What exactly is disc golf? A fair question for the average person. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, ”Disc golf is played much like traditional golf. Instead of a ball and clubs, however, players use a flying disc, or Frisbee®.” While disc golf is incredibly fun and often free, it has yet to gain traction in many communities. Richmond, however, has multiple amazing courses that have fostered a fairly active community of disc golfers. Offering monthly tournaments, the River City Disc Golf Club is an influential organization in the Richmond area. The River City Disc Golf Club, also known as RCDGC, not only offers tournaments, but they also have a place for you to track your scores and compare them to other people nearby.
Disc Golf works very similarly to regular golf. It is scored the same and uses most of the same terms, such as “birdie” and “mulligan.” While there are less options for “clubs,” there are multiple types of discs. Drivers are extremely stable and heavier than other discs so that they can be thrown further, especially in the wind. Mid-range discs are slightly less sturdy than drivers but can be built to naturally pull left, right, or straight, which can be helpful in awkward situations. The most specialized discs are the putters. They are noticeably more flimsy than both the driver and mid-range discs and are the easiest to throw. On an open course, a professional can be expected to drive 400+ feet and hit putts from up to 35 feet regularly. There are also multiple styles of throwing, as highlighted by Ben Greer (’17) last year in The Match. You can learn more about the basics of disc golf here.
According to the PDGA disc golf course directory, there are nine courses in the Richmond area. I have played the University of Richmond and Bryan Park courses. The U. of R. course is tucked away in the woods of the campus. The course is filled with trees and bushes, as opposed to the Bryant Park course, which is wide open. Having both styles of courses in such a small area is unusual and fortunate. The wooded course style provides a technical challenge for even the most accomplished disc golfer. The surplus of trees makes it almost impossible to throw the disc far. On top of this challenge, the course is filled with par threes throughout. The average hole length is over three hundred feet, so it is very difficult to get below par.
The Bryan Park course is almost the opposite in play style. With few trees on the course and wide open fairways, the course is considered a “Bomber,” a course where the distance of your drive is almost required to be over 200 feet to be competitive. The style of Bryant Park requires you to be able to throw a disc far and straight. The U of R course requires precision over distance, which adds a different type of difficulty.