The Disc Golf Revolution Will Not Be Televised (But It Will Be Fun)

New Study Examines the Moneyless Rise of Disc Golf

By Josh Woods ~

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Photo by Ajeet Mestry

Three years ago, I quietly jettisoned my sociological research agenda on terrorism and immigration and began thinking about the growth of disc golf and other emerging sports. The two-part question that has held my curiosity longest is this one:

Is the popularity of disc golf growing, and if so, why? Continue reading “The Disc Golf Revolution Will Not Be Televised (But It Will Be Fun)”

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?”

Now it is Official – Disc Golf is Enormously Popular in Finland

By Kari Toivonen ~

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The young Finnish star Henna Blomroos at the 2019 European Open. Photo: Kari Toivonen

The European Open was held in Nokia, Finland a few weeks ago. It was a fantastic battle between the best players in the world, but the comeback victory of Paul McBeth was not the only thing that made people gasp. Continue reading “Now it is Official – Disc Golf is Enormously Popular in Finland”

Disc Golf’s Two Paths Forward

Is Disc Golf a Business or a Social Movement?

Josh Woods ~

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How do small sports become big ones?

When answering this question, most commentators point to the economics of sports and media. Sports grow when major media outlets pay attention to them. Increased media coverage attracts more participants and consumers, which entice even bigger media companies and corporate sponsors, which then foster stronger sport institutions. Continue reading “Disc Golf’s Two Paths Forward”

Who Gets Hooked? The Demographics of Disc Golf Involvement

By Josh Woods ~

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One of my best friends almost died from a disc-golf addiction.

He and I had recently discovered disc golf and were still in the honeymoon stage. Some days we’d play three rounds in the high hills of West Virginia under the hot summer sun.

Old men trying to relive their childhoods rarely ends well. This was no exception. Continue reading “Who Gets Hooked? The Demographics of Disc Golf Involvement”

Play, Party, Plan: Pittsburgh’s Formula for Growing the Sport

By Josh Woods ~

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Why do some disc golf communities grow, while others stagnate or decline?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. But reasonable speculation on this question might begin with the case study approach: Find a model of success and try to learn what works.

Over the last four decades, Pittsburgh’s disc golf community has worked. Continue reading “Play, Party, Plan: Pittsburgh’s Formula for Growing the Sport”

New Doc Showcases Frustration and Fun of Growing the Sport in Chattanooga, TN

By Josh Woods ~

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You’ve heard this story before.

But if there’s one story that should be told repeatedly, it’s this one: Disc golfers spend heaps of time and money building and maintaining disc golf courses for the public good. The disc golf infrastructure in the United States is, essentially, a fifty-year-old community development project headed by philanthropists and voluntary sports clubs. Continue reading “New Doc Showcases Frustration and Fun of Growing the Sport in Chattanooga, TN”

Three Reasons to Care about Disc Golf Research

By Josh Woods ~

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One of the questions you learn to answer in graduate school is, “Who cares?”

As you work through your research ideas, your teachers drum this question into you. For instance, after presenting your thesis proposal, someone in the audience might chirp: “Your project sounds interesting, but I’m not sure it passes the who-cares test.”

That’s as close as it gets to smack talk in academia.

As devilish as the question may be, it’s almost always worth answering. After all, if your research isn’t relevant to anyone, why carry it out? Continue reading “Three Reasons to Care about Disc Golf Research”

The Future of ‘Golf’ May Not Be on the Links

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Photo credit: Jari Hindstroem

By Josh Woods~~

{This article appeared first in The Conversation}

Could disc golf become more popular than ball golf by 2028?

Ask disc golfers and they’ll say, “You bet – our sport is growing like crazy.”

But for most Americans, the answer is, “What’s disc golf?” And the typical ball golfer will likely respond, “No – and stop calling my sport ball golf.” Continue reading “The Future of ‘Golf’ May Not Be on the Links”

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)”