Disc golf

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Disc golf is a disc game in which individual players throw a flying disc into a basket or at a target. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, "The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc."[2] Of the more than 3000 established disc golf courses as of 2010, approximately 87% are free.[3] The game is played in the United States and more than 20 other countries around the world.[4]



The early history of disc golf is closely tied to the somewhat mysterious history of the recreational flying disc (especially as popularized by Wham-O Inc.'s trademarked Frisbees) and may have been invented in the early 1900s, but it is not known for sure. Modern disc golf started in the late 1960s, when it seems to have been invented in many places and by many people independently. Two of the best-known figures in the sport are George Sappenfield and "Steady Ed" Headrick who coined the term "Disc Golf" and who introduced the first formal disc golf target with chains and a basket, the Mach 1. In 1975, Headrick formed the first disc golf association, the PDGA, which now officiates the standard rules of play for the sport. The sport has grown at a rate of 12-15 percent annually for more than the past decade, with nearly 3,000 courses in the US and over 3,000 globally. The game is now played in over 40 countries worldwide, primarily in North America, Central and Western Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.[5]

George Sappenfield and early object courses

In 1965, George Sappenfield, from California, was a recreation counselor during summer break from college. While playing golf one afternoon he realized that it might be fun for the kids on his playground if they played "golf" with frisbees. He set up an object course for his kids to play on. Other early courses were also of this type, using anything from lamp poles to fire hydrants as targets. When he finished college in 1968, Sappenfield became the Parks and Recreation Supervisor for Conejo Recreation and Park District in Thousand Oaks, California. George introduced the game to many adults by planning a Disc Golf Tournament as part of a recreation project. He contacted Wham-O Manufacturing and asked them for help with the event. Wham-O supplied frisbees for throwing, and hula hoops for use as targets. However, it would not be until the early 1970s that courses began to crop up in various places in the Midwest and the East Coast (some perhaps through Sappenfield's promotion efforts, others probably independently envisioned).[6] Some of Sappenfield's acquaintances are known to have brought the game to UC Berkeley. It quickly became popular on campus, with a permanent course laid out in 1970.[7]

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