The preface to that bold headline could very easily have been “HOT TAKE” instead of “FUN FACT”, and that would have absolved me from backing up my heavy claim as truth.
But, the sucker for punishment that I am, if I’m going to write myself into this corner I’m sure as shit going to word-vomit my way out of it.
So, where were we?
Ah, yes. The fact that disc golf is, in fact, not a sport. I hear you out there in WhereverTown U.S.A…. “If regular golf is a sport then disc golf is a sport!”
Now I’ve got you backed into a corner.
Golf, in either form, is not a sport at all. It’s a game. Actually, it’s a lot of different games at once, but it’s always a game. To call something a sport, you must be competing against someone, or some team.
“But I am competing against other people”.
No, you’re not. You, my angsty friend, are actually competing against the course…just like all of the other boys and girls out there. It just so happens that, at the end of this, we’re going to line you up and rank you based on how you did.
You’re thinking combatively and not competitively.
You can’t beat someone else. You can only beat their score against the course.
And don’t get me wrong. This is not me saying that disc golfers aren’t athletic; I would say that the disc golf demographic is far more athletic than their pedestrian counterparts. What I’m saying is that, to achieve success, you must navigate and complete the course like it’s a treasure map.
Better yet, think of curling: Otherwise known as “the only reason to watch the Winter Olympics”.
Pretend that the aerial shot we see in curling was the layout of a disc golf course, and the bullseye is the basket. Your job is to get there more efficiently than your opponent.
In curling, scoring is far more complicated than that, like some bastard child of bocce ball, darts, and whatever custodians do for fun, but this will work for our analogy.
Curling is a sport, and not disc golf because in curling, opponents are actively interfering with your play by blocking your stones, bashing your stones, and all manner of other actions that sound like 80’s British slang for getting it on.
In disc golf, there is no defense. At least, no active, human defense. You’re the whole show.
You’re OJ Simpson in Tecmo Bowl, juking fools on a miracle run to the end zone after player two rage quit and broke his controller. No white Bronco needed.
In fact, since we as a sport have already bitten a ton of ball golf’s style, courtesy is actually encouraged when your opponent is playing.
Now your gears are moving.
When you move out of someone’s line of sight while they’re putting. You’re doing that so that they have a better chance of scoring well. You’re actively encouraging your “foes” to do well by not distracting them.
It’s us against the course, not each other. It’s all of us against the course.
And that’s what makes golf, of all varieties, such a unique and beautiful activity; it’s far more sportsmanship than sport, without sacrificing any of the competitiveness.
Now go show your local frolf track who’s the boss.