Disc Golf Etiquette

Pay-to-Play Courses

snow disc golf 030What are the best things about disc golf?  Why did I choose this over baseball, cycling, or bowling?  First among the many reasons is that I like to compete, mentally and physically, preferably outdoors.  I like to measure my performance.  I like that I always seem to grow and get better if I give it enough effort and time.  I like the camaraderie of a fun tournament foursome.  I like how easily I can get out for a round.  I frequently like the community.   I want to like the level of respect we command in our communities and  think Pay-to-Play Courses are one of the ways we can earn that respect.

There are existing Pay Courses now, most frequently in the form of parking fees.  DeLaveaga – http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=35 – in Santa Cruz and Lagoon Valley – http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=25 – in Vacaville both have parking fees.  The fee is 2-3 dollars in both cases.  I heard that Shady Oaks in Orangevale was thinking about a parking fee or pass, at least in some part due to the complaints of neighbors.

This effort is a step in the right direction but  a real Pay-to-Play Disc Golf Course that you can only play after getting a tee-time, paying dues or greens fees, and signing in at the pro-shop accomplishes so many goals.  I’m not saying all courses need to be this way.  I learned ball golf at the Ironwood course  – we called it “Ironweed”  – for 5 dollars a round in Gainesville, Fl.  That seemed to be the equivalent of Lagoon Valley’s 3 dollar parking fee.  But where is the corresponding 30-50 dollar round of disc golf at courses with well maintained greens, trash cans and benches at each hole, a pro-shop, accurate and professional signage, maybe a beer and a burger after the round?

I think an official Disc Golf  Country Club could be supported in the community I live in.  It would give the community the air of professionalism it needs.  It would help non-disc golfing neighbors feel better about living next to a course.  A  moderated and professional experience would encourage new-golfers to stick with it.  I think schools would be more likely to plan trips for their students to a controlled environment.  It would increase cash flow.  It would increase visibility.

How cool would it be to call up your local Disc Golf Country Club for a tee-time.  Show up an hour early to use the 9 basket putting course and warm-up area.  Grab a Gatorade and granola bar from the shop on the way to pick up your scorecard.  Hit the first tee with no one on your hole, no one waiting to shoot, no one waiting on you to shoot.  Etiquette and awareness would increase and hopefully become a higher priority on the public courses.

As I have said before, everything is in evolution.  We certainly need free public courses, it is part of the charm of disc golf.  I just think it is good to identify our goals and to guide that evolution consciously rather than let the ship sail itself.  We can decide where we are going, what our sport will look like 10 years from now.  I hope there are fancy Disc Golf Country Clubs, don’t you?

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Categories: Disc Golf Etiquette

1 reply »

  1. Great article with great points. Stafford Lake DGC charges a hefty parking fee, and I automatically chalked it up to “greens fees.” While the course is incredibly difficult, it is nonetheless set in a place all disc golfers should cherish. I don’t remember any cigarette butts, trash, graffiti or other blemishes that often mar many local courses. There was strong evidence that the locals put a lot into the course at every turn: well-maintained benches, signage, garbage cans, alternate tees, etc.

    The Stafford course is far from any roadway, so there was no traffic noise when I played it with my nephew a couple of years ago. Oh, and unlike 95% of other courses I’ve played on a 75-degree Saturday morning in springtime, there were no waits, no unruly groups, no unleashed dogs, and no stress. Other than losing three discs, Stafford Lake DGC was an experience to remember. I would love to see other courses of this caliber, and I would travel to play them (the Stafford trip was 100 miles each way). Was the (perhaps excessive) $10 parking fee worth the price of admission? For a course of that caliber? The answer is definitely ‘yes.’

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