Viking Tries: Frisbee golf
December 12, 2014
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After hearing about the success of Paly’s girls’ golf team, The Viking decided to explore a similar sport, but one that is a lot less common. I took fellow Viking member Megan Valencia with me and we decided to try frisbee golf, also known as disk golf. The concept is simple and very similar to golf. However, instead of hitting a small, white ball with a club, you throw a frisbee or disk. The goal is to get the frisbee to land in the basket in as few shots as possible. The player with the lowest score at the end wins. After doing some research, we found several locations near Palo Alto, and decided to go to Hellyer Park. The course is located in San Jose, right off of 101, and is easy to get to.
The course is found inside the park, so there is no fee to play and it is first come first serve. There are two courses, one easy and one hard, and we decided to play on the easier course since neither of us had ever played before. After showing up, it was obvious that the two frisbees we brought were inadequate. One of the other players on the course had a backpack full of about 20 disks, many of which were different sizes.
Unlike normal golf, frisbee golf is a lot more relaxed. We arrived in athletic clothes instead of nice collared shirts. Also, we showed up when we wanted, instead of arranging a tee time. We found the closest hole to where we had parked that was empty and started playing. It was a bit confusing at first, but we got a better understanding of how it worked after playing a few holes. Each hole had several different places to start from and a few different baskets, depending on how hard you want to make the hole. As beginners, we decided to start at the nearest whole and shoot for the closest basket.
I took the first shot and the frisbee went high into the air and landed about 20 feet away. It was obvious that it was going to take me many shots before I got the frisbee to land in the basket. The wind was definitely a factor in where the frisbee moved, but it was not a good enough excuse to explain our bad shots.
We ended up walking around the course after each hole to try and find a new hole that was not near any of the more experienced players. I did not want to accidentally hit them with my frisbee. At one point, we were wandering around trying to find a new hole, when a man told us to get out of the way in a rather unpleasant tone.
But after playing a few holes, I was getting a little bit better. It was easier to understand how hard I needed to throw the disk, and in what direction I needed to aim, for it to land somewhat near the basket. It was still challenging, but it was taking me a lot fewer turns to get the disk in the basket than it did when we first began.
Being outside, however, did add some obstacles. There were a few times when I had to throw the disk lower to the ground than I would have liked because a tree branch was in the way. Other times, usually following a bad shot, I had to stand in the middle of some bushes while throwing the frisbee. After finishing the course, it was a relief to get back into the air conditioned car and out of the heat.
Overall, I enjoyed trying frisbee golf. It is unlike any sport I had ever played before, and it was fun even though I was not very good. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to spend an afternoon outside with friends. It is easy to socialize while playing, and players of all skill levels can play together.
There are several different locations with frisbee golf courses around the Bay Area, but I would also encourage people who want to try it to go to any park or open area and make their own course. That way the holes can be as challenging or as easy as you want, and it can be as convenient as just walking down the street to the local park.