In the wake of the European Open the disc golf community has a lot to think about. Once again the Finnish tournament set the standard for disc golf professionalism.
The media coverage during the European Open was off the chart for a disc golf event. Opendiscgolf.com has a post about the details of fans viewing the event online, on TV or live as well as coverage via newspapers etc. You can read the post here. The most exciting statistic is the over four thousand people that attended the final day of the event live. The European Scene is blowing up so fast. It demands coverage from major television networks to supply the demand. To see legit cameramen out there sparks the imagination to wonder when the US will get to that point and what it will take.
All this leads me to one thought, is disc golf becoming more like ball golf? Is that the idea? Is that the goal?
My personal opinion is that it is and it isn’t. Disc golf is growing leaps and bounds both on the competitive front as well as being the worlds fastest growing recreational activity.
Wings and Roots
My ideal dream for disc golf is to see it follow some of what ball golf has done while also keeping some of its roots. It needs wings as well as roots. Recreationally I don’t see disc golf losing its accessibility that makes it so appealing to new players. Disc Golf offers many of the same benefits, mentally and physically, that ball golf offers but is much easier and faster to build courses and offer to the public. The rec course that are out there are amazing and for the most part I don;t think should change. The free parks throughout the world as well as private pay to play courses are responsible for such a boom in new players.
Professional competitive courses should continue to evolve. Long clean courses carved with OB lines can be seen all over the National Tour and Major events. Island greens, water, mandos and severe dog legs are showcased at events like the Scandanavian Open, the USDGC, the European Open, the Kansas City Wide Open, the Maple Hill Open etc.
The ideal championship course in my mind is one that offers holes that utilize these challenges mixed with tight woods holes that are par 3, 4 and 5.
I don’t want competitive disc golf to lose its heritage either. Shot shaping through woods, the need for an occasional overhand, taking a double bogey on a tight par 3, these are all parts of the sport that should be implemented as well.
The bottom line is the sport (like all sports) lives and dies with the fans. The rec courses build the fans and the demand for a professional circuit, and championship courses offer fans a chance to see the top pros showcase and challenge their ever evolving skill levels.
Those are just a few ideas I have about the future of disc golf. This post was inspired by the European Open and the crazy statistics about media coverage it produced. What are your ideas about the future of disc golf? Should the sport look to ball golf for guidance as it grows?