Feb 152005
 
Authors: Hallie Woods

The history of the discus is dated as far back as to the time of the Ancient Olympics, but modern day disc golf began only several decades ago.

"Steady" Ed Headrick, the "Father of Disc Golf," patented the first modern Frisbee in 1964 and soon after created the first permanent disc golf course at Oak Grove Park in Pasadena, Calif., according to the Professional Disc Golf Association's Web site.

In 1975, Headrick formed the PDGA, which proceeded to organize National Disc Golf Tournaments.

Today the association boasts more than 16,000 members of every age, although the average age for a PDGA member is 35, said Lorrie Gibson, administrator for the PDGA.

"We have players from elementary school all the way into their 60s and 70s," said Cliff Towne, director of club programs for the PDGA.

The PDGA also encompasses a wide variety of skill levels. Many players have been practicing the sport for years, while others are novices and are out there purely for the entertainment that disc golf provides.

Tournaments occur frequently, anywhere from Florida to California in the United States and Japan to Australia on an international level.

"The PDGA tournament schedule shows 600-plus events, which means there is a

tournament being run on almost every weekend somewhere in the country," Gibson said.

According to the PDGA's Web site (www.pdga.com), the player begins at the "tee box," launching the disc toward a target. Although the type of target varies, the most common is the "polehole," or an elevated metal basket. The player is required to toss the next shot from the spot where the last shots landed until the disc reaches the target. Each shot is added up for a total score, much like traditional golf.

Colorado is home to its own PDGA-sanctioned disc course. Located in Durango, the Timberline Disc Course sponsors charity and PDGA tournaments.

"We range (in) gathering $4,000 to $5,000 each year for charities and are associated with the PDGA," said Dan Coey, staff member at the Timberline Golf Course.

The 18-hole course is 6,201 feet long and is a privately owned disc course. The disc golf season at Timberline stretches year-round.

"We are open year-round but it takes a certain type of golfer to play in Colorado weather," Coey said.

Regardless of the course or skill level, the sport of disc golf is on the rise in popularity because of its entertainment as well as the physical exercise it provides. For more information on joining the PDGA visit its Web site.

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