Disc Golf: The Best Way to Stay Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our COVID-19 Experience

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation
The seemingly required photo of the corona virus for any COVID-19 related post.

The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously thrown a wrench into humanities’ plans. As an ultimate player, the first thing I thought when everything got shut down was “What About Ultimate?” When the pandemic hit both Nald and I were in our final semester of college. We had just returned from Stanford Invite, and had our goals set on going to our second consecutive D.1 college nationals. 

Nald and I were actually sitting in the dining hall eating dinner together when we got the dreaded email from our college’s president. I will never forget the look of dread and misery that came across Nald’s face when he learned that all athletic activities were to be suspended immediately. This was not how we were planning to end our college ultimate careers.

There is a silver lining however. Enter disc golf. 

Discovering Disc Golf Thanks to COVID-19

After coming to terms with the pre-mature end to the season, our attention first shifted to the upcoming club season. There was a lack of frisbee in our lives and we desperately needed something to fill the void that COVID-19 created. Little did we or anyone else know at that time that the club ultimate season would also get cancelled.

So as the first surge of COVID-19 infections spread throughout the world, Nald and I trained individually for the “upcoming” club tryouts. Once it became clear that our training was useless, I stopped altogether and started binge-watching Netflix and eating a lot of frozen pizzas. (Nald continued working out because it’s his passion. If you’re looking for workout ideas hit him up!)

Somewhere around this time Nald and I started talking about getting together and playing a round of disc golf. However, since we were separately quarantining we didn’t know whether it would be safe or smart for us to meet up. 

When Massachusetts relaxed its stay-at-home order and entered phase 1 of reopening, Nald and I got together for our first round. We wore masks, and stayed six-feet apart, but it was still nice to see my friend for the first time in months. After finishing that first round, I realized it was the most fun I had since the pandemic started. In other words, I was hooked.

Below we present the 10 reasons why disc golf is the best athletic activity you can do in the COVID-19 era. We hope that just like us, you too get hooked on disc golf! 

10 Reasons Why Disc Golf is the Best Activity for you in the Covid-19 Era

1. It’s Fun

If it’s not fun why do it? Right? You wouldn’t play ultimate or any other sport if it wasn’t fun. No need to worry about disc golf, because it’s super fun! In fact, comparing my first few months of ever playing ultimate with my first few months of playing disc golf I can 100% say that I am having more fun with disc golf. Don’t twist my words though, I am not arguing that disc golf is better than ultimate or vice-versa. I don’t think I can offer a definitive answer on that one yet. Maybe in a future post. In summary, disc golf is fun!

Disc Golf Fun
Look at Nald’s smile. So much joy!

2. It Follows all CDC Guidelines

Please don’t hold me liable for what I have to say here. I didn’t read the most recent CDC guidelines, so I can’t say with any certainty if disc golf is in fact fully compliant. However, what I can say is that ball golf courses across the nation are open, and if ball golf is safe, then I will argue that disc golf is just as safe.

You can maintain a six foot social distance, and if you feel like you can’t, you can wear a mask. There’s also no shared equipment since everyone has their own discs. Of course if you are borrowing discs from a friend you can easily use a disinfecting wipe to clean them before and after the round. Otherwise, the only place for potential contact is at the basket, but if you try even a little bit, you can retrieve your disc from the basket without physically touching it.

So contracting coronavirus while you’re out on the course shouldn’t be high on your list of worries! 

3. It’s Not like You Can Play Ultimate Right Now

I will admit that as you get into disc golf your throwing form will change slightly from ultimate. Who cares? It’s not like you’re going to be playing ultimate again until at least the spring of 2021. I’ve fully given up hope on playing ultimate again within the next year, so I’ve turned all of my attention to disc golf.

I’m not worried about affecting my ultimate throwing form. I know that when ultimate returns it will only take me a few sessions of throwing to find my form. That is, assuming I’m not fully bought into disc golf when ultimate comes back around. Time will tell, but I think it’s totally possible to play both sports well at the same time. So for now, get started with disc golf, because you can’t play ultimate! 

4. It Has a Low Barrier to Entry: Especially for Ultimate Players

Following up on points 2 and 3, let’s consider which sports are COVID-19 friendly. Besides disc golf, the obvious ones are golf, tennis, running (if you consider it a sport), and maybe NASCAR (again, not really a sport). Im sure I’m missing some. If you’re really offended, leave a comment!

If we consider the barrier’s to entry in terms of required skills, equipment, and accessibility for all of these sports, then running wins. However, going back to point 1, running isn’t fun (sorry, and I mean I’m truly sorry for you if you find running fun). Golf is fun, but it requires a certain level of skill to play your first round. You also need a lot of equipment, and from my understanding getting a tee-time in the current swing of things (see what I did there?) isn’t too easy since they’re booked weeks in advance. I won’t get into NASCAR. Tennis is great, I played it in high school, but I find that it gets a bit boring after a while and finding someone to play with can sometimes be tricky.

