Modernize Your Frisbee Fun with Disc Golf

Disc Golf at Elm Creek Park Reserve could be your new favorite outdoor activity.

Possibilities for outdoor recreation are more varied than you might imagine. For example, consider moving your backyard Frisbee game to a scenic golf course setting. Then eliminate the monotony of simply tossing the disc back and forth. Add a dose of competitive spirit. And you’ve got the game of disc golf. The disc golf course at Elm Creek Park in Maple Grove is a great place to practice what could become your new favorite outdoor activity. The rules of disc golf are similar to traditional golf. Only instead of using clubs and balls, players throw discs. The object is to throw your disc down the fairway, onto the green and into an elevated basket using as few throws as possible. Most courses have nine or 18 holes of play. Distance to the hole is measured in feet, instead of yards because you can’t throw as far as you can drive a golf ball. The number of throws it should take to reach each target is determined by par. A par three hole should require no more than three throws. A par four, four throws. And so on. Throw as close to par as possible and earn your best score. Competitive disc golfer, Tom Brenton says the pace of a disc golf game is quicker than traditional golf. But it’s still a casual sport. Three Rivers Park District recreation specialist Dave Mueller has seen some disc golfers run the entire course at Elm Creek Park to increase the aerobic activity level of the game. Runners finish faster. But most players walk at a normal pace and complete a round of disc golf in around two hours. A buddy introduced Brenton to the sport four years ago. He says, “I’ve played competitive soccer for many years and was looking for an individual sport to pursue. I like throwing a Frisbee around and so got hooked on disc golf.” The flight of the disc is what fascinates Brenton. He has practiced over and over to master the different types of discs for the game. That’s right. Just like the variety of clubs in a golf bag, it takes a variety of discs to play a proper game of disc golf. There are specialized driver discs for distance, smaller discs for mid-range throws and putters for short shots. The weight, diameter and rim vary on each type of disc. Some are even winged to cut through the air faster. Brenton says the mid-range disc is most like a regular Frisbee with the putter being the smallest and meant to stick better inside the basket. Mueller says more serious disc golfers come to the course with amazing bags carrying up to 15 specialized discs. But if you’re not quite ready for an amazing bag full of discs, rental discs are available at Elm Creek Park Reserve pro shop for $2 per hour. The course at Elm Creek is open from sunrise to sunset during the summer months. It’s only $5 to play a round of disc golf and no tee times are required. Elm Creek is one of the longer courses in the metro area with two holes each stretching over 700 feet. But it’s mostly wide open with few obstacles to maneuver around. Mowed grass marks the fairways and challenges can mount whenever your disc lands in the tall grass. Otherwise, the length of the course is probably the biggest challenge. It may take beginners a lot of throws to reach the targets. But hey, disc golf is a great way to take a walk and enjoy the outdoors. The course at Elm Creek Park Reserve is built on the park’s winter recreation space with some holes traveling along cross-country ski trails. “The course is a bit hilly in parts,” says Brenton. “But I enjoy the exercise and the course at Elm Creek provides some good scenery.” Brenton enjoys the competitive component of disc golf, participating in several tournaments throughout the season. But he is beginning to also appreciate the landscape and variety of terrain at each course he plays. “I recommend people try disc golf,” says Brenton. “It’s a great way to get outside, stay active, meet great people and get some exercise. It’s a fun hobby for all ages.”   Three Rivers Park Minnesota Frisbee Associationmnfrisbee.ning.comProfessional Disc Golf Area Leagues and Where Brenton gets his equipmentGotta Go Gotta Other Metro Area courses recommended by BrentonBlue Ribbon Pines Disc Golf Kaposia