Part of the joy of disc golf comes from the fear of trying it. Leaving our comfort zones and walking onto the course can be daunting. “Can I do this? I got this. Nope, I can’t do this. What am I doing!?”
All of us, from top professionals to first-time players, deal with insecurities as we navigate a course. And when we overcome those fears and throw a great shot, it feels fantastic. A shared sense of vulnerability may also explain why camaraderie and friendships are so quick to grow on disc golf courses.
While mild unease may heighten the pleasure of a well-thrown shot and encourage group solidarity, too much fear can hamper performance and create conflicts in groups.
During a recent online discussion about diversity and inclusion in disc golf, someone asked me to explain “How disc golf isn’t inclusive.”
The intention in the question was to prove that disc golf is open and welcome to all who want to play and that excluding people, on purpose, because of their race, ethnicity, gender or other characteristics simply doesn’t happen.
Calculated discrimination exists (even if you haven’t seen it), and it is a problem, but not being inclusive is sometimes more subtle than being overtly exclusive. I did research to better understand it myself as the discussion on how women are treated in disc golf increased in recent weeks.
Here are a few examples of how disc golf isn’t inclusive of women and girls.
Here’s an earth-shaker for you: When people go to restaurants, they order food from a menu.
A few picky eaters may request off-menu items, but most people stick to the script. According to researcher Brian Wansink, customers are especially likely to choose items that are next to pictures, bolded or placed in boxes.
Six examples of gender bias on the disc golf course.
By Josh Woods, PhD ~
The M in MPO stands for “male,” right?
MPO is an abbreviation for “male pro open,” a PDGA tournament division for professional male disc golfers. I walked around with this idea for months. Walked around knowing, without question, what the M means.
A brief look into the psychology and sociology of disc golf.
By Josh Woods ~
The other day my seven-year-old daughter asked me, “Why do people get married?”
I gazed into her curious brown eyes, knowing that my answer would not satisfy her. “Because they want to,” I said.
“Why do they want to?” She chirped, of course.
“Because it makes them happy,” I said.
“Why does it make them happy?”
I tried to explain that people get married for different reasons, that not everyone wants to, and that the reasons for getting married usually depend on where people live, when they live, and what the people around them think about marriage.
Drew Barrymore directed and starred in one of my favorite movies. Whip It, released in 2009, tells the story of a misfit teen from Texas who finds refuge from the doldrums of small-town life by joining a women’s roller derby team called the Hurl Scouts.
In one scene, the Hurl Scouts come together after a bout. Despite losing the hard-fought contest, the women are all smiles and fist pumps and laughter.
Women represent an underserved group in the disc golfer population. Per the PDGA, between 1999 and 2015, the share of women among PDGA members has stayed within a range of 6.9 percent to 7.7 percent. A few surveys drawn from PDGA-centric populations have reported similar or lower estimates of the number of women who play disc golf. Continue reading “Women, Men and Disc Golf: An interview with Valarie Jenkins”→
In the early 1990s, Jane Gottesman worked as a staff writer covering sports for the San Francisco Chronicle. At the time, she was the only woman in the country working in the sports department of a big-city newspaper (1). News coverage of female athletes was scarce. Gottesman kept a running tally of the number of photographs of women who graced the sports page. The results were dismal. Continue reading “An interesting and important disc golfer you should know, but probably don’t”→