’m not the greatest athlete. That doesn’t take away the feeling that I should do better than I do.
And, I won’t lie, it’s irritating to watch others do well when I think I should be doing much better.
A few years back, I hit a wall, realizing I took things too seriously. I needed to do something to calm it down a bit. You know, the approach of taking a deep breath and looking at the big picture.
By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff
So far the snippets I’ve posted from my upcoming book have been from the first chapter, which first describes the reason golf is a singularly great game. It then contrasts ball golf with disc golf in light of the many limitations of the former and the lack of those limitations with the latter.
This post continues that dissertation with an examination of time factor, as in, how long each takes to play, and exactly why that matters when it comes to accessibility.
Keep in mind this book is aimed primarily at the non-disc golfing public, designed to properly educate them about the nuances and beneficial aspects of our sport. As a way of explaining the intention of certain passages to you, the disc golf-enthusiast reader, I’ve added some further comments to the text. Those are the sentences in italics.
The Time Factor in Golf
According to GolfLink, a portal website that bills itself as “the most complete online golf resource available on the web,” an average foursome playing 18 holes on an average course at average speed “should expect the round to take near the maximum of 4-5 hours. They estimate that for groups using motorized golf carts the duration might be as low as 3.5 to 4 hours, but that, of course, adds to the list of expenses and reduces the amount of beneficial exercise. GolfLink is a for-profit commerce site dependent on the popularity of the game with no reason to exaggerate this estimate. Quite the opposite, actually.
For an increasing number of people, that’s just too big a chunk of time to carve out of their busy schedules already filled with work and family commitments. In a report in the New York Times in 2009 titled ‘More Americans Are Giving Up Golf‘, Paul Vitello points out that “The total number of people who play has declined or remained flat each year since 2000, dropping to about 26 million from 30 million, according to the National Golf Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.”
A check of more recent statistics on the National Golf Foundation website confirms that the downward trend continues and even steepens into 2012.
By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff
It is my firm belief that the sport of disc golf — which already has enjoyed strong, steady growth for more than two decades — will experience an explosion in popularity when two things happen:
- The general public is properly educated about the true nature and accessibility of disc golf, and all the nuances that make it so much more like traditional golf than most people assume to be the case (the variety of discs and throws, the effects of wind and terrain, etc.).
- Disc golf reaches a ‘tipping point’ in terms of popular opinion, triggered by either a critical mass of popular culture/media recognition or a handful of random watershed moments. For instance, if a super-famous person suddenly lists disc golf as their favorite activity, or a TV show, website, or publication with millions of fans features it prominently.
Now, it is altogether possible that a famous person will stumble across disc golf at any time, fall in love with the sport, and by sharing his or her passion for the sport do more to promote it in one day than all other players combined have done up to that point. But unless there is some exhaustive source of correct, detailed, and compelling information available that explains the many different reasons why people that have played it love it so much, chances of that watershed moment resulting in anything but a temporary fad are minimal.
Those seeking the truth about the sport will find nothing substantial — or worse, the misinformation and oversimplifications that currently exist. My goal is to fill that void and have answers to the inevitable questions ready and waiting in a book, for the day the dam breaks.
I’m writing a book that aims to make the two events numbered above much likelier to occur, as well as making the inevitable explosion of disc golf a mere launching point for something with staying power. The book will include chapters that discuss the history, finer points, unique grassroots growth, and formats of the sport, among others. But the unifying theme is a very specific sales pitch for disc golf, and it’s established in the first chapter and repeated throughout: