Why I am Obsessed with Disc Golf
Because it’s fun.
Also because it’s a game. How many weeks can you knowingly let pass and not be passionate about something? That’s technically a “defense” for WHY I like disc golf, not a reason in itself. You can’t like something fun simply because it’s fun. A bit like Descartes’ Cogito- proof for a statement can’t come from within itself. Actually it’s nothing like that, but I like to name drop philosophers that I’ve read- 20+ years of college loan payments give me that right. Anyway, I digress, so I will throw out a few reasons that are at least somewhat coherent.
The first and most obvious reason for loving this game is it’s dynamic of action and rest. You go to a tee-pad, and throw a disc at a target. Once you get good enough, your discs start to literally pop out of your hand and take flight. So you take action in throwing the disc, and then the next instant you stand and watch it. It’s ‘creation’ in short bursts all over the course, and no matter how good you get you still don’t know the exact result of the throw until it lands. This goes on through every round for better or for worse: throw, watch. Throw, watch. Launch, observe.
This part of the game doesn’t actually arrive to everyone at first, which brings me to the next reason. Learning disc golf is an activity with it’s own momentum. When you try to learn an instrument like guitar, you either keep it up forever or eventually stop. My theory is that people who don’t keep playing never enjoyed it enough in the first place. Once your abilities for an instrument progress enough, the music you’re creating becomes enjoyable enough for motivation- you’re set up with this cycle of creation and desire. Your own talents, meager as they are, are bringing enjoyment back to yourself. Bam. In disc golf (I’ve heard the same said for traditional ball golf), once you get that ONE GOOD THROW (or hit), you’re hooked. For me I started because it was exercise, but I kept going back because of that potential for another amazing throw. There was one day in the very beginning I had just watched a video on YouTube of a kid throwing a disc a country mile, and I just mimicked his form… and the disc literally popped out of my hand in a way that felt like somebody across the field had a rope tied onto it, and shot the opposite end out of a cannon. The disc ended up about 75 further than I had ever thrown before, and I watched it make a giant “S” pattern on it’s way to the ground. That one throw was worth a solid year’s motivation to keep playing.
The course I typically play is set up in the woods around a bunch of little league fields and football fields. After the first hole is played, you naturally walk to the second tee-pad. For some reason, this is where the ritual of it all collides with the absolute enjoyment of the outdoors and I’m filled with a sense of satisfaction and anticipation. As I approach the tee I walk up a little grass hill, I see the grass and the sky, I see the basket about 340 feet away, and I take out my iPhone and start to keep score. The day’s work I just finished grinding out in Boston fades and gives way to a daydream of getting my best possible score and watching my discs fly. It’s difficult to make this part seem like a rational reason, and not pour out like some attempt at poetry and sappy satisfaction with myself. It really is based in that simple two to three seconds of watching a disc fly 300+ feet on the way towards the target. And I literally do think about how glad I am that I’m no longer working that day (on a side note, I actually do enjoy my job, that’s not the issue- it’s the freedom factor).
So there you have it, in case you wondered why people play and obsess over disc golf. It seems like every time I mention going to play a round, I get a look and a comment that amounts to “Huh?” Most people aren’t looking for a full page long explanation, but for me to simply smile and say “Dude it’s the best! You gotta try it!” isn’t really good enough.