National Disc Golf Day
the first Saturday in August (since 2016)
Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) in July 2016
Disc Golf, which is celebrated today, is a flying disc sport that is similar to traditional golf. Many ball golf rules apply; a player tees off and tries to reach a target in as few strokes as possible. There is a par score for each hole, out-of-bounds, penalty strokes, and typical courses are 9 or 18 holes in length.
Disc golf was invented in the early 1900s, but modern disc golf originated in the early 1960s. "Steady Ed" Headrick and Dave Dunipace both had a huge impact on modern disc golf. In 1976, Headrick, inventor of the modern day Frisbee, standardized the sport's rules and invented the first modern disc golf target, containing both chains and a basket. He also designed and installed the first Disc Golf course and founded organizations such as the Disc Golf Association (DGA), the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), and the Recreational Disc Golf Association (RDGA). Finally, he trademarked the term "Disc Golf," which he later released into the public domain to help grow the sport.
In 1983, Dave Dunipace invented the modern disc golf disc. His discs had a beveled rim, giving the discs greater distance and accuracy when thrown. He went on to co-found Innova, one of the most popular disc manufacturers.
Disc golf has been growing rapidly in popularity over the years and is the 4th fastest growing sport in the United States. Over the past decade, more than 400 new courses have been built each year! One reason for the rapid popularity growth may be the ease of entry and cost of the sport itself. With traditional golf, you need golf clubs that fit your height and hand-dominance, a golf bag, golf balls, tees, and most golf courses are not free. With disc golf, all you need is a handful of discs, which are commonly $10 to $15 each. A vast majority of disc golf courses are free, and the discs themselves last a long time. You will likely lose a disc before it wears out from too much use.
There has been talk of creating a National Disc Golf Day for years, but thanks to the work of Jason Wilder, Sara Nicholson, and several others, the PDGA officially founded National Disc Golf Day in July of 2016. The first Saturday in August was chosen because that is when the first Rochester Flying Disc Open took place in Rochester, New York. Additionally, Headrick's patent for the modern disc golf basket was granted in early August of 1977.
How to Observe
There are many ways to celebrate National Disc Golf Day! If you have never heard of or tried the sport before today, find a course near you and give it a try. You can find discs at shops and gas stations near disc golf courses or online. If you know someone who plays the sport, ask if they could take you; likely they will let you borrow some discs as well.
If you have played the sport before, today is a great day to play your favorite course. You could also try a new course or get to one you don't frequent often. If you are up for the challenge, today is a great day to sign up for a Disc Golf tournament near you.
The day may also be celebrated by sharing your love of the sport. Ask your friends to join you for a round, share what you love about the sport on Social Media with the hashtag #NationalDiscGolfDay, or organize an event or clinic at a local course to teach your community about the sport.