If you love golf, but don’t want to riddle your backyard with holes or invest in expensive clubs, then backyard disc golf is for you.
Disc golf is a fun cross between traditional golf and Frisbee or disc throwing. It is a great backyard activity for those who have a little extra throwing room and a sense of fun. Whether on grass or cement, it doesn’t matter the course surface. All that is needed is a disc and some decent throwing skills.
Not only is disc golf a cheap, safe way to have fun, it can be played in either small or large groups.
The rules are easy and straightforward, and doesn’t require any strenuous effort.
Easy rules and easy to find equipment make this backyard sport fun for all ages.
What is Disc Golf?
Disc golf is the official sport that many people have never heard of.
Officially recognized in the 1970’s, it has a worldwide following with new courses popping up all of the time.
The Professional Disc Golf Association estimates that there are more than 8,000 disc golf courses across the globe.
Fortunately, you don’t need to have a course pop up in a neighborhood near you in order to play.
How to Play Disc Golf
Disc golf is the perfect hybrid of the traditional eighteen-hole past time and disc throwing.
It is easily customizable, so that you can create a course that can fit your yard and circumstances.
From as small as one hole that your move around the yard with each round, or setting up an entire course in the woods, disc golf is a very versatile game.
Setting Up the Course
Depending on the size of your course, you will need to set up target zones that will serve as your ‘holes’.
Disc Golf Holes
These target zones can take on several forms:
- Laundry baskets
- Squares or circles marked off by tape, paint, or rope
The traditional disc golf ‘hole’ is a metal basket with chains that serve to catch the thrown disc.
If you have a large pole, you can cut out the bottom of a laundry basket, and secure it to the pole with duct take, or mounting putty around the hole in the base.
You can also put targets on top of chairs, tables, trees, and other higher surfaces.
Make sure that nothing is blocking the target, and that the disc can be easily retrieved once the players turn is over.
Once the ‘holes’ are created, mark off an initial throwing zone, also known as the “tee area”.
The area should be clearly marked, with enough space for the player to have ample room to throw the disc without stepping outside of the boundary.
This is where the player will first aim for the target, trying to get a ‘hole-in-one’.
Rules of Disc Golf
The rules of disc golf are the same as regular golf.
You are trying to get the disc to its ‘hole’ with the least amount of throws possible.
If a player throws the disc and it lands somewhere away from the target, the player must go to where the disc landed and throw it from there towards the target.
If the disc lands in an area that is not safe, or where the disc is cannot be retrieved, for example:
- On a busy road
- In a neighbor’s yard
- On a roof
- The disc gets caught in a high tree
- Dogs steal it in a misguided attempt of fetch
- Aliens mistake it for their ride home
The player will be penalized a certain amount of points and begin at the closest safest spot from where the disc landed.
The player continues to throw the disc until it lands inside the target zone, then their turn is over.
Each throw will count as a point against the player.
The player with the least amount of points, wins.
Variations of Backyard Disc Golf
There are tons of fun variations that can be done with disc golf.
Changing the Terrain
Without having to dig a ton of holes, disc golf has a lot of options where it can be played compared to traditional golf.
Here are some fun ideas for challenging disc golf terrains:
Pool Disc Golf
Get on your swimming suits and take disc golf to the water.
To make the targets, get swimming rings or other floating tubes and place baskets on top of them.
(Pool noodles taped to form a ring will also work well).
Designate a spot in the pool that will be your tee area.
Take turns throwing the disc into the moving floating target.
Warning: If playing with small children, make sure the targets don’t end up in the deep zone and that an adult is available to get stray disc that end up where children can’t safely get them.
Mud Disc Golf
If you don’t mind getting a little bit dirty, then mud disc golf is another fun option.
In a dirt field, saturate the ground with water until it gets really muddy.
The same rules of disc golf apply, but players will have to deal with trudging through the mud, slipping and sliding the entire way.
