A BRIEF LOOK INTO THE HISTORY OF DISC GOLF
From pie tin to competitive sport
The origins of the Frisbee goes back to a bakery named the Frisbie Pie Company based in New Haven, Connecticut and established by William Russell Frisbie.
Before the bakery closed operations in 1958, the tossing of the company's pie tins by employees from Bridgeport (Connecticut, USA) attracted surrounding college and university students from Yale and Dartmouth that led to Frisbie becoming a well known term for flying disc play in the Northeast.
Mister Frisbie would've never thought that two great sporting disciplines would result from this;
- Ultimate disc (a team based sport)
- and Disc Golf (an individual sport that is a variation of golf).
In 1948, California inventor Walter F. (Fred) Morrison realizes that plastics technology could be used to make a disc-shaped flying toy. That year, the first flying disc produced with his partner Warren Franscioni, the Pipco (short for Partners In Plastic Company) "Flyin-Saucer", hit the market. Morrison then improves his invention with a second disc, the "Pluto Platter", with the now famous phrase "PLAY CATCH - INVENT GAMES" stamped on the inside. Disc golf was one of those invented games!
Wham-O became interested in this flying disc in 1955 and about a year later began marketing the "Pluto Platter" after acquiring the rights from Morrison. In July 1957, the name was changed to "Wham-O Frisbee" after the company heard about the pie tin game on the east coast called Frisbie-ing.
In 1975, Ed "Steady" Headrick installed the Oak Grove Disc Golf Course located within Hahamonga Watershed Park in Pasadena, California. It became the world's first permanent disc golf course. It was an instant success. A year later, Ed Headrick patents the modern chain style target he called the "Disc Pole Hole" and organizes the Professional Disc Golf Association - PDGA.
It's the 80s already when Dave Dunipace, past World Distance and Disc Golf Champion, invents and patents the triangle-rimmed disc. This innovation brings the advantage of distance with accuracy to the games of amateurs and professionals alike. As a result, courses began to get longer and more challenging; the excitement grows. Putter, mid-range and driver discs were then created for different types of shots and distances.
Each player could now, before each launch, select the disc according to his preferences, his way of throwing, the shot types and the distance required.
Since then, disc golf development has been growing not only in its home country but all over other continents as well, especially Europe. Disc golf is a hobby and a sport whose popularity only grows one way; very quickly.
Amateur or seasoned player, everyone is attracted by the countless qualities inherent to this discipline : respect for others and the environment, physical well-being and morale, fairplay, no required physical condition, a gentle sport based on walking and throwing a disc that's inexpensive, fun and accessible to all in serenity and harmony with nature. A friendly, intergenerational and pleasant sport that can be played all year long.
All this explains why disc golf is a popular activity with a very diverse audience : young children, adolescents, adults , seniors and disabled person alike.