The Utilitarian Disc Golfer (Doesn’t Carry a Bag)
The very first time I played a disc golf, I carried only one putter and one driver. I have no idea what brand they were, all I knew was that one of them curved more when I threw it. My friend Erik also carried just two discs, but this was his 5th or 6th year at least of playing. He is the epitome of the utilitarian disc golfer: just carry two discs, no bag, and have some fun! This also might have been the last time I ever carried just two discs for a round of disc golf.
Today I’m considering the purchase of a new bag to carry all my discs. For the last two years I’ve used a small camera bag a friend gave me- it has two spots for water (where the lenses were carried) and a middle pouch that holds about 6 discs. It has by far been the smallest bag I’ve seen in each tournament I’ve played in- and I took pride in that fact. I even got so zealous about my cause as to ask a guy in my group if he ever considered carrying less discs- he just said, “Nah.” …and looked the other direction as he answered.
The philosophy is simple and obvious: Why carry a huge bag around with a bunch of discs when you can literally get the same result with much less? On the extreme end of the spectrum there are players who carry well over 30+ discs for a round of golf. Some pros in large tournaments have a caddy carry a jumbo bag with over 50 discs. Erik (the utilitarian friend) reported to me that when he played in Connecticut, all the other players around him had huge bags and ‘disc golf chairs.’ These kids just had to sit down on their three-legged fold-out stools while waiting… and I’m forced to state the obvious: they probably wouldn’t need to sit down if they just carried a lighter bag (without 30 discs and a chair perhaps?). How much more satisfying would it be to beat someone with only two discs when they are carrying 30? However, I’m usually reminded of why people are carrying chairs when there is a 15 minute log-jam of people waiting for a tee-pad in a tournament. Anyway…
The main problem is I like discs too much. I own well over 50 of them. I love reading about them, experimenting with them, and talking about them. All of them. The other problem is I rarely beat people. I’ve only played a handful of tournaments and placed extremely close to last place in each one. So the vision of walking barefoot through a course tossing a stack of stapled up paper plates as a disc and beating everybody out there (a la Tin Cup), is simply a pipe dream. And now that I’ve accepted this about myself, I’m starting to stuff my little camera bag with so many discs it is actually becoming hard to take each one out for a shot.
So I suppose if I’m honest, this is less of a philosophical question or battle I find myself facing, and more of the end of an era. The dying of a dream. It’s Christmas time and I’ve spied a sweet red bag made by Swedish people who know what they’re doing when it comes to cool disc golf shwag. So let me take this moment to say goodbye to simplicity. Farewell to dreams of disc golf utilitarianism. So long to any integrity of skill- and hello to new shiny plastic discs which will soon out number the hairs on my head. Hello.