Disc golf, the young hybrid sport that appeals to Americans

It is the original sport of Frisbee and the rules of golf. The goal is to hit a metal basket with the fewest number of throws possible on a 9-18 hole course. ” The great advantage that Disc Golf has in common with golf is that it is practiced in great places, often in parks or in Jungle. It is also accessible and accessible to all. The PDGA summarizes it on its website.

Invented in 1975

American inventor Ed Headrick, who was the origin of the first prototypes of the modern frisbee, created Disc Golf in 1975. He was also the founder and director of PDGA, the United States sports regulatory body, since 1976 in 1982. Disc golf first flourished in public parks in American cities , where the local authorities left him to Ed Hedrick and his gang to install their gear, hoping to revitalize places he doesn’t frequent. “ It took a while, but the park managers ended up saying, ‘Hey, we really liked what you did in this park. We have another place where you can do the sameexplains Brian Graham, director of disc golf development for PDGA. The more courses we installed, the more people started playing. Sports developed organically. »

In 2018, PDGA enrolled 37,000 licensed players in 6,300 courses across the United States. The pandemic has completely changed the situation in 2020. Faced with successive confinements and the impossibility of getting together as a group indoors, Disc Golf, which is played by nature and promotes social distancing, has seen its popularity explode. The sport experienced nearly 300% growth in just one year, with the number of licensed players reaching 110,000 players in 13,300 tournaments in 2021, before reaching 213,000 players in 2022. “A total of 8 to 12 million Americans have played Disc Golf at least once,” Adds Mathematical Planning Guide.

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Professional career and television broadcasting

Covid-19 has also allowed Disc Golf to debut on US television. Faced with the interruption of major sports normally broadcast on major national channels, Disc Golf has reached an agreement with CBS Sports and ESPN2 in 2020 to broadcast its professional circuit. A crowd schedule has been scheduled, with 225,000 spectators watching the Disc Golf Pro Tour in November 2020. By comparison, the NHL attracted an average of 400,000 spectators per game in 2021, with 276,000 for the MLS Championships.

The first professional disc golf competition was held in June 2016 in Massachusetts. PDGA does not report the number of professional players in the activity today, but about 150 have been on the course at the last PDGA World Championships, one of the major tournaments for Disc Golf. More and more competitions are taking place at the local and regional level, with individual prizes of up to $20,000 if won. ” We have a professional circuit with full-time athletesBrian Graham comments. None of them are very rich, but they live by their passion. I believe our sport will continue to grow to the point that more and more players can make a living from it.”

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Sports in 40 countries

At the amateur level, Disc Golf has the advantage of being almost free. All you have to do is buy a CD and find a field, often available for free or to rent for a few dollars. It is not physically demanding, it is also suitable for all ages and allows you to spend a morning or afternoon in nature, in the fresh air. All these advantages have allowed Disc Golf to develop on an international level. The sport is present in about 40 countries today, mainly in Australia, Canada and Scandinavia.

In France, the practice of Disc Golf (other name for Frisbee) is sanctioned by the French Flying Disc Federation. The first course was created in 2002 in Seine-et-Marne (77), France has 110 courses after 20 years. Neither the FFFD nor the National Golf Commission (CNDG) communicates about the number of players in France, but the country organizes national tournaments every year. The best active player, Sylvain Gauge, has won the national title 13 times. He was also the European Champion in 2018.

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