Disc golf is a game based on traditional golf with far more accessibility than the original game. Many coaches and teachers who oversee physical education classes have an interest in teaching disc golf because of its popularity with students.
Fresno Pacific University offers an independent study class on teaching disc golf in physical education classes that gives teachers the skills and knowledge needed to incorporate disc golf into their P.E. course.
Teachers can also earn continuing education credits from an accredited university by taking the class, something most school districts require.
There’s another big advantage to learning about disc golf: It’s a lot of fun.
What Is Disc Golf?
Disc golf has its roots in the early 1900s but didn’t really take off until the 1950s. It’s essentially a version of golf, but you don’t need to invest in a set of clubs to play. Disc golf requires a flying disc (usually a Frisbee) and a special bucket that is used as the target.
Originally, people used trees, poles and other stationary objects as targets for disc golf. Now, the official targets are poles extending up from the ground with chains and a basket where the disc lands, according to the Disc Golf Association.
The game is played much like golf. Players start from a set point for each hole. Like traditional golf, courses are usually 9 or 18 holes. Players keep track of each throw of their discs for each hole. The player with the lowest cumulative throws for the entire course is the winner.
History of Disc Golf
The modern game took off because of the efforts of Kevin Donnelly, a recreation supervisor for the city of Newport Beach, CA, and “Steady” Ed Headrick. Headrick invented the Frisbee with an employee at Wham-O, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association. He also invented the disc golf pole hole in 1975 that is the basis for all holes used today.
Donnelly began playing what he called “Street Frisbee Golf.” He later organized disc golf tournaments at nine city playgrounds. In 1965, these tournaments led to a citywide, Wham-O sponsored Frisbee Golf tournament. Hula hoops were used for holes, and the tournament had published rules, hole lengths, pars and penalties. Wham-O also gave prizes to winners.
From these beginnings, the sport has spread across the country. Today, thousands of disc golf courses can be found in 65 different countries. An estimated 2 million people play, from amateur leagues to professional tournaments.
Developing Lesson Plans in Disc Golf
Many physical education teachers are interested in disc golf because it is a sport that promotes socialization, collaboration and teamwork. It also helps students develop skills such as confidence, patience, independence, concentration and problem-solving.
The Teaching Disc Golf course, a graduate-level continuing education course for teachers, is self-paced. Students can start the course at any time and take one year to complete it once they have enrolled. Objectives for each lesson in the Teaching Disc Golf course are modeled after standards-based learning from the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE).
Some of the outcomes for teachers taking the course include the ability to:
- Describe the benefits of a disc golf program
- Evaluate and critique the proper disc golf technique
- Identify, observe, practice and analyze various throwing techniques used in disc golf
- Introduce and implement physical fitness lesson plans for large and small classes using the principles of disc golf
For teachers wanting to teach disc golf, the course provides the skills and knowledge they will need to do so at a high level. With the convenience of online learning, there’s never been a better time to learn about the advantages of playing disc golf and how to teach students the joys of the game.