Permanent human-made infrastructures are the key to growth
By Josh Woods ~
WATCH THE video ESSAY HERE:
Ed Headrick’s importance to disc golf is not a subject of debate. I mean, the guy perfected the flying disc, invented the pole hole, installed the first formal disc golf course and founded the Professional Disc Golf Association. And that’s only the first page of his resume.
But which of these deeds most influenced the rise of competitive disc golf? Now this is a question worth debating. As I often do when I wonder something, I recently took to the internet and posted a poll on Twitter.
A while back 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’s amazing what you can find when walking through a crowded course on a Friday afternoon, or perusing disc golf handles on social media.
I’d rather be hit by a Bullet than a Boss. I mean, I’d rather not get hit at all, but if I had to choose, I’d go with the Bullet.
Of course, the odds of being struck by an original Bullet, made by Destiny/Dynamic in the 1980s, are close to zero, because you just won’t find them on a disc golf course. The Bullet was not approved by the PDGA’s Technical Standards Committee.
Although, as Joe Feidt wrote, the Bullet “was one smokin’ hot golf disc” in its day, the movers and shakers of disc golf deemed it too small, too hard and oftentimes too heavy and ushered in safety standards that are still in place today.
Back in 2017, Paul McBeth dropped a sympathy bomb on social media. He was like, check me out. I’m only five and a half feet tall and I weigh less than a panda. I’ll never be the favorite in sports. I’m the OG underdog. Send me some love.
Of course, he didn’t say it quite like that, and he had just dropped out of the Green Mountain Championship due to an injury that was only going sideways. And so, his fans did send love.
In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, several sports reached their fast-growth stages.
Skateboarding was headed to the Olympics and regularly appeared on television and in fashion magazines. Energy-drink-powered teens were pulling down big paychecks from esports megaevents. The Ultimate Fighting Championship was filling large arenas with fans and pouring mass-mediated adrenaline into mixed martial arts.
Even a few lesser-known sports were on the rise. Spikeball, the promoter of roundnet, landed deals with Shark Tank and ESPN. Cornhole was appearing on ESPN and courting moneyed sponsors like Johnsonville Sausage. Ax throwing and wood chopping were being nationally televised.
After decades of slow growth, disc golf was also on the rise.