Has Frisbee Culture Delayed the Rise of Competitive Disc Golf?

By Josh Woods ~

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Should we call it “Frisbee golf” or “disc golf”?

Few questions have generated more discussion among disc enthusiasts than this one. Opinions on the topic are as wide-ranging as they are divisive.

And yet, what matters most to the future of competitive disc golf is not what insiders think about these terms, but what outsiders think of them. Continue reading “Has Frisbee Culture Delayed the Rise of Competitive Disc Golf?”

The Ultimate Guide to Disc Golf in Popular Culture

I need your help.

By Josh Woods ~

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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. Continue reading “The Ultimate Guide to Disc Golf in Popular Culture”

Flying Discs in the Age of Legal Cannabis

Should disc golf embrace the weed industry?

Josh Woods ~

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Image via sftravel and flydiscs.

Cannabis has finally arrived in disc golf land.

Wait … what?

Okay, weed has been here from the beginning, but in May 2019 the San Francisco Open (SFO) became the first premier disc golf tournament that had a major sponsor from the cannabis industry. Continue reading “Flying Discs in the Age of Legal Cannabis”

Bad Santa 2.0 Spreads True Meaning of Disc Golf

By Josh Woods ~

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Participants of the Bad Santa 2.0 event played at The Gulch on December 22, 2018 (Hamburg, Michigan).

What makes something funny? Where does fun come from? Is disc golf fun when it’s funny?

Part of me wants to answer these questions by reviewing scientific research on humor. But then, that might not be much fun.

As the poet E. B. White put it, “Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the purely scientific mind.” Continue reading “Bad Santa 2.0 Spreads True Meaning of Disc Golf”

“Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair”

ESPN’s Recap of McBeth’s Historic Round Doesn’t Make Sense, But It’s Mindbogglingly Beautiful

By Josh Woods ~

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Not since Bob Dylan wrote “Desolation Row” has poetry like this flowed from the gumball world of popular culture.

Not since Matthew read W. H. Auden’s “Stop All the Clocks” in Four Weddings and a Funeral have the popular and the poetic been paired so neatly.

On the ninth of July 2018, having heard news of disc golf’s greatest round in history, ESPN’s SportsCenter held the nascent sport in its arms, raised it to the sky like Rafiki holding up baby Simba, bathed it in articulate spot light, and jammed Shakespeare in the background. Continue reading ““Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair””

Rise of an Unknown Sport (Part 3)

Disc Golf as Lifestyle Sport

By Josh Woods, PhD ~

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In this installment of “Rise,” I examine disc golf through the lens of Belinda Wheaton’s research on lifestyle sports.

“At least give the dog a chance to catch it first” – N.B.

“Sports is a reallllly loose term nowadays” – J.C.

“Not a real sport” – J.L.

These were just a few of the snippy comments posted on ESPN’s Facebook page when the media giant uploaded a video clip of Eagle McMahon’s 380-foot field ace at the Glass Blown Open in April 2018. By the end of June, the clip had received more than 14,000 likes, 5,200 shares, 2.3 million views and 4,000 comments. Continue reading “Rise of an Unknown Sport (Part 3)”

Rise of an unknown sport (Part 1)

By Josh Woods ~

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The other day I was working on a Where’s Waldo puzzle with my daughter when my mind began to drift to where it so often drifts.

Gazing at the strange assortment of people in the puzzle made me think of disc golf. It is amazing what you can find while walking through a crowded course on a Friday afternoon, or perusing disc golf handles on social media.

Viewing the sheer variety and complexity of disc golf culture, I find it hard to look away. Continue reading “Rise of an unknown sport (Part 1)”

The problems with disc golf and why we love it anyway

A Review of Five Common Gripes on Disc Golf Course Review

By Josh Woods ~

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Defectum Hills DGC depicts a humorous exaggeration of problems that exist, to a lesser degree, at some disc golf courses. Illustration by Jon Higgins.

Imagine yourself on disc golf’s death row. You can only throw one last round. Where would you play?

I’ve asked several disc golfers this question, and I’m always a little surprised by the answers. I half-expect people to name a legendary course, one that tops the charts on Disc Golf Course Review, or one located in a far-flung corner of the planet where most drinks are served with tiny umbrellas. Continue reading “The problems with disc golf and why we love it anyway”

Does the fear of death inspire people to play disc golf? A review of Gessner’s ‘Ultimate Glory’

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One of the most interesting books about disc golf is a book about Ultimate Frisbee. David Gessner, in Ultimate Glory, offers a rowdy, confessional tale about his years playing Ultimate in the 1980s. Ultimate players may be the intended audience, but disc golfers and other athletes of emerging sports—in fact, anyone who cares about a thing that many people consider ridiculous—will find this book fascinating. Continue reading “Does the fear of death inspire people to play disc golf? A review of Gessner’s ‘Ultimate Glory’”

The Brathwaite albatross as religious experience

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Philo Brathwaite’s second shot for albatross, Beaver State Fling, June 2016

In 2006, David Foster Wallace wrote an article about tennis called “Roger Federer as Religious Experience.” This essay may be the most beautiful expression of a man’s love for sport that has ever graced the pages of a newspaper.

But when I read it for the first time, years ago, as a younger, intellectually snobbier version of the man I am today, I was skeptical at best. It didn’t seem fitting for the greatest novelists in the land to be writing about men’s tennis. Continue reading “The Brathwaite albatross as religious experience”