One of the reasons I love disc golf is the accessibility of the sport. Anyone can get into this sport and it’s enjoyable for the entire family. But what does it actually cost to get started? How much is disc golf equipment? Do disc golf courses cost money to play? In this article we look at the cost to play this awesome sport and answer the question, is disc golf free?
Disc golf is one of the best sports today for someone that wants to get outside, enjoy the sun, walk, and enjoy a recreational activity that’s not only fun but also good for you. Disc golf requires concentration and coordination to successfully get your disc down the course and into the basket. For players with limited athletic ability, you can start slow and build confidence while taking your game to the next level as you grow and develop an understanding and love for disc golf.
Do Disc Golf Courses Cost Money?
No. More than half of all disc golf courses are free courses built by the city in which they reside. They are accessible to the public and anyone who wants to use them does not require payment to play.
There is a growing percentage of “paytoplay” private courses being developed or operational. Most of these courses come with additional amenities such as an on premise pro shop, facilities and concessions, and are usually a little better maintained. They also are typically the location for competitive events and professional tour tournaments (disc golf pro tour, DGPT.com), where the best players in the world come to compete. Be sure to check in case tee times need to be scheduled ahead of showing up.
How To Find Free Disc Golf Courses
More often than not, a quick google search should yield good results. Try googling “disc golf courses near me” or “disc golf” followed by your town or a close-by town. Most towns and cities have incorporated disc golf courses into their public parks and leisure hiking trails.
If you’re having a difficult time finding a course, try utilizing an app such as Udisc.com or PDGA.com. As we said, most courses are free to use, but in the case a course isn’t free, it should be noted online.
Everything Needed To Play Disc Golf?
So now that you have a course in mind it’s time to get some gear. The good news is that you really only need one disc. But trust me, you’re going to want at least a couple of discs and will more than likely want a few extras as well.
Types of discs to use when disc golfing
Typically, when disc golfing you have three discs you use. Each disc is used for a different part of the game.
- Driver disc golf discs: Your driver is the fastest and farthest throwable disc. It’s used when you tee off and start the hole. You want to cover as much ground as possible and get as close to the hole as possible when you tee off.
- Mid-range disc golf discs: Your mid-range discs are used for exactly what they sound like. If you play traditional golf, these are your fairway clubs. They are used for mid-range shots where you need speed, and distance, but more control than a driver would give you. Mid-range discs offer the most versatility and if you’re starting out and can only afford one disc, it’s recommended you start with a mid-range disc.
- Putter disc golf discs: If you’re a golfer, you know that putting requires the most control and precision. That’s what a putter disc will give the thrower. Putters are used for increased accuracy when close to the target. Putters are usually the heaviest of the 3 discs and therefore offer the most control, but the least distance.
How Much Do Disc Golf Discs Cost?
Most players start out with a beginner starter set, you can read all about them here: Best Disc Golf Set for Beginners. These sets typically offer the minimum 3 disc types listed above and will suit you well for your first several rounds. The prices of these sets vary depending on the number of discs and quality of plastic…however the typical price of a starter set ranges from $20 to $30.
Eventually, you’re going to get hooked and your desire for some more advanced discs will grow, so check out these three articles to brush up on specific discs:
Individually, disc golf discs can range from $10 all the way up to $50. With the higher price point being a custom dyed disc. Typically a good quality flying disc will be in the $15 to $20 range.
If you’re going to add discs to your collection then it’s safe to say you are probably going to need a great way to carry them. Enter the next piece of equipment, the disc golf bag…
How Much Is a Disc Golf Bag?
Now here is where we start to get into a bit more money. Bags range in capacity, features, and quality. Depending on the bag you can go as low as $15 and as high as $250. Don’t worry though we got you covered, below are some great articles and reviews on disc golf bags that will suit your needs and match your budget:
Other Costs For Disc Golf
Below are some optional suggestions to make your disc golf experience a little more enjoyable. I don’t always take a full bag of stuff, but these items are nice to have handy and make for some easy gifts.
- Foam Knee Pad: for that wet area or those of us who have bad knees.
- Towel or Two: the ability to wipe off your hands before making the next throw is key to having confidence in your grip.
