This is the most important thing we could do to build disc golf into a long term, sustainable, profitable, mainstream sport. We need to elevate the sport past Darts and Magic the Gathering into the ranks of other niche sports like Bowling, Weight Lifting, and, dare to dream, Soccer.
My first memories of soccer were of friends in youth leagues looking like they were having a great time. Once I got to high school I kinda wished I had played soccer – I wrestled and ran cross country – the boys were cooler and the girls played too. Even now my entire family plays in soccer leagues thanks to my brother in law David.
I mention my first recollections of soccer because I tried to imagine what the first recollections of a disc golfer in Northern California might be like? I was recently practicing in a neighborhood park in Fair Oaks, Ca. when a gentleman, who happened to be walking by, stopped and watched me putt for a few minutes. I started a conversation with him and we talked about his first experience with disc golf.
I learned that he had tried disc golf once with his early teen-aged children at the course in Orangevale 10 years ago. He said he enjoyed it, as did his male and female children, but that he never went back because how “green” it had been out there. He wasn’t against the “green” just unwilling to expose his children to it at that age.
How can we grow as a sport if dad’s looking to spend some quality outdoor time with their children won’t play disc golf because of the beer and the pot? It’s not like this at baseball parks, ball golf courses, or soccer fields. Yet we seem to try and protect this rogue sport image almost unconsciously. Part of each of us likes that people don’t understand disc golf, we revel in being part of the exclusive club. Well, I want to open the club to everyone. And here are some of my ideas to start:
- Courses in NorCal are frequently near schools. Send ambassadors to the schools and recruit volunteers and generate ideas for activities. Invite school administrators to chaperone.
- Send the same ambassadors into the neighborhoods surrounding events. Invite concerned community groups to act as moderators, photographers, water dispensers, support groups.
- Create ghost groups or have a system of shadow groups for interested spectators with commentators/instructors. Use same ambassadors?
- Have instructional clinics and mini rounds for new players in between rounds of events. Advertise inexpensive food options to neighborhoods, sell more raffle tickets to locals, put plastic in young prospective golfer’s hands.
- Most importantly – Generate good will at the most basic level with the most local elements involved with our sport.
I know it is kind of a cop out but, same question as last week: What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any ideas of your own? Is this line of questioning important? Am I wrong about the direction we need to take our sport?
Categories: Disc Golf Etiquette