Family Fun in Fishers: Frisbee Golf

Disc Golf

If you’ve never heard of Frisbee golf, then you are missing out on a great family outdoor activity. In this article I’ll tell you about Frisbee golf including what it is and where in the area you can play at no cost.

Frisbee golf and disc golf are basically the same thing, other than in one you use a Frisbee and in the other you use discs that some might call a special form of Frisbee. In this article, I’ll use the terms interchangeably.

Disc golf is like regular golf in that you generally play 9 or 18 “holes” that you do sequentially. Instead of using clubs to hit a ball form the starting point to the hole, you throw a disc or Frisbee. Similar to regular golf, you have a starting position as well as a par for each hole. You thrown your disc from the starting point, then walk to where it lands and continue to throw until your disc lands in the disc basket.

Disc Basket
Disc Basket

The great thing about disc golf is that the courses in the area don’t cost. They re generally set up round parks. The unfortunate thing for Fishers is that we currently only have one disc golf course that I’m aware of within the city. This course is located in Cumberland Park off of Cumberland Road and 106th Street. You can find the course in the back of the park starting near the creek.

There are, however, several other courses close to Fishers. There are three that my family