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 ~

Wheaton books
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 2)

Disc Golf as Modern Achievement Sport

By Josh Woods ~

Cover Art D1 Modern Sport
Photo: Innova Disc Golf (NBC logo added)

Defining disc golf is like describing the taste of water. The task seems at once obviously possible and extremely difficult.

The hard part involves the utter plurality of what disc golf means to those who play it. As I argued in Part 1 of “Rise,” disc golf is not one thing, but many. Like Waldo’s world, its definition depends on where you look. Continue reading “Rise of an Unknown Sport (Part 2)”

31 Interesting Things about the 2018 PDGA Board Elections

By Josh Woods ~

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I have a confession. It’s terrible. I’m not kidding. It’s really bad. But here goes: At times, I’m a lazy, uninformed voter.

For one reason or another, I almost always make it to the voting booth, even for most local elections. But I rarely feel optimally educated on the candidates before casting my votes. Yep, I’m that annoying guy who’s holding up the voting line, because he’s doing last-minute research on his cell phone.

But, with the 2018 PDGA board elections coming this July, I thought I’d part ways with habit and start my research early. Continue reading “31 Interesting Things about the 2018 PDGA Board Elections”

Rise of an unknown sport (Part 1)

By Josh Woods ~

Where is waldo cover art Second Option D2

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)”

How legalized sports betting may change disc golf

By Josh Woods ~

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Will sportsbooks like this one someday include disc golf? Photos by Jesse Wright and the Flight Record.

The Supreme Court just dropped a whopper of a ruling on the sports world. Last week it struck down a 1992 law against commercial sports betting in most states. According to experts, the door is now open for legalizing sports betting in America. Continue reading “How legalized sports betting may change disc golf”

Does disc golf need a Leviathan?

By Josh Woods ~

Leviathan
The cover art of Hobbes’s “Leviathan” features one central authority whose body is comprised, literally and figuratively, of individual citizens. Sadly, the disc golfers seen here did not appear in the original.

In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville published an important book about disc golf.

Okay, maybe Tocqueville wasn’t focused on disc golf exactly, but his ideas can be applied to it. In Democracy in America, he wrote about the delicate balance that must be found between the impulse of governments to centralize power, and the desire of individuals and local groups to pursue their unique interests.[1] Continue reading “Does disc golf need a Leviathan?”

Why Europe may outpace the United States in disc golf growth

By Josh Woods and Kari Toivonen ~

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Government control. State intervention. Collective ownership. To some Americans, these terms sound like nails on a chalkboard.

Free markets. Privatization. Pay-to-play. Now these words sound better to fiscal conservatives. The goal should be less government, lower taxes and a smaller role for the state. People should be free to chase their dreams without government interference.

But could people chase their disc golf dreams without government? Continue reading “Why Europe may outpace the United States in disc golf growth”

Two perspectives on disc golf and why we need them both

By Jim Palmeri ~

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Why is disc golf such a fun, fast-growing recreational and competitive activity? Part of the reason is that disc golfers embrace two different perspectives on the game.

Advocates of the first viewpoint—the ball-golf perspective—believe that disc golf should encompass all the subtleties and nuances that make ball golf the widely celebrated sport that it is today. Continue reading “Two perspectives on disc golf and why we need them both”