Disc golf provides affordable activity for students

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A basket at the Utah Valley University course. Disc golf features metal baskets with chains on each hole. (Gavin Fowler)
Disc golf courses feature metal baskets with chains on each hole. This basket is on the Utah Valley University course. (Gavin Fowler)

Disc golf is a growing sport that provides cheap fun for students in Utah.

Disc golf is similar to traditional golf, as players attempt to throw flat, hard, plastic discs into a chained basket in as few attempts as possible. The discs vary in thickness and weight for different lengths of throws.

There are disk golf courses all across Utah County, and many are free to play at.

“Almost all of the courses are free,” said Sam Walker, a BYU student studying art education and member of the Wasatch Disc Golf Club. “The only expense most of the time is the discs.”

Amateur professional disc golfer Jonny Vance, who competes in pro-am tournaments, said that disc golf is growing rapidly in popularity around the country.

“In the last couple years, it has really taken off tremendously,” Vance said. “It’s been the fastest-growing sport for three years in a row now.”

Disc golf has the potential to be an enjoyable outdoor activity for any participant. Some go and try to compete, while others simply play to enjoy the outdoors with friends.

“I like getting out and doing something active,” said Danny Bladh, a resident of Provo. “I enjoy the social aspect of it. You can do it with your friends and have a good conversation while you throw discs.”

Numerous courses are located in Utah County. Some of the closest courses to BYU are found at Provo’s Rock Canyon, Slate Canyon and Bicentennial Park, UVU and Scera Park in Orem and Art Dye Park in American Fork.

“They’re all over the place, and it’s kind of funny because if you’ve never played it you would never notice them,” Walker said. “But once you’ve started playing, you notice that they are popping up everywhere.”

A Professional Disc Golf Association approved disc. Discs vary in thickness for different distance of throws. (Gavin Fowler)
One of the many Professional Disc Golf Association approved discs. Discs vary in thickness for different distance of throws. (Gavin Fowler)

Courses are all different based on their location and the park managers. Some are located in wooded areas or canyons; others are located in open parks or college campuses. Different courses are better suited for different types and levels of players.

“I really like a course up in Maple Canyon called Jolley’s Ranch,” Walker said. “It’s up in the mountains in a really cool area in a nice park. It’s really big and well maintained. It has the best variety of holes. It’s challenging and will help you progress if you play it often.”

For UVU student and Wasatch Disc Golf Club member Ben Gentry, it’s not about adopting one course as his own, but more about getting out and experiencing new courses.

“My favorite course is a new one,” Gentry said. “Any new course that I haven’t played before becomes my favorite.”

The disc golf community is an open group and always looking to add new members.

“The thing that drew me to the sport the most in the beginning was the community,” Vance said. “Disc golf people are the best people. They’re inviting, generous, kind and really just the nicest kind of people, and that’s what drew me to the sport so much. It’s a growing sport and we want people to be excited about it.”

Anybody is welcome to play, no matter their skill level.

“It’s kind of like bowling. Something that everybody can do,” Gentry said. “You can be really into it if you want, or you can just keep it pretty casual.”

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