Disc Golf is a game that has its origins in the 60’s, created by a man named “Steady Ed” Headrick. The object of the game is to land a mid-sized Frisbee-like disc, made of soft plastic, in a basket that is raised off the ground, counting strokes as you throw from the tee pad to the basket. Chains that hang from vertical concentric circles help to catch the disk and serve as the main target or putts. In almost every other way the game is played just like regular golf. You count strokes the same way, there are boundaries and hazards, and if you play like me, you take the occasional mulligan for shots that go errant!
I work in Walkersvile, just minutes away from a little known farm-turned-park called Heritage Farm Park. During the spring and summer I like to go there on my lunch hour to play 9 or so holes. The park itself is beautiful and full of activities. There is a 9 hole pitch-n-putt golf course that is free to play, plenty of baseball and soccer fields, several pavilions with grills, and plenty of space to spread out on this 105 acre park. You can even drop off your yard trimmings so that they can be recycled into fresh mulch, a service that is provided free at the entrance to the park.
Back to disc golf…The sport is as frustrating as its better know PGA sanctioned cousin. Since many of the courses are next to or laid out in wooded areas there is always the threat of losing a disc in the bush or having to whack at tall grass to get to a bad throw. I have lost many discs during the several years that I have been playing. The nice thing is that you can purchase a set of three discs of varying size and weight at most sporting goods stores for about $20. The disks are designed differently based on what kinds of shots they are used for. There are discs for driving off the tee pad, discs for midrange throws and discs for putt-and-approach shots. But you can get by with one multipurpose disc if you just want to try out the sport.
Course design is often purposely built to challenge players shot selection and skill at controlling the flight path of the disc. Often there are trees lining tight "fairways" and it is common to have trees, or bushes directly in the line between the tee pad and the basket. This encourages players to use techniqhes that cause the disc to fly in a curving path on its way to the basket.
There are several parks in Frederick County that have courses, each with their own characteristics and layout. But each offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, quiet park settings, and best of all, after you have a disc or two, it’s free to play. Children and adults alike are taking up the activity more and more everyday so Get Up Get Out and go play a round. You might find that it’s a great way to see more of Frederick County's beautiful outdoors!