To add an extra element of fun, rotating sprinklers can be used and placed before the basket, which can knock the disc away if thrown at the wrong time.
Forest Disc Golf
If you are out camping in the woods, or having a family gathering and event in nature, set up a disc golf course for everyone to enjoy.
The great thing about having a forest disc golf course is that you can set up several different ‘holes’ in varying challenging areas.
‘Holes’ can be made on picnic tables, trees, rocks, hills, grassy meadows, and more.
It is a great game that can be taken slow, or done as quickly as possib;e.
Playing disc golf in nature is a great way for everyone to have fun in the great outdoors.
Warning: Do not set up ‘holes’ near any campfires or areas infested with ticks.
Creating Hazards for Disc Golf
In traditional golf, hazards are areas that make it difficult for the golfer to hit their ball.
Terrain is one form that hazards take, but you can add some other fun challenges no matter where you play.
If you have a group of players that don’t want to stand around waiting for their turns, they can help make the game more exciting by being a distraction.
When a player is getting ready to throw, other players can throw their discs at the same time, trying to knock the player’s disc off course or distract them from their target.
Make sure that all players have discs that they can distinguish from the others so there’s no confusion whose disc is whose when they all land on the ground.
Another way waiting players can create a fun hazard is to stand so many feet away from the ‘hole’ and try to catch the player’s disc.
Doing the Course Blindfolded
Sometimes we say that we can do something blindfolded.
Disc golf is the perfect opportunity to see if you can.
When it is a player’s turn to tee off, blindfold them and turn them around in a circle to try to disorient them.
Meanwhile, have another participant stand behind the ‘hole’ and call out to the player.
The player then will aim their disc towards the voice to see if they can hit the target.
To make the hole more challenging, other participants can call out as well, trying to confuse the player.
Once the player throws their disc, they can remove the blindfold and go to where the disc landed, then replace the blindfold and throw towards the familiar voice again.
If it’s a hot day and you want a water play day, add some water hazards to your game.
We mentioned earlier about playing disc golf while rotating sprinklers sprayed near the hole.
Other water hazards can be placed throughout the course to add some extra fun.
Small wading pools can be filled up, and if the disc lands in one of them, the player must stand in them when making their throw.
IF you have vinyl or other plastic that can be made into a slip ‘n slide, a couple can be placed around the course with water and dish soap to make it challenging.
Other forms of water hazards can be waiting players with hoses that try to knock down the disc with water streams.
Although disc golf is usually a single player game, it can be changed to allow for teams.
Team members can take turns throwing a disc.
For example, the first team member can tee off and then the next team member can go to where the disc landed and do the next throw.
Another way to play as a team is that the team with the lowest combined score wins.
Knocking Things Over
If you want to add a little variety to the different holes, switch out a standard ‘hole’ with a knock over challenge.
Setting up one or several cereal boxes, cans, or other light weight objects.
Then, have the players knock over one or more items in order to complete the hole.
Another challenging hole is to add a moving target.
To create a moving target, hand the basket to a nonplaying participant.
To make it challenging but fair, restrict the basket wielding participant to a defined area.
The participant can move side to side, backwards and forwards, but they are prohibited from knocking away or blocking the disc from entering the basket.
Playing in the Dark
Disc golf is also a fun game to play when the sun goes down.
After making sure there isn’t anything to trip over, mark ‘holes’ and the tee off zone with glow sticks.
Make sure that you can see the discs in the dark.
To make a glowing disc, here are some suggestions:
- Using discs with attached glowsticks (taping a glowstick on a disc will make it wobbly, but not unplayable).
- Painting it with glow in the dark paint.
The player will then proceed to take their turn following the normal rules.
Disc Golf-The Game Everyone Can Play
The greatest thing about disc golf is that there’s a way that anyone can play, no matter the age, health restrictions, or groups size.
If you are looking for a great family game or one that you can play with a diverse group of friends, give disc golf a try.