By LUKE COTTER, Staff Writer
Disc golf is becoming increasingly popular in the Mid-Michigan area, and even across the country. Sometimes known as “frolf,” it combines the sport of golf with Frisbee to form a highly entertaining and technically enhancing game.
CMU built its own public disc golf course, which during the school year is generally quite full. It’s located behind the Fairfield Inn, CMU parking lot 69.
Every Tuesday at this course, doubles are held and anyone interested in the sport is invited to play. On this day, players are paired up at random. I was invited by fellow MMCC student Brad Bleise to come along for one of the games.
It was a sunny Tuesday evening, the temperature sitting at a comfortable 74 degrees.
Bleise, 24, of Beal City, stepped up to the tee with his favorite driver disc in hand, the Champion Eagle made by Innova. As he tossed the disc, he used what is known as the “forearm” throw.
Bleise, who is studying business at MMCC, considers himself a “semi-beginner” but noted that he plays about two to three games a week. “I usually try to disc golf as much as possible,” he said. “If I’m lucky I’ll be able to get a full seven games in a week.”
Having dabbled in the game myself, I asked what advice he would have for someone just beginning in the sport. “All I would really say is remember to just have fun,” Bleise said. “The game can get fairly technical but always remember why you play the game in the first place: because it’s fun. Also,” he added, “always watch where your disc lands.”
There are several disc golf courses in the mid-Michigan area that Bleise was familiar with and recommended for beginners as well as veterans.
He described CMU’s course as “great for beginners. It’s very open but can be challenging once you start the back nine.”
He also recommended Deerfield Park, located at 2425 W. Remus Road (M-20), in Mt. Pleasant. Along with having a number of camping and swimming areas, it hosts its own beautifully wooded disc golf course as well. “Deerfield is a great course,” Bleise said, “one of the best I have ever played. It is heavily wooded, which makes it very challenging, but also a lot of fun.”
Mt. Pleasant plays host to one other disc golf course located at the Odyssey Middle/High School at 3441 S. Wise Road. Unlike the other two 18-hole courses in Mt. Pleasant, this course is only a 9-hole course, located in the woods surrounding the school making it a very technically advanced course. “A good round here is a great day for anyone who disc golfs,” Bleise commented.
If you’re looking to travel a little farther for a good game, there are also courses located in Big Rapids, Sanford and Midland, as well as all over the state of Michigan. To locate other courses around the state and even the country, visit website www.dgcoursereview.com.
Some upcoming disc golf events include the 2012 Annual Ace Race, which is a global disc golf tour put on by Discraft in which players get one drive per hole to make it in the basket, otherwise known as an ace. The player with the most aces at the end of the course wins. This tour made a stop at the Deerfield course on Sept. 29, and will be stopping at the Big Rapids course, located at the Northend Riverside Park, on Oct. 7.
Disc golf: The basics
- Disc golf is played much like traditional golf, but instead of a ball and clubs, players use flying discs.
- The sport was formalized in the 1970’s, and shares with “ball golf” the object of completing each hole in the fewest number of strokes (or, in the case of disc golf, fewest number of throws).
- A golf disc is thrown from a tee area to a target which is the “hole,” and is usually a basket.
- As a player progresses down the fairway, he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. The trees, shrubs, and terrain changes located in and around the fairways provide challenging obstacles for the golfer.
- The “putt” finally lands in a basket and the hole is completed.
- For more information on the basics of the sport, visit www.pdga.com/introduction.
(Information obtained from the Professional Disc Golf Association)