Should My Kids Play Disc Golf?

kid throwing discDisc Golf is growing in popularity and more parents are being asked if their kids can play disc golf. With a history of a shaky reputation (at least here in US) I want to compare disc golf to other sports and hope that parents not only allow their kids to play disc golf but also play along with them.

Sports Give Us So Much

Athletics cultivate many strong character qualities, golf cultivates, in my opinion, the strongest character qualities and disc golf gives us more access to build those qualities.

In team sports like baseball/softball, soccer, football, basketball field hockey/hockey etc. you can develop confidence, selflessness, humbleness and determination under a supportive umbrella of role model coaches and teammates.

There is a big however coming though.

I have seen a lot of youth sporting events and I am always surprised at how often many of these quality building attributes of sports get nullified due to a parents lust for glory. Too often kids come off the field with sad faces to be given a ‘pep talk’ by their parents or coaches. A couple of examples that I can remember vividly are a kid missing a fly ball and having their dad yell “C’mon xxxxx, your better then that!” I have seen kids get hurt and be prompted to ‘get back out there’ by their parents. I have seen first hand the stereotypical yelling at refs and Umpires and the frustration of loss show up more on parents faces then on the players themselves.

I understand that toughness and grit might be an important life lesson but when do you cross the line? When does it stop being fun? When does a kid (participant) stop learning and growing?

Golf is different.

First off, I know there are a lot of golf parents tat are the MOST hard core about winning, succeeding etc. and unfortunately they miss a huge opportunity for their children (adult players as well).

How if Golf Different?

Golf is an independent sport and a cerebral game. Although you have supporters and maybe even a caddy, the game is played out in your own mind. You succeed and fail based on your decision making, execution, and most importantly, your attitude. In short, golf is a metaphor for life.

Only you can recover your mistakes. If you deviate from a balanced mind too over confident or too under confident, it will show up in your play. Your results are real time feedback of how well you are focused and relaxed.

Other sports like football and soccer are a great way to transmit energy, you hear terms like ‘high motor’ for people who have lots of stamina. In golf you must control, control, control, just like in life. Golf is a game of gaining control.

In golf you cannot ‘try harder’ so to speak, and succeed. Success comes from allowing your swing/throw to happen smoothly, unforced and natural.

Golf, like other sports, also teaches that preparation is the key to success. Practicing builds the confidence to execute on the course.

How is DISC Golf Different?

Disc golf brings all the positive benefits of ball golf but is more accessible, easier to practice, less expensive and can be taught very quickly. For less than the price of a cheap set of ball golf clubs you can get a starter set of discs, a bag and a target and start playing in your yard immediately.

Although a disc golf swing is highly athletic and complex, the basics can be learned very fast and the most important part of the game, putting, can be practiced for hours without fatigue or injury (especially for a youngster).

Disc golf puts you in high pressure situations just like ball golf. In football you can be in a championship game and sitting on the side lines as the other half of your team determines if you will become champion or not. In golf your fate always relies on you.

You can practice disc golf anywhere you go, camping, to the beach, at home, the park and on and on.

Golf offers the most opportunity for positive character development and essential life skills. Disc golf brings accessibility and ease of play, allowing anyone to gain what it has to offer.

Now go play!

Photo credit: MarkScottAustinTX / Foter / CC BY-SA