So we’re left with disc golf. Which requires very little new skills, especially for ultimate players, minimal equipment (see point 5 for more on this), and most disc golf courses are free (and rarely crowded). I repeat, disc golf is great. 

black and yellow racing car
NASCAR is not as socially distant as you think. I guess the helmets can act as masks though

5. Inexpensive to Get Started

If you’re just getting started with disc golf, I recommend you take a look at our Ultimate Player’s Guide to Picking Up Disc Golf. We offer a great starting guide to the equipment you need for playing your first round of disc golf. Spoiler alert: all you need is one disc for about ~$10 [Infinite]. If you’re thrifty you can probably find an acceptable disc for even less, or you can be like my friends, and just borrow a disc from a friend that already plays. Regardless of how you acquire it, the point is that it’s very cheap to get started! Make that investment, you won’t regret it! 

6. You Get to Spend Time Outdoors

It’s summer time, the weather is beautiful, but you can’t seem to find anything to do that is COVID-19 friendly. Sure you can go for a walk around the neighborhood, or venture a bit farther for a nice hike (a few weeks ago Nald and I combined a sunrise hike that started at 3 AM and followed it up with 36 holes of disc golf), but disc golf actually gives you something to do outside besides just walking around. You’ll still get plenty of steps in (see point 7 on exercise below), but you won’t even notice it because of how much fun you’re having throwing discs. The fact that so many disc golf courses are in beautiful outdoor settings only adds to this point! 

Look at the nature I encountered this morning while playing a round at my local course!

7. A Great Way to Exercise

As I alluded to in my last point, you get plenty of exercise playing disc golf. I’ll tell you about my morning today to illustrate this point. After waking up early and downing some coffee, I drove 20 minutes to my favorite local disc golf course. It’s a hot humid day today and as I’m writing this a thunder storm is forming outside. By hole number 3 I had broken a sweat. By the end of the 18-hole round I was dripping in sweat and my one liter water bottle was empty. I checked my phone, and learned that in about one hour, I had walked 2.5 miles and apparently burned over a thousand calories. Best of all: no running necessary! That’s pretty good exercise if you ask me! 

My phone’s log of my morning round. I’ve been sitting writing this post ever since!

8. Gives You a Sense of Purpose

If you are a competitive ultimate player then you’re constantly thinking about improving your throwing consistency, your endurance, or your decision-making/mental game. Well, with COVID-19 making training harder, and no sense of when you can return to play, it’s hard to focus on your growth. What can you do to fix that? You guessed it, start playing disc golf.

Disc golf is not a team sport, so your success really only depends on you! The more you practice, the better you get. On top of that, it’ss so easy to see your improvement. Just keep track of your scores in the UDisc app and see your progress. I find the progress tracking aspect of disc golf exciting. It’s one of the things that got me hooked to the sport in the first place. 

Now I’m out playing almost everyday trying to beat my previous round scores. I have a sense of purpose and feel like I’m constantly working for something!

9. You Can Spend Time with Friends (Socially Distanced of Course)

Before I started playing disc golf, I was back home quarantining with my family. Meanwhile, all of my friends, including Nald, stayed back in our off-campus college house. So while I was bored twiddling my thumbs at home, all of my friends were still together having a good time. I felt left out and regretted my decision to come home.

That all changed once we started playing disc golf. It gave me a way to not only see my friends in a safe environment, but it also gave us something to do besides just sitting around at home. It was really a life-saver and profoundly helped my emotional well-being! 

Disc Golf with Newbies
My dear friends standing at appropriate social distances!

10. You Can Continue to Play Even After COVID-19!

Some COVID-19 activities won’t last after the pandemic. People who are baking sourdough bread from scratch, or growing gardens on their back porches in the city probably won’t continue doing those things after the pandemic is over. However, there is no reason why you can’t include disc golf in your post-pandemic life. In fact, I’ve started to consider giving up on my competitive ultimate career to pursue disc golf more seriously. I’m sure this will change and I will miss ultimate dearly, but this just goes to show you how awesome disc golf is. 

Bonus Reason: It Gives You a Reason to Come Back and Read More of Our Posts!

If you’re still reading, Thank You! I hope this post offered you some value and encourages you to get out and play if you haven’t been doing so already. As Nald and I continue learning about disc golf and improving our game we will be providing much more useful, and hopefully entertaining content. So we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t done so already, and check us out on social media!

Maybe one day we’ll see you on the pro-tour 😉 In the mean time, make sure to leave any comments or questions you have below! Have a Nice Day! 

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