Not that long ago (before I had kids) I used to be on tour with my favourite band in the world. They are followed by a loyal bunch who make great strides to help in taking care of their own. You are always around family no matter where you may be in the world. It was (and is) a comforting way to travel. When I moved east I feared that time may have come to an end, until I discovered the world of traveling disc golf.
Now I have been playing disc golf for almost 15 years. My first round on an actual course was in Denver, Co., so its kind of odd to think that I am just realizing now that the traveling disc golf world is so awesome. For a long time I was a casual disc golfer and serious traveller, now it seems the rolls have reversed. In the beginning finding a disc golf course on the road somewhere was just a chance to stretch my legs and possibly hit up a local I might meet on the course to find out where to buy a good cup of coffee in town. That was in the infancy stage of the inter web. People had cell phones and an email account but it wasn’t something that defined you. The professional side of disc golf was still being shaped (and continues to be), so was the online side. The PDGA.com has listed courses for quite sometime and was (as it still is) a beacon for information for the travelling disc golfer, but it pales in comparison to what we have now. The vast majority of my rounds were played solo (or at least with just my travelling partners). It was kind of like an exclusive club. If you meet someone new on the course there was a certain novelty to it. You’d always ask, “hey man, how did you find out about this game?”. Almost like a secret we shared. Disc golf represented an oasis in the otherwise chaotic landscape (especially when I was in Texas and Utah). Find the local course and you were pretty much guaranteed of a good time for a couple of hours, or at least until you hit your first 6….
However lots have changed in the last dozen years or so. ESPN highlights notwithstanding, disc golf is knocking on the door of the mainstream. We are an organized body, so much so that almost every course or group of players has an online presence. Message boards from all over the world allow you to not only find the courses you may be eying but to also make contact with the locals who play them (and often built them). My recent trip to Holland exemplified this. A few month before I left I started making contact with some Dutch locals, not long after I had been offered a ride to a national event and made some dates for a guided tour of Amsterdam’s local course. The same goes for my recent trips to Maine, Quebec and Ontario. It is the same family vibe (most of the time, there are after all still a-holes out there even in the disc golfing world). People are just as excited to see a new player come to their course as they used to be, but now with the power of the web we are much more organized. Since building my second public course we have hosted travellers from all over come to play with us, often times spending the night at our place or at least taking our suggestions on where to stay locally. There is an underlying companionship that most disc golfers inherently share. We love to toss with our brothers and sisters. Maybe share a pop or two. Our game is a shared experience only made better with good company.
Putting on a professional tour is just one small part of showing off our game in our part of the world. We are building courses so that you can come and play on your own whenever the mood should strike you. We also want to show what it can be like at the top end. People can choose to be casual or professional but still know that the disc golf world is here for you to have a good time. All you got to do is ask!