DISC GOLF 101: GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY ONE OF TUSCALOOSA’S SUMMER PASTIMES

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Although disc golf is still an unknown sport to many Americans, it is one of the country’s fastest-growing athletic pastimes. Popularized in the 1960s, modern disc golf is played exactly how it sounds: like regular golf, but with a small plastic disc.

Players are tasked with working their way through a 9- or 18-hole course by moving a disc from a tee box to a metal basket in as few throws as possible. Each hole has a “par,” or a set number of throws that it should take the average player to make it into the basket. The fewer throws it takes to reach the basket, the better. Like golf, the lowest score wins. The disc can be thrown similar to a Frisbee.

Disc golf can be played alone or with a group of people. It’s not too strenuous, so almost anyone can play. Most courses only take an hour or two to finish, depending on a player’s individual or group pace, so it’s a great way to spend a few hours outside.

How to get Started

Since playing disc golf is difficult to do without a disc, the first step to venturing into the sport is to stop by a sporting goods store like Academy or Dick’s and pick up a few new discs. The discs retail individually from around $10 but can be purchased in sets for around $30. While serious disc golfers usually tote bags containing dozens of discs, casual players really only need three different types of discs to start: a thin, light driver for long shots, a mid-range for approaches to the basket and a heavier putter for close-range shots. Beginner sets will traditionally come with one of each.

Finding a Course

With discs in hand, the next step is finding a local course to play. There are three different 18-hole courses located around Tuscaloosa, including Ol’ Colony, Palmore Park and Bowers Park. Situated right next to a well-regarded golf course of the same name, Ol’ Colony offers players a diverse course with wide-open holes that require long drives as well as wooded holes that force players to make accurate shots. Palmore Park is an open, grassy course with a few challenging wooded holes. Bower Park challenges players to fight through thick vegetation as they wind their way through the heavily wooded course.

All three Tuscaloosa courses are free to play.

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