- Sunscreen: skin cancer sucks! Not all sunscreens are made equal, we like this brand the best.
A few more considerations…
- Chap Stick
Playing Your First Round Of Disc Golf
You’ll start your game at the tee area pad/box. Most courses have a map or kiosk showing a layout of the course. If the course is designed well the holes or disc golf baskets will progress in an obvious manner all the way to the final basket. Courses can be 9-hole disc golf course or a full 18-hole course.
On the tee, pull out your Driver or Mid-Range disc and let ‘er rip. You should release the disc before your foot goes off of the tee pad, otherwise this would be known as a foot-fault and officially cost you one stroke. Go to the spot your disc landed. Your next throw will be from this spot, on and on until you make it into the basket. Add those attempts up to record your strokes/throws. The fewest number of strokes is the winner. Thats the basics for playing the game of disc golf.
Good Things To Know:
- Order of Throwing: whoever’s disc is the furthest away from the basket throws next
- Out of Bounds Disc: you add a penalty stroke to your score and spot the disc near the in bounds area, throwing from there.
- Disc landed on Basket: yep, it happens, just throw it again from the same spot, no penalty
- Slow Players: while not a rule per se, if you are slower than the group behind you, be courteous and let them play through.
Scoring Your First Round Of Disc Golf
Each basket should have some sign or map telling you the number of throws to get a “par”. This represents the typical amount of throws it should take the average player to make it into the basket. One throw less than par is known as a “birdie”, two is an “eagle”, three is a “double eagle” and then you have the ace shot or “hole-in-one”. Regardless of what it’s called, just keep track of the number of throws it takes you and your friends to finish each hole and add them up at the end. The person with the lowest score wins!
Disc Golf Scoring Chart
|Scoring Term||What It Means|
|Ace||Hole In One|
|Albatross/Double Eagle||Three Throws Under Par|
|Eagle||Two Throws Under Par|
|Birdie||One Throw Under Par|
|Par||Throws Match Basket Par Designation|
|Bogey||One Throw Over Par|
|Double Bogey||Two Throws Over Par|
While a scorecard may not be necessary, this little notebook of tips, tricks, rules, and score sheets might make for a nice gift: Disc Golf Scorecard Notebook
Tips For First Time Disc Golfers
- Start With Beginner Courses: what makes a course a beginner course is somewhat subjective, but for your first few times playing, trust us, you don’t want to pick a difficult course. There are various different types of courses out there, but essentially the one with the fewest trees, open fields, not water shots, and shorter distance baskets will make it easier for new players. Take your time and read reviews on courses before heading out to play. You will quickly understand the difference between a beginner-friendly course and one more advanced.
- Start With A Starter Set: the first expense to playing disc golf are the discs. These can be expensive or cheap depending on what you pick, but as mentioned above, we suggest you get started with an affordable pack first. Discs will get damaged, lost, and eventually you will learn some just aren’t for you. Starting out with a lower cost disc will allow you time to build up your skill level and help you appreciate the higher quality plastics.
- Learn Different Throws: There are generally five types of throws, namely backhand, sidearm/forehand, overhand, hyzer, and anhyzer. When starting out try them all. Once you find your preferred throwing style, it’s a good idea to focus on getting better at it.
- Learn Disc Flight Ratings: If you’re reading this you probably have a general idea about the different types of discs: Driver, Fairway Driver, Mid-Range, and Putter. But do you understand the actual difference between these discs? Understanding basic disc mechanics and what the flight numbers represent will benefit your enjoyment of the game.
Knowledge Is Free, Disc Golf Is…
Disc golf has been growing in popularity due to its relatively low cost. Nearly all disc golf courses are free to use. The ones that do cost money are typically called “pay2play” courses, those disc golf courses will cost you money to play. Many towns and cities have incorporated disc golf courses into their local park and hiking trails.
To start disc golfing most of the time you only need to purchase your disc golf discs. This can be a disc golf driver, a mid-range disc golf disc, and a disc golf putter. If you know someone who disc golfs often you could ask to borrow their discs or if they have any old discs that they don’t use anymore. That way you can try disc golfing before deciding if purchasing your own discs is a good idea.
We love sharing our knowledge of this awesome game with you. Feel free to leave us a comment if you just started playing. Until next time…