ust like when I connect with a golf ball, I possess a great ability to hook a disc.
Thankfully when playing disc golf it’s not important to keep your head down while maintaining proper form. I tried the sport for the first time last Saturday as I joined a few members of the Penticton Disc Golf Club (PDGC) for a round of action at the Three Blind Mice (TBM) course.
Note to self: when trying a new sport, avoid being hard on yourself. Depending on what I’m doing, I firmly believe I can do really well at certain activities. Of course, the exception comes back to teeing up on the links. I end up thinking too much about golf and accidentally kill the ball. While there was a bit of over-thinking playing the TBM course, my focus was on having fun.
I also received plenty of tips from club president Shawn Black and his friends. I had visions of making great throws. While I did make some, the game is a little bit harder than I expected. However, Black and Co. assured me I was doing well for a first-timer.
While perusing the Professional Disc Golf Association website and reading under the topic of What is Disc Golf? One of the sentences read, “Disc golf shares the same joys and frustrations of traditional golf, whether it’s sinking a long putt or hitting a tree halfway down the fairway.”
You don’t say.
Part of my problem was not throwing the disc hard enough. And of course as I first mentioned, keeping it relatively straight. You do want that disc to curve, but just like in golf, you prefer to keep it straight on specific throws. I couldn’t tell you how long it had been since I last tossed a frisbee. There is definitely a difference between chucking a disc for distance and throwing a frisbee around with a friend.
Aside from critiquing my own play, I was amazed at the strategy involved. Thought must go into every throw or you can run into problems. Imagine trying to throw a disc while standing on a broken tree branch. Some of the members threw the disc sideways and it’s impressive how it flies and is effective. Another threw it using the form to shoot a basketball, but added a spin to it. I stuck with the traditional method of throwing with a backhand toss and one side-arm attempt that, well, let’s just say can use some work. I had one throw go far to my right side, not even close to the direction I intended. Luckily I didn’t hit anyone. I was told that is called griplock.
Having never been to the TBM area before, I was pleasantly surprised. The course is nicely put together and because of the terrain, it is wise to wear hiking boots, though you can get away with runners. As you walk/hike the course, some beautiful views of Penticton are exposed, including Okanagan Lake. Locals aren’t the only ones to enjoy the course as players from around B.C. come. A traveler from New Zealand also experienced it.
“Thanks for a great TBM course PDGC!,” wrote Owen Hale. “Played a round on a recent road trip from Van to Banff when visiting from New Zealand. Awesome spot, hot hot hot. Keep up the good work.”
Not only does the course have character because of the terrain and views, but it’s a location shared with the Penticton Area and Cycling Association. As we began the first hole, we heard a shout as a cyclist on their mountain bike ripped down the path. The disc golfers are used to this and it doesn’t pose a problem.
The great thing about this sport is that people can play for free. There is also no need for a cart. Besides, good luck trying to get around TBM on one anyways. Discs cost money, but the average price is about $15. If you have ever thought of trying, give it a shot. You could get hooked. The club does offer discs for those who want to try. They also welcome people to join them on league night Thursday’s at 5:30 p.m. For more information, check out their Facebook page at Penticton Disc Golf Club.
Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor for the Penticton Western News.