A message from the Father of Disc Golf…
Disc Golf is my life. Seldom is there a life that is so gratifying. Please share it with me. In 25 years of working with young people, my sport Disc Golf has changed many lives. Wandering people who have graduated from High School with no purpose in life have faced up to realities, given up drugs and other escapes from reality and found a new way. In short, they have learned to deal with themselves while surrounded by people who share their needs and desires. They have found an amazingly simple game that makes no demands, has no limitations, and provides a mechanism with which they learn to deal with themselves on a very personal basis through Disc Golf.
Thus we have a new generation of young and old whom we can welcome into our home, our parks, and yes our lives, with confidence and open arms. The vast majority set examples for others on a daily basis. They share their lives, teach others and most of all, they clean up other peoples trash! These are the people that are of an age that many park directors fear, people who would otherwise present the biggest, most serious problems are enjoying a form of recreation unheard of 25 years ago. They gather in large numbers to participate in their sport, unsupervised on facilities that cost less than a tennis court and little to maintain. Newcomers are soon converted to regular players by the example of others. The unwanted soon leave to live out their problems and fantasies someplace else.
You will never be sorry if you install a Disc Golf course in your facility. You will be honored by the players and take great comfort in the fact that Disc Golf will change your park and perhaps you will be as fortunate as I am and Disc Golf will change your life as it has mine.
If you need additional information on the over 800 park departments who have gone before you, we will happily provide you with a course directory at no cost. You may also wish information on the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) with over 12,000 paid up members and 200 touring pros. Or perhaps, information on the newly formed Recreational Disc Golf Association (RDGA) with a total of an estimated 2,000,000 recreational players nationwide. The 1997 PDGA Worlds Championship, held in Charlotte NC, had 344 players and a purse of $51,902. Ken Climo, a young man from Florida, won for an amazing 7th year in a row. He sets the finest example for the World of Disc Golf with true humility and grace. He introduced his parents at the awards ceremony then turned to me and said, "This is my other father without whom I would not be here."
The 2001 PDGA Worlds Championship, held in Minnesota, had a total of 785 Amateur and Pro players and a purse of $64,000.*
Please read the following pages and join us in our enthusiasm for Disc Golf.
Thank You for your time,
The Father of Disc Golf
The first standardized target course was put in by "Steady Ed" Headrick, a flying disc innovator known as the "Father of Disc Golf", in what was then known as Oak Grove Park in La Canada Flintridge, California. (Today the park is known as Hahamonga Watershed Park). This park is immediately to the south of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which supplied at least a few of the earliest players. Ed worked for the San Gabriel, California-based Wham-O Corporation and is credited for pioneering the modern era of disc sports.
Headrick coined and trademarked the term "Disc Golf" when formalizing the sport and invented the Disc Pole Hole, the first disc golf target to incorporate chains and a basket on a pole. Headrick founded the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), Disc Golf Association (DGA), and Recreational Disc Golf Association (RDGA) as governing bodies for professional, competitive amateur, and family-oriented play, respectively, and worked on standardizing the rules and the equipment for the quickly-growing sport. Headrick abandoned his trademark on the term "Disc Golf", and turned over control and administration of the PDGA to the growing body of disc golf players in order to focus his passion for building and inventing equipment for the sport. Upon his death, Headrick was cremated and his ashes were made into a limited number of discs per his wishes. The discs were given to friends and family, and some were sold with all proceeds going toward funding a nonprofit "Steady" Ed Memorial Disc Golf Museum at the PDGA International Disc Golf Center in Columbia County, Georgia. One of the discs that contains Headrick's ashes will be permanently placed on the roof of the center. When asked why this was to be done, by a member of the local media, PDGA Executive Director Brian Graham quoted an old Frisbee addage, "Old Frisbee players are like old Frisbee's ... They don't die, they just land up on roof."