Ultimate Quoits Shuriken: Throwing Meditation

Try to research the origins of disc golf, and the path with lead in many directions. As I see it, one parent of our sport is Golf, and the other is Flying Disc. We know plenty about the origins of golf, which has been around for more than 500 years and serves as the ‘rules and objectives’ framework of disc golf. By comparison, what we know about the physical component of disc golf – that involved with the effort to throw relatively flat and cylindrical objects in contests of distance and accuracy – is minimal and scattered. There is of course ‘discus’, and when you expand your idea of what is being thrown there are other sports as well.

It seemed possible that a game called quoits has been around for quite some time, and originated with tossing a metal ring (with the same basic shape as a disc) first for distance then for accuracy. Side note: The first ones were fashioned from bent horseshoes by those that couldn’t afford an actual discus like the ones used for the Olympic Games- makes me think of all the great homemade baskets made by disc golfers that I’ve seen over the years. Common gene, perhaps?

In checking further into quoits, I discovered this video of Ultimate Quoits Shuriken: Throwing Meditation. The (badly) translated English subtitles of course make it more entertaining and easier to watch this 10 minute video. If you do, you’ll see a guy trying to use a technique very similar to putting a disc at a basket to land a small metal throwing star improbably on a peg. The best part is the subtitled translation of ‘failure!’ each time he’d miss and the all-too familiar soft grunts and sighs that signal tried patience. He hit’s thew money shot in the end, but it’s worth watching it all, and asking yourself throughout whether he plays – or would like to play – disc golf?

disc golf vs. ball golf: each has a case

Why (ball) golf is better than disc golf, reason #17
There is something poetic and dramatic about the differences between a driver and a putter in golf. To someone that had no idea what either was used for, they would scarcely resemble implements used for the same purpose- to strike a small white ball. One is typically much longer, with a large bulbous head on the other end of what is obviously the end meant to grip with ones hands. The putter, on the other hand, is shorter, with a smaller head at the end. And as different as the clubs are, the swings they are designed for are more different still.

When one looks to ‘drive’ a golf ball, a full effort is usually employed. The big backswing, the (hopefully) audible whoosh and whack, and the dramatic follow through all contrast beautifully with a putt on a fast green in golf. The operation requires the nerves and steady hand of a bomb-diffuser. When the club strikes the ball, it makes a quiet little click and sends the ball rolling toward a hole not much bigger than itself. Certainly dramatic contrasted with blasting that same ball through a wide open space.

Disc golf possesses many of the most important attributes of golf – risk/reward chief among them – but the differences between a putter and driver are immediately discernible only to the learned eye. They are both roughly the same weight and diameter.

Although a drive in disc golf usually involves more movement of the feet and a faster arm-whip, the contrast between that and a putt is relatively minor.

The best way to sum it up is this: Ball golf players get to whack their projectiles more than twice as far as disc golfers can throw theirs, and yet completing the hole is a far more delicate operation. The contrast between driver and putter, whack and tap, is one of the things that makes golf great, and that contrast barely exists in disc golf.

Why disc golf is better than (ball) golf, Reason #33
Everyone knows that disc golf is “easy to learn, yet hard to master.” But simply saying that disc golf is better because it is easier to play than golf is painting with too broad a stroke. There are many unique advantages that fall under this umbrella, only one of which is the following:

Two things combine to make a person’s first attempt at disc golf an almost guaranteed more enjoyable, less stressful experience than playing ball golf on a course for the first time.

  • Disc golf courses are much less formal environments, with none of the rules and almost none of the social mores of even a public golf course, much less a private one.
  • Not much compares to having multiple sets of eyes on you as you swing and miss at a golf ball sitting on a tee. In disc golf, that’s guaranteed not to happen! About the only thing that would compare is throwing the disc 180 degrees in the wrong direction (which I’ve seen). But that’s rare, and in disc golf no one seems to care.

bridging the disc golf awareness gap

I sometimes wonder, in a what-if kind of way, how quickly disc golf’s ponderous growth would accelerate if I could wave a magic wand and instantly communicate the following to the rest of the world:

  • The game of golf, in both its iterations, is the greatest individual sport ever invented. Millions of people that would otherwise be receptive to this fact remain ignorant because of the many obstacles they rightly perceive as being prohibitive- cost and difficulty chief among them.
  • There is a version of golf that retains nearly all of the facets that make it a great game, while removing these and other barriers.
  • Disc golf, while easy to learn and enjoy, is much more complex than simply “throw, walk, repeat . . . throw, walk, repeat . . . ” A skilled player has an almost infinite array of options when deciding how to execute a throw, and a learned eye recognizes art when he/she witnesses a shot that is thrown with just the right angle, spin, and power to turn this way to avoid one tree, then fade that way to miss another clump of bushes, then fall to the ground with just enough power to trickle toward the target, and finally stop just short of the cliff behind.

I think these facts, in combination, imparted to a sports and outdoor-inclined mind, will make disc golf irresistible.

One of the unique appeals of disc golf

My preference when playing disc golf is to play with one or two other players, but I don’t mind a foursome or sometimes a fivesome. Anything more than that though, in my opinion is too much. In fact, I’d rather play alone than in a large herd, and I often do just that.

Today, in fact, I opted to get a quick round in at nearby Black Mouse rather than not play at all. And while out there, I realized that disc golf (or to specify, disc golf at DeLaveaga) is kind of like a good hike combined with a great sporting interest. I’ve heard ball golf described as ‘A Good Walk Spoiled,’ or something like that. I know that quote is a tongue-in-cheek thing, but it still stands in sharp contrast to how I genuinely feel about disc golf:

“Disc golf is a good hike made better”.