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Just Toss It In

miller-article1As I was returning to Jacksonville last week from Tallahassee, my friend Rick called me with a proposal – “when you get back in town, let’s play a round of golf.”

Now, let me be quite blunt. Everyone who knows me somewhat well will attest that I would rather do a billion other activities than play golf.

Rick caught me halfway between hanging up the phone and nearing a fit of rage when he fought for the last word.

“It's Frisbee golf,” he kindly interjected.

I was stunned and absolutely speechless. Seconds earlier, I had pictured myself putting on khakis, golf shoes and a collared shirt to play 18 holes in 90-degree weather. This image quickly vanished.

I thought to myself: I’m pretty decent at tossing a Frisbee. It’s practically a requirement to graduate college nowadays. And, I passed with flying discs.

So, upon my arrival in Jacksonville, Rick and I drove to the local sporting goods store. (Shameless plugs are not in my repertoire.)

beastI chose my weapon of choice. The name is perfect for my style of play – Beast. That is, of course, my Beast is known to frequent trees and has an unquenchable thirst for pond water.

After that ten-dollar purchase, we made our way to Ed Austin Regional Park off Monument Road.

The Arlington Park is where we set our tee time, which isn’t possible, but it makes us sound like the country club-type.

Our home course is the Fore Palms Disc Golf Course. It was formerly the Dunes Golf course, obvious by the covered sand traps.

At Fore Palms, the attire is casual. As I’ve seen all walks of life and all age groups playing Frisbee golf (also known as disc golf), there is no dress code.

Oh, in addition to no tee times and the casual attire, Frisbee golf is free. Green fees do not exist. I can’t help but count the money I’m saving each round.

For the first time, when Rick and I reached the “tee box” made of concrete measuring about six feet in length, I decided on no mulligans or practice tosses.

no7-teeThis decision was easily one of the worst I’ve made in the past month.

The Beast (I added “The” because it sounds more intimidating.) must have worked in the timber industry in a past life. For whatever reason, and there are many, I hit nearly every pine tree on the course.

But, I assured myself that it was better than losing an expensive white ball. I walked onward as I said, “Double bogey!” more that Tuesday afternoon than in my entire life.

I did feel a little better as I came to learn I was the only beginner on the course that day.

I guess with every activity, there is always a niche.

lakeIn the past week, I’ve seen men getting off motorcycles and getting their Frisbee satchels situated.

I find it humorous and fitting that I own only The Beast, orange and glowing, in all its glory.

Avid Frisbee golfers own satchels or push carts that can hold upwards of 20 discs. However, I was not bold enough to count.

Frisbee colors vary from blue to white. They have names such as: Firebird, Viper and Goblin. I learned for the first time that there are different discs for distance, fairways, mid-range and putting.

I wondered suspiciously – how was I not informed of this Frisbee craze?

Frisbee golf has been around close to 40 years. I will take a mulligan on that one.

holeAfter eight rounds of Frisbee golf, I’ve gained an appreciation for this activity. And, the game can take just one hour to play 18 holes if you’re playing solo or with a partner.

Investing four or five hours to play 18 holes will never happen. Also, it’s not uncommon to see groups of nine or more playing a round together. Parents and children tee it up nightly for relaxing family fun.

I suggest everyone play at least one round of Frisbee golf. It is the perfect opportunity to clear one’s mind and enjoy the outdoors.

Frisbee golf is not an inexpensive hobby to undertake and can be a fun social tool. Not to mention, it’s just plain fun!

On Friday, when I got my first birdie on No. 1, it was exhilarating. For me, there is absolutely no stress to break 100 or play bogey golf.

My only anxiety comes when The Beast wants a drink of water from the pond. The routine is simple: Laugh and yell, “FORE!”

9 Responses »

  1. Back in the 60's around the time when Whamo invented the Frisbee, we created a game based on the 007 Goldfinger movie. In the movie, Oddjob threw his hat and cut off a women's head.

    Our game "Goldfinger" wasn't as sinister but we played it for hours. Every neighborhood child would take turns riding their bike in a culdesac while other children tried to hit them with a frisbee. The object was to avoid being hit.

    The person tossing the Frisbee had to fling it toward someone on the other side of the culdesac who was not allowed to drop it. If they dropped it, he would out of the game. If the bike rider was hit he was out of the game. it was play until the last man was standing.

    It is a tough game to play. But, it will take weight off obese children.

    Thanks for reminding me of my childhood passion for the frisbee. I'm going to play a round of FRISBEE this weekend. Maybe a cooler of ice cold cokes and some sandwiches would be appropriate fare.

    I wonder if you could play frisbee golf it with the Aerobie? It is a highly developed frisbee like disc that can fly 200 yards without much effort. It has a hole in the center. Maybe it would be like teeing off with a "Big Bertha" in golf.

  2. This sounds like a fun and entertaining game. And, in this economy and with the upcoming beautiful Fall weather, sounds like a wonderful game for the family since it is FREE and no one can afford Jags tickets. Ed Austin Park will be crowded this weekend. Thanks for the tip. Will go buy my very own BEAST. Awesome article.

  3. Just in case you did not know, Daytona also has a frisbee golf park. It's quite popular. Great information on Arlington's park.

  4. Never heard of the game before, but it sounds interesting. And, I like the price! Thanks for the information on how and where to play.

  5. Good write up. I will have to play sometime. Is that kid Rick you played with any good? Sounds like he is.

  6. Great article. As a member of the River City Disc Golf Association, we are thrilled to see our sport get some recognition. Check out our website for more information on disc golf.

    For the newbies: You need at least 3 'frisbees', a driver, a putter and a midrange. Stay in the lower weight class (150-165 grams).

    Come joins on Sunday mornings (9:30) for handicap, players choice, or on Wednesdays (5:30) for doubles.

    Contact a member of the club at our website, someone will join you for a round and teach you about the sport.

    Thanks again for the article, this is a good one!
    Tina Hicks,
    River City Disc Golf Association

  7. The Local club at Fore Palms is the River City Disc Golf Association. They hold weekly events like Handicap, Skins, Match Play, on Sunday mornings at 10:00am. Also they run a weekly doubles match on Wednesday afternoon where amateurs can be paired with pros to even the field and also to give the pros a chance to teach the amateurs a trick or two.

    Also there is a very nice disc golf course in Hanna Park!

    visit http://www.rcdga.org for more details

  8. This article describes a lot of what I felt when I made my first trip out to the disc golf course. I wasn't sure how to feel about playing a game called frisbee golf. Well almost 4 years later and I play 2 to 3 times a week and can't seem to get enough of the game. It's great fun for all ages and skill levels.

    For any of you who are interested, there is an organization called the River City Disc Golf Assocation. This civic minded organization is comprised of approximately 50 active members. All of the baskets, tee pads and tee signs are provided and mainted by this group by soliciting membership and holding fundraisers. Additionally, since the inception of RCDGA 3 years ago, they have raised over $2500 for the Clara White Mission.

    For mor information on Disc Golf, Fore Palms Disc Golf course and River City Disc Golf assocation, please visit http://www.rcdga.org.

    For more information regarding disc golf in general, please visit the Professional Disc Golf Assocation Website. http://www.pdga.com

  9. If you want some more information online you can visity http://www.rcdga.org or pdga.com. The first is the webiste for the local course and the second is the professional disc golf assciation's website. You can find club members playing Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings at 1000. You ca also see a list of events on each of the webistes in case you are near an event featuring professional disc golfers.