I need your help.
By Josh Woods ~
I’ve been researching portrayals of disc golf in American movies and television shows. So far, with the help of friends and fellow disc golfers, I found more than 70 references. I included the list below, along with a description of each case.
The sample is focused on disc golf references in U.S. feature-length films (40 minutes or longer) and television shows. I’m only looking for verbal references or images of disc golf, Frisbee golf, frolf, and disc-golf-related equipment such as baskets, discs and bags.
For now, I’m not counting references to Frisbees and other Frisbee sports like ultimate and free style. I am also excluding disc golf documentaries, TV news spots, international references, YouTube videos, commercials, tournament coverage and highlight clips.
If you can help me expand the list, please comment on the Parked Facebook post here, in the comment space below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a small token of thanks, I will send a Parked disc golf towel to the first ten people who can add to the list based on the selection criteria discussed above. For each reference, I need to document the date of its appearance and provide evidence that it exists, such as a link to a video, website or publication.
Thanks disc golfers!
References in U.S. Feature-Length Films
2000, The Tao of Steve
A group of men discuss their relationships with women while playing a casual round of disc golf on an object course that appears to be in the main character’s backyard. There are two or three disc golf scenes in this movie. See one of them below.
A police detective who is investigating a missing-person case plans to retire and become a professional Frisbee golfer. At about the half-way mark, there’s a series of scenes on a disc golf course; a sign calls it “Pine Grove” and the detective refers to it as “the region’s best course.” The detective is enthusiastic about disc golf to say the least. He talks about throwing technique (throw “low and fast”), mentions his new long-distance driver (“the Eagle”) and speaks to the sport’s accessibility to all age groups. He hits a 40-foot putt, demonstrates a turbo, and attempts a 360° drive. He also claims, “disc golf is the future.”
After a great throw, the woman with him exclaims, “You are the Tiger Woods of discs.” Watching the film, I wondered if this had been paid for by the PDGA or Innova as a product placement strategy. There is, however, one mistake: When the detective mentions his plan to go pro, he says, “I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m playing at the grandmaster level.” Given his young age, I don’t think he was referring to the age-protected division (50+). Available on DVD for $2.
2002, Stealing Harvard
In a brief scene, discs appear on a convenience store shelf.
2006, Meth Man
A small, independent movie, appears to be a horror flick, filmed largely on a disc golf course near Huntington, West Virginia. Several scenes can be viewed here. The producer is sending me a copy and I will likely review this disc-golf heavy film in an article for Parked soon.
2008, Clubless: The Legend of Victor Montango
Per IMBd, “Packed with disc golf action, Clubless tells the Montango legend that has only been whispered around disc golf courses.” An online source said that it was “filmed in 2007, with scenes on location at the University of Wisconsin Parkside disc golf course. A young A.J. Risley has a cameo as an extra, along with Kevin Gomez.” View it here.
2008, Discs and Dorks
Per the YouTube summary, “One man’s incredible journey through disc golf, drugs and rock n roll.” View the trailer here.
2009, Frolf: The Movie.
The film explores “the growing phenomenon of Frisbee Golf through the lives of several different competitors making their way to a tournament. The beloved sport is in jeopardy with thieves stealing their disc catcher targets. Paul Springfield must go undercover to find out who the frisbee golf thief is.” Available here.
2010, Ultimate Guide to Flight
A small, independent film chronicles the life of a Texas Hill Country park over one day, with an all-Austin cast of comedians, improv actors and philosophers. Much of the film appears to take place on a disc golf course, and the trailer features characters throwing discs, but the focus is on the off-beat dialogue between players. This one is difficult to find and not widely available for purchase. Do you know how I can find it? The trailer is available here.
2011, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
In this Hollywood movie (not porn), there is a short scene where two characters, a man and a woman, play “Frisbee golf” together in a park. Available for purchase online.
2012, 21 Jump Street
The police officers are retrieving a “frisbee” from a lake for some disc golfers; Channing Tatum’s character demonstrates poor forehand technique as he retrieves the disc and then angrily throws it back into the lake. As seen below, the scene appears to be on location at a permanent disc golf course.
2012, Playing for Keeps
A Mach III basket is visible for less than a second as the camera follows a car passing by a course. Available on DVD and online.
2013, Ron White: A Little Unprofessional
White discusses Tiger Woods and his infidelity. As a side note, he suggests that no one would be interested in having sex with a “Frisbee golfer.” Watch it here if you wish, but please don’t buy this guy’s crap.
2013, Big Ass Spider!
Per IMDb, “a giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampages the city of Los Angeles.” Disc golf is not mentioned, but two characters are seen running past a basket on a course. Available online and on DVD.
There is an Innova DISCatcher sport basket in the backyard in at least one scene of the movie. Available online and on DVD.
2014, 22 Jump Street
Multiple baskets are visible in a scene, which was likely filmed at Lafreniere Park in Metairie, Louisiana. Available on DVD and online.
Per IMDb, this is “a light-hearted romantic sports comedy about high school, disc golf vs. ultimate frisby and true love.” The father of one of the cast members said, “The film was made by the Anderson High School Film Club in 1995 I think. The kids were decent disc golfers but I threw some ‘stunt discs’ from off camera and had a little cameo as her dad. Also, long-time Cincinnati disc golfer Hans Multhopp had a role. The disc golf scenes were filmed at Cincinnati’s Mt. Airy Forest DGC and Woodland Mound DGC. Chad Weddle is the film club teacher/producer/actor etc. The film is centered around the school’s plan to destroy the disc golf course and replace it with an ultimate stadium and the battle between the two teams/groups.”
Considering the age of those involved, it features solid acting, great music, fun references to other movies and lots of well-produced disc golf scenes. Watch the movie below.
2016, Cloudy with a Chance of Love
A romantic couple plays disc golf in a public park at a fundraiser tournament. While I don’t recommend watching the whole movie, it offers a generally positive portrayal of the recreational side of disc golf. Watch the scene below, starting at 41:51.
2018, Behind the Curve
In this Netflix film about the flat earth movement, a basket is sighted at 58:11. It appears to be set up in a bar or outdoor recreation area near a beach volleyball court. Available on Netflix.
There is a scene in a sporting goods store where a display of discs and a basket is visible in more than one scene. Two online sources have seen the display, but I have not yet confirmed it myself.
References in U.S. TV Shows
1984, Wheel of Fortune
In an episode appearing in Fall 1984, Pat Sajak asks contestant Conrad Damon about his interest in “frisbee golf.” Damon offers a brief definition of the sport and explains that he went on tour during the previous summer. With a slight tone of jest, Sajak suggests that maybe someday the league will “get a big television contract” and develop. The PDGA is still waiting for that big contact. Available here.
1994, MTV Sports
Although the release date is unclear, MTV Sports aired one episode on disc golf between 1992 to 1997. A graphic containing information on “disc golf history” suggests that it aired in 1994. As seen below, the two-minute segment offers background information on the sport, and features disc golfers throwing and putting.
Season 8, Episode 22, May 15. The “Summer of George” episode is one of most famous disc golf references in pop culture. George discusses his enthusiastic interest in playing “frolf” with Jerry. Available here.
June 3. John Chapman mentions Frisbee golf during his appearance on the show. See the online source here.
2003, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Season 4, Episode 8, February 26. The show features the story of Ed Headrick and his wish to have his cremated ashes cast into the flying discs to give to his family and friends. Available here.
2003, Price is Right
On tour with a group of disc golfers, Brian Mace talks disc golf with Bob Barker, wins his game and qualifies to spin the wheel. The date of the episode is unclear, but online sources suggest that it happened in 2003 as a group of touring pros made their way to the Memorial in Arizona. Love this one! See the clip below.
2005, Zoey 101
Season 1, Episode 11, April 10. Trying to avoid gym class, the kids expose a loophole in school policy and form a disc golf team as an alternative. Available here.
2006, Dane Cook’s Tourgasm
Season 1, Episode 9, August 6, “Curtain Call.” In a 40-second scene, Dane Cook and three of his friends and fellow comedians play a disc golf course in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A short, but solid reference with no trash talk against the sport. Available via Comcast On Demand.
Season 2, Episode 7, “Convergence.” The show opens with three men playing disc golf on what appears to be a temporary course. One character throws an improbable ace. Available via Comcast On Demand.
2006, Saturday Night Live
Will Ferrell plays President George W. Bush talking about global warming: “Hello America. It’s me, your president, your commander and chief of the world. And I’m here, here at my, my ranch in Crawford, Texas. Just taking a little R ‘n’ R, you know … relaxing, growing out my soul patch, playing a little Frisbee golf with Condi Rice and Dick Cheney, having a good time. But still keeping my eye on the ball.”
Half-way through the clip, Rice throws a Frisbee at George. “Not right now Condi,” he says. “We’ll play later.” It sort of makes fun of the sport, but it’s still one of my personal favorites. Available here.
2006, The Office
Season 3, Episode 9, November 30, “The Convict.” Andy is romantically interested in Pam, so he goes to Jim for advice on how to approach her. Jim jokingly suggests that Pam likes Frisbee-based competitions …” “Are you kidding?” Andy says. “I started the main frisbee golf club at Cornell, where I went to college. I live to frolf!” “Lead off with that,” Jim replies. “Done,” Andy says. Available for purchase via multiple websites.
2007, Late Night with Conan O’Brien
May 3, 2007. Dave Feldberg appears on the show, debates the name of the sport, and throws putts all over the studio. This is a crowd favorite. Check it out here.
2008, Heull Howser Archives
“Huntington Central Park – California’s Gold,” January 10. A California-based, public access TV travel show talks about the multiple attractions at Huntington Central Park in Southern California. A short clip includes “disc golfers” throwing and talking about the sport. Available here.
2008, In Wine Country
June 23, “Disc Golf.” A wine grower in Napa Valley, California plays “disc golf” after work with his dad and a few friends. Watch the segment below.
2010, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
January 11, 2010. In the segment “Fright Club,” Jon Stewart critiques politicians and news analysts who keep track of how many terrorist attacks have occurred under certain presidential administrations. Stewart says: “When you’re playing terror ball, you do want the lowest score. It’s like golf with an incredible sadness. Like the saddest game of golf you can ever play.” A photo of a man throwing a Frisbee at a basket appears. “Even sadder than Frisbee golf,” Stewart says. (I personally prefer Trevor Noah). Available here, starting at 4:32.
Season 22, Episode 11, “Flaming Moes,” January 16. Smithers convinces Moe to turn his tavern into a gay bar; later Moe remarks, “Since I got nothing to lose,” leans Moe over and kisses him. “Not bad … like playing frisbee golf. I’m glad I tried it once.” See below.
2012, Happy Endings
Season 2, Episode 1. There’s a short scene with someone throwing a disc. Characters refer to the sport as “frolf.” One character angrily states, “frolf is not a sport.” The show’s negative portrayal caused an uproar on social media, with plenty of snarky comments coming from both sides. Watch how Valarie Jenkins and Nate Doss respond to the show’s fake apology to disc golfers here. You can watch the full-length, Happy Endings “Frolf” episode here.
2012, Modern Family
Season 4, Episode 7, “Arrested,” November 7. Phil Dunphy, the dad character on the show, says, “I remember one night freshman year a bunch of us on the Frisbee golf team got a case of Zima. Enough zed.” In a second reference, Claire Dunphy, the mom, tries to encourage herd daughter to attend college by suggesting that “there’s Frisbee golf.” Available here.
“Ninjaball Run.” A character is upset because his favorite dojo is being torn down so that developers can build a “frisbee golf course.” See a description of the episode here.
2013, Real World – Portland
Season 28, Episode 7, “The A-Nia-lation Proclamation.” A group of characters from the show play a few holes of “Frisbee golf” at a course near Portland. Available here.
2013, Hotel Impossible
Season 2, Episode 6, “Telemark Resort & Convention Center,” January 21. This scene did not make it into the televised version, but it was made available by the Travel Channel online. In the segment, Anthony Melchiorri discovers a disc golf course at the resort and suggests that it could be utilized to attract people to the hotel. He also attempts a few throws. Available here.
Two episodes appearing in late June featured contestant Gabe Gales from Cincinnati, who explained disc golf to host Alex Trebek. See the online source.
2014, New Mexico True TV
Season 2 – Episode 4: “Enchanted Circle.” October 21. This reference appeared in a travel show about New Mexico. The episode features people playing (and learning how to play) at a ski-resort course in Angel Fire, NM. Available here, starting at 12:30.
2014, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
October 7. Kristen Stewart tells Jimmy that her dog was found at a disc golf course by her friend. Stewart’s reference to “frisbee golf” seemed natural. But Jimmy quickly chimes in with a Jeff Spicoli voice and spoofs disc golfers as air-headed stoners who drive station wagons and accidentally steal dogs. Watch the interview below.
2014, About a Boy
This NBC sitcom aired from February 22, 2014 to July 20, 2015. The main character, a serial slacker, has a disc golf basket in his backyard, which is visible in more than one episodes of the show. Available via multiple sources online.
2014, Hardcore Pawn
Season 8, Episode 17, June 18. A man tries to pawn his discs and bags. One of the characters from the show suggests that disc golf is only played by “pot heads.” Available below, starting at 2:11.
2015, Parks and Recreation
Season 7, Episode 11, “Two Funerals: Eastern Wisdom.” Andy Dwyer meets another character in a bar named Dunn. He says, “Hey you look awful familiar. Have we met before?” Dunn responds, “Oh, I’m sure our souls have collided in one lifetime or another.” Dwyer replies, “No, that’s not it. Are you in my frisbee golf league?” Dunn says, “Oh, yeah, I play for the Super Spinners.” Andy Dwyer says, “Oh, I’m on the Frisbee Champs.” See the online source here.
2015, Judge Mathis
The case involves a disc golfer punching another disc golfer during a round. The exact date of the airing of the show is unclear, but it was probably released in November 2015. Available here.
2015, Xcorps Action Sports
“RCX,” August 15. Music-oriented action sports series features people disc golfing. Available here.
2015, American Ninja Warrior
Season 7, Episode 1, “Venice Qualifying,” May 25. Referred to as Scout Ninja, a contestant who self-stylizes as a boy scout, mentions that he plays disc golf. This one remains unconfirmed.
2016, Outrageous Acts of Science
“Philo’s Albatross.” The Science Channel features scientific commentary on Philo Brathwaite’s epic throw during the 2016 Beaver State Fling in Portland, Oregon. Watch the segment below.
June 21, 2016. The show covers Philo Brathwaite’s albatross at the Beaver State Fling, but goes on to spoof disc golf. Wearing fake dreadlocks, a tie dye shirt and sandals, the host negotiates a makeshift “mini-frolf” course in his office. Available here.
2016, Jean-Claude Van Johnson
Season 1, Episode 1, August 19. Jean-Claude Van Johnson wants to come out of retirement. His agent, Jane, says, “Johnson has been retired for two years. That’s an eternity in this line of work.” Jean-Claude replies, “I stay active. I play frisbee golf.” “This isn’t a game,” Jane responds. Available via Amazon Prime.
2017, Fluffy’s Food Adventures
Season 3, Episode 1. Paul McBeth and Kona Panis appeared on Fluffy’s Food Adventures, a television program on the Fuse network hosted by comedian Gabriel Iglesias. A relatively long segment features several people, including McBeth and Panis, playing disc golf at La Mirada Park in Los Angeles, CA. Available here.
2017, Storage Wars
Season 10, Episode 13, May 24, “You Win Some, You Luge Some.” Jarrod and Brandi find disc golf stuff in a storage unit and try it out on the course. Available via Comcast On Demand.
2017, Saturday Night Live
Season 43, Episode 3, October 14. In his monologue, Kumail Nanjiani talks about the public’s reactions to his movie The Big Sick. He quotes one of his openly racist critic’s comments about the film: “I watched the whole movie … I just don’t like race mixing.” Nanjiani wonders why such a person would watch his movie in the first place: “Why do you watch the whole movie? Were you hoping for a twist at the end? Do you think, at the end, I would rip off my mask and say, ‘ha ha, it’s me, Chris Pine, I’m a white person … The only thing we’re mixing is Frisbee and golf. Let’s go eat some ranch dressing.’” Available here.
2017, Log Cabin Living
Season 3, Episode 8, “Angel Fire Dream Cabin,” January 28. In this house hunting show, a family looks for a cabin in Angel Fire, NM. Disc golf appears in at least one scene. See the source here.
2017, Small Town, Big Mayor
Season 1, Episode 6, “Point No. 6: Build the Kids a Place to Play,” September 7. Charismatic Mayor John Henry Berry builds a “frisbee golf course” for the kids, so they have “a safe place to play.” The course was built in D’lo Mississippi. Available on Amazon Prime.
Season 2, Episode 21. A display of disc golf discs is visible in the background of some scenes. In episode 21, a character arrives unexpectedly at a wedding in casual clothing and says to the bride, “I’m sorry I’m wearing shorts, I was at a Frisbee golf thing.” Available via Comcast On Demand.
January 7, 2017. This time the joke is focused on traditional golf, although the show uses a better-than-you “frolf” putt to makes the point. Available here.
2017, My North
Episode 28, “Andrew Zimmern,” August 16. This video series, produced by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, features noted people from Minneapolis. Zimmern, a known-disc-golf enthusiast, talks about his love of disc golf and other passions. This interview series may have appeared on television, but I’m still researching this; if not, it will be excluded from the project. Still, it’s worth a look. Watch the segment below.
2018, Counting On
Season 7, Episode 2, “The Vuolos Buy a House.” Multiple scenes feature a large group of friends and family members of all ages playing “disc golf.” Available via Comcast On Demand.
2018, The Price Is Right
March 21. A special “Tweens” episode features a disc golf basket (travel style) in the showcase showdown at the end of the show. Available here.
2018, Insane Pools – Off the Deep
Season 3, Episode 3, “Piña Pool-ada,” June 29. PDGA World Champion Ron Russell shows love for his sport in this episode. The intro segment features Russel throwing at a major event, and gives background on the sport. Russel refers to his disc golf days as “the best job on the planet,” and says that he was able to “make a living at it for ten years.” A disc golf basket also appears in his backyard, which has been transformed into a giant jungle pool. Available on Comcast On Demand.
2018, Big Brother
Season 20, Episode 1, June 27 (not confirmed). One of the contestants, Scottie Salton, who is depicted as a socially awkward young man, talks about his interest in disc golf; he appears in one scene with a disc near a basket. Available for purchase via CBS.
2018, Judge Judy
Season 23, Episode 73, “Drone Under Attack Takes Fatal Dive!” November 15. As described by the show, “An innocent game of disk golf takes a sinister turn when a player allegedly takes aim at a $1,000 drone hovering nearby.” See a teaser for the episode here.
2019, American Idol
Season 17. An episode airing sometime in April 2019 includes contestant Walker Burroughs, who describes himself as an “avid disc golfer” and demonstrates a backhand throw. Watch the segment below.
Season 1, Episode 6. The main character’s love interest—“a loser-with-an-irresistible-something”—is seen playing disc golf by himself (not well) at a course in Portland, Oregon. Available here.
2019, Last Chance U
Season 4. In this Netflix series about college football players there are a few scenes in more than one episode that include shots of a disc golf course located near the football practice field. Information about the course, known as Independence Community College DGC, can be found here. The series is available on Netflix.
2019, Island Life
Season 17, Episode 9, “Discovering New and Old charm on James Island,” July 21. In this house-finder show, disc golf appears in at least one scene. Available via Amazon Prime.
2019, Wheel of Fortune
“Sweetheart Week,” February 11. Kathy and Steve Hardyman introduce themselves as “professional disc golfers and ambassadors for a large disc golf corporation.” They win $2K on the show. Available here.
2019, Let’s Make a Deal
An episode airing on or near October 17 features a man dressed up as a disc golf basket on the game show Let’s Make a Deal. Wayne Brady throws a few discs at him; the game is referred to as “Frisbee golf.” More info here.
2019, Rick and Morty
Morty’s sister finds love through an online dating service. The new love of her life, Danny, works at Jersey Mike’s, sees twenty-five fish shows a year, and is described as a “Frisbee golfer.” Danny appears briefly, covered in dirt, and sporting green hair. Morty’s mom is clearly disappointed with her daughter’s love connection. Talking to her husband, she says, “Our daughter ran off with a Frisbee golfer because of an app with a dumb, really forgettable name …” This brief references is available on Youtube here and may be available via Adult Swim.
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Parked is underwritten in part by a grant from the Professional Disc Golf Association.
8 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Disc Golf in Popular Culture”
Insane Pools – Off the Deep End S03E03 features PDGA #9999 Ron Russell and not only mentions his Disc Golf career, but shows a basket in the pool with people throwing into it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow, this one is great! Can’t believe I missed it. The World Champ Ron Russell showing love for his sport in this episode, with clips from major events, and a basket in his brand new, giant jungle pool. Bryan, send your address to email@example.com and I’ll send you a Parked towel.
I saw the 80s Wheel episode. It was either 86 or 87. Pat started off, “So, you play frisbee golf?” The contestant responded “Yes. It’s a lot like regular golf but instead of hitting a ball into a hole, you throw a frisbee into a basket.”
For years, I envisioned guys setting out laundry baskets for their course.
It would be another 25 years before I was properly introduced to the sport.
Steady Ed being interviewed On the Johnny Carson Show Contact Red Whittington–FB for possible video !!70s?
Below is the link to Discin – on YouTube. The film was made by the Anderson High School Film Club in 1995 I think. My daughter, Tori Caldwell, is one of the lead characters- Zoe Innova. I threw some stunt discs from off camera and had a little cameo as her dad. Also, long-time Cincinnati disc golfer Hans Multhopp had a role. The disc golf scenes were filmed at Cincinnati’s Mt. Airy Forest DGC and Woodland Mound DGC. Chad Weddle is the film club teacher/producer/actor etc. The film is centered around the school’s plan to destroy the disc golf course and replace it with an ultimate stadium and the battle between the two teams/groups. Pretty funny and well done for a high school club!
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Thanks for this one Pete. This is one of my personal favorites. Considering the age of those involved, it features solid acting, great music, fun references to other movies and lots of well-produced disc golf scenes.
Was watching “Paradox” on Netflix. The first episode references Disc golf a couple of times, although the only disc shown is a frisbee.
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Not sure if it’s been mentioned, but a Room Raiders episode from August 11, 2005 contains a brief disc golfer appearance! One of the guys in the van (Dane) is an avid disc golfer & skateboarder. He spins a disc on his finger in his intro as well as some short footage of him playing a hole. It’s currently on youtube under the title & date of episode.