As for professional sports, disc golf has largely flown under the radar. But thanks to a clash of factors – including the rise of YouTube, which until recently covered almost exclusively match play, and the pandemic-friendly nature of the sport – disc golf has grown in popularity.
More than 26,600 new players joined the Professional Disc Golf Association, the official governing body of the sport, in 2020, an 84% year-over-year increase. And since membership usually only affects those who have entered a tournament, the number of new casual players is likely to be much larger.
“We saw the same anecdotal evidence – crowded courses, disc makers unable to store discs on the shelf,” said Matthew Rothstein, PDGA media manager. “The pandemic has certainly given us a boost because it really affected some of the best aspects of disc golf: you can play it on your own. It’s outside. It is easily accessible and is mainly played in public parks, most of which remained open during the pandemic. ”
The sport also got a boost last year when ESPN2 aired the final round of the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship during a two-hour special. The increased presence brings new types of players into play.
Paige Pierce, a five-time professional disc golf world championship winner and the best player in the game, recalls that when she started competing professionally in 2010, there were typically fewer than 30 players in the women’s class. For comparison: The US Disc Golf Championships 2021 in California in May had a record-breaking 263 participants. In fact, so many women come into play that tournaments must now consider how to cope with the influx of new players.
“It’s really eye-catching and really cool how many women play more,” said Pierce. “We’re working on, ‘How can we get more space in tournaments for women?’ Because we don’t want to scare women off, but there aren’t enough tee times a day for men and women. ”
Part of the appeal is also how cheap it is to get started. Players only need a disc or two, each costing between $ 10 and $ 30, to get started. Jake Maxwell, who works for the CTP Disc Golf Store in Wheat Ridge, said he often puts together a starter pack for beginners that includes discs and a bag for a total of $ 30-50, depending on what type of plastic they like.
According to the PDGA, there are over 9,300 seats nationwide, most of which are free to play.
Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned player, add these five disc golf courses to your Colorado bucket list. Pro tip: Download the UDisc app to navigate courses and keep your score even in areas with no cellular connection.
Beaver Ranch Disc Golf Course (Conifer)
Variety is the spice of life at Beaver Ranch, rated the best place in Colorado by the UDisc app reviewers. The area has two places with a total of 62 baskets. The first is a 20-hole short course, which means that no shot is longer than 60 meters. The second is a 21-hole championship course with two pins each known as silver and gold. The silver layout is the easier of the two and the basket positions are changed weekly. Baskets on the Gold layout, known colloquially as Angry Beaver, don’t move but are designed for the most demanding game on the court. Expect a mix of shots, from long valley and meadow drives to tricky tree work and a few meters of altitude. And be sure to visit the in-house pro shop for equipment and snacks.
- Beaver Ranch DGC, 11369 S. Foxton Road, Conifer
- Costs: $ 12 for a day pass ($ 10 for Jefferson County residents), $ 100 for an annual pass ($ 90 for Jefferson County residents)
- Reservation needed? No, but recommended because of its popularity. Call 720-295-9490 to reserve a tee time.
Cross Creek Disc Golf Course (plaster of paris)
Located deep in the mountains outside of Gypsum, Cross Creek has a little bit of everything to please the Rocky Mountain player, including water hazards, elevation changes, and heavily forested terrain. The 27 hole layout offers many wide shots, most of which you will have to navigate through trees, although there are several meadow shots at the end of the course. Expect a challenging round on this course, but beginners shouldn’t be discouraged. Even if you hit a tree or two – or 10 – the hike and scenic views are well worth the trip.
- Cross Creek DGC, 13119 Gypsum Creek Road, plaster of paris
- Costs: $ 15 for a day pass
- Reservation needed? No.
Discgolf ghost town (central town)
Located on the site of an abandoned gold rush town, this private disc golf course near Central City is a gem for seasoned and casual gamers alike. The 20-hole course begins with several heavily wooded pitches that are mapped along narrow boundary lines before opening up in the rear half for wider pitches. Most holes are fairly short, but what they lack in distance they make up for in technology. Baskets are sometimes placed between the building relics from the former existence of the area, but do not hit them – this not only damages the sensitive structures, but also costs you an additional blow at hole 17.
- Ghost town DGC, 190 Russell Gulch Road, downtown
- Costs: $ 10 for a day pass, $ 5 for hikers and children
- Reservation needed? Yes sir; Call 303-582-3083 to reserve a tee time.
Disc golf course with double cabin (Telluride)
Often referred to as Colorado’s best mountain town, there are many reasons to visit, but the 18-hole disc golf course in neighboring Mountain Village is a must for lovers. Located on the ski slope of the same name, players throw uphill on the first nine before turning around and throwing downhill on the second nine. Prepare for a hike as this course climbs a steep 350 feet. Those who embark on the adventure will be rewarded with panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains and wide-open shots that make them real sailing. Be careful though, as the route shares space with mountain bikers and hikers. Once there, take a gondola ride between Mountain Village and Telluride for more views.
- Double cabin DGC, 470 Mountain Village Blvd., Mountain Village
- Costs: For free
- Reservation needed? No.
Wondervu Disc Golf Course (Golden)
Nestled on a mountaintop in Coal Creek Canyon, Wondervu is a cleverly mapped private course with numerous natural amenities. The entire 19-hole course is still covered with dense trees, with the exception of a few tees where you can see other mountain peaks sticking out of the horizon. Most of the fairways have been cleared of leaves, making the course both amateur-friendly and imaginative. And the owners say new holes will be added soon. Expect significant changes in elevation, especially on the second nine that let you hike up and down from hole to hole. Wondervu is also home to an annual tournament called Discs-n-Dabs, where teams sign up for a cannabis-friendly weekend of campout and competition. This year’s event is for the 3rd-6th September planned.
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