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Jax Blog

A Brief History of Disc Golf

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Disc Golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, with over 3,000 formally established courses for players to enjoy. The game dynamics are easy to learn, which adds to its spreading popularity. If you can throw a Frisbee, you can join your friends in playing this invigorating game. The ease of access for beginners makes it easy to get into, and its flexible and challenging nature keeps people interested. Despite its growing momentum in Frisbee culture, the game has a foggy history.

Hazy Origins
The first known instance of a game similar to disc golf occurred at Baldworth Elementary School in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1926. A group of school friends threw discs at inanimate objects around them such as trashcans and fence posts. They dubbed their invention “Tin Lid Golf” and played regularly on school grounds. Although this story is often thought of as the first example of disc golf, nobody quite knows how or where the sport first started. Dozens of similar stories exist in which people claim that they started the sport with their friends, which might be due to disc culture being on the rise as early as the 1920’s.

Building the Hardware
Disc culture began rapidly growing in 1965 when Ed Headrick, who later became known as the “father of disc golf”, invented the Frisbee for Wham-O. With the invention of this new, more aerodynamic flying disc, people took games similar to Tin Lid Golf to new extremes. A revolution of trick shots and points-based games cropped up in response. The sport as we know it today carved out its niche when a Parks and Recreation Supervisor named George Sappenfield in Thousand Oaks, California came up with the idea of holding a disc golf tournament. He based the rules on a game he dreamed up for school children during his college days. Wham-O supplied Frisbees for the event.

After the tournament, disc golf rapidly spread. People played freestyle games using fire hydrants, fountains, trees, and other objects as goals.

As freestyle Frisbee gained popularity, the Frisbee’s inventor, Ed Headrick never stopped dreaming. He envisioned numerous possibilities for these speedy, aerodynamic contraptions that had captivated the hearts of so many people. In order to create new ways to enjoy playing with Frisbees, Ed established the Disc Golf Association (DGA) in 1976, and invented the first permanent disc pole, which he pitched to the county of Los Angeles Park and Recreation Department in 1974 in order to establish the first permanent disc golf course in the nation at Oak Grove Park. After the success of his first design, Ed Headrick created a new goal that utilized chains to keep the Frisbee from bouncing off in order to eliminate time lost in debates over whether or not a player hit the intended target.

Fun for Friends and Family
Thanks to its relatively easy dynamics, you don’t need to be an advanced player to enjoy the game with friends and family. You can perform and have fun with even a basic disc if you only have a casual interest in the sport. Not only does this game offer a new competitive sport for people who do not want to run around a field, but it also offers youth and friends a new outdoor pastime.

In an effort to support this growing sport, Jax Mercantile Company carries disc golf supplies and accessories. We carry starter kits for beginners, and an array of drivers, putters, and other discs for more intermediate and advanced players. Stop on in at any of our retail locations or visit us online to learn more.

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