The Community of Disc Golfers and About All Things Disc Golf

After 5 straight years of studying landscape architecture in Reno (AA degree) and Pomona (MLA) I remain somewhat stubborn about going the conventional route of working my way up the rungs of landscape architecture & planning firms, or public agencies, and am determined to blaze my own trail doing design/build -- Now back in my adopted home, Lake Tahoe, I believe course design needs a little kick in the butt, evolution wise. Disc Golf could save the world? Why not? There's a lot to be said about the importance of leisure and recreation and "PLAY' in making a health society.

Here's a link to the entire Masters thesis I successfully completed last June, Disc Golf Course Design: Inscribing Lifestyle into Underutilized Landscape (urban southern California):


...and the abstract below. any comments?


Disc golf emerged as one of several alternative lifestyle sports from the countercultural

social movement of the 1960s and its popularity has steadily grown while other

postmodern recreation forms have faded or plateaued (Wheaton 2004). As an accessible,

malleable form of outdoor recreation its appeal can be explained by the sense of place

elicited from direct engagement with the landscape and community derived from a culture

of play. This thesis identi!es the landscape and cultural characteristics of disc golf that make

it attractive by collecting and analyzing qualitative data directly from its participants in the

Los Angeles region. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at four popular disc golf

courses representing four distinct landscape typologies in order to discover motivations to

play and user preferences related to landscape characteristics. Demographic results

identi!ed patterns of user responses. The results of content analysis of the transcribed

interviews revealed an overall reluctance to travel for disc golf, but a desire for landscape

variety. Interview respondents also expressed an overall willingness and enthusiasm to play

courses developed on underutilized post-industrial sites. Community and camaraderie at

each site was shown to be uniquely shaped by rule-creation through play forms (Callois

1961) by either leveling the playing !eld for newer players, or creating complexity/challenge

for more experienced players. As the economy weakens, leisure demand for open space

increases (Trust for Public Land 2011) and landscape architecture in academia has the

opportunity to research how course growth can activate underutilized urban environments.

With new understanding about subculture and course typologies, designers can apply

knowledge of disc golf as a unique form of recreation to steer its evolution as a component

of multi-functional urban environments. Guidelines and recommendations are given.

Views: 260


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thanks. I look forward to reading the whole thing. It should be helpful in gathering our thoughts as we are about to begin an extensive rebuild of our home course, BRATS.

This is a great read. You've captured a lot. The following is something I am quite certain I see happening.

My own calculations four years ago, using data from this community, suggested that PDGA-sanctioned competitions were about 3 percent of all competitions. My bet is that the 500,000 disc golfers figure probably just counts people who actually play in recognized tournaments or leagues. People who, if asked, consider themselves disc golfers probably number several million.

If there are 500,000 players and 5,000 courses, then each course is supported, on average, by 100 players. Doesn't seem economically feasible on the surface. One overlooked difference: Disc golfers play more frequently. Even a non-competitor can play 400 times a year. There are a lot of those people.

Thats very interesting that you found that only 3 percent of competitions are PDGA sanctioned --From what we can tell 3 percent also seems to be the proportion of disc golfers who are PDGA members, making the number of people who play closer to 1 million -- but I agree, most recreational players must be flying under the radar because there's no good way to track them! There must be millions... The 100 players/course number is interesting too -- from my small survey of southern Cal courses over 3 years living down there for school there seems to be a huge disparity in patronage between "crummy" courses and well-reagrded/designed courses, ie: all the highly rated courses by dgcourereview.com I visited seemed quite popular and active club-wise... clubs/groups seem to form at 'good' courses. So maybe we should start tracking disc golfers through a network of grassroots clubs?

At one time the number was about 3%. However, I believe if you could get straight answers from online vendors, PDGA membership among their customers has decreased to 1-2%. This might indicate higher growth among rec players resulting in more than a million active players.

Grr. I'm stuck at page 180, Issu won't load past that for me.

Really nice work, though, so far. Very informative, and just at a stage where I need to have my thoughts gain more clarity in those areas.

You will probably be interested in our new course development just outside of Ann Arbor. We're redesigning from scratch and will be moving dirt for ponds and swales, and growing in a permaculture reforestation mix in currently open areas—all throughout our course, currently called BRATS.

It's not working with urban "dross," but at least 10 acres of it will be productive reforestation of agriculture "dross"   :)   

After receiving positive response and encouragement from this and other forums on disc golf, landscape architecture and sustainable design I decided to format my thesis for 2-page printing, add a cover, add a foreword and correct grammatical, formatting errors. "Reads" on 5 continents and 23 countries were recorded, and nearly 4000 impressions in 2 mo. on issuu.com.

Disc Golf Course Design: Inscribing Lifestyle into Underutilized Landscapes
can now be found in its entirety on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, a Norwegian online bookseller among others, but a deep discount is available from my print-on-demand publisher/distributor Lulu.com by searching for "disc golf" from their bookstore or this link: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/disc_golf


Topography does play a Important part in Course Design. Also , has to have Equal parts of Left Handed Holes , Right Handed Holes and Universal ( Either way to drive to the Hole ) Straight Type of Holes. I call it the 6-6-6 configuration. Also , each Hole can have Longer Tee Positions and the Baskets can have Extra Sleeve Postions Installed for Putting Varity.

Reply to Discussion


Blog Posts

Disc Golf Approach Shot Tips by Paul Ulibarri

Posted by Alan Barker on October 30, 2014 at 12:40pm — 1 Comment

State of Disc Golf: Disc Golf Growth

Posted by Alan Barker on January 29, 2014 at 2:26pm

What are your favorite Disc Plastics?

Posted by Alan Barker on November 4, 2013 at 1:38pm

2 Tips For Guys To Entice A Girls

Posted by Frederick Cranford on September 11, 2013 at 5:42am

Disc Golf Answerman Episode 6

Posted by CoolDaddySlickBreeze on August 13, 2013 at 4:40pm



© 2015   Created by Terry "the Pirate" Calhoun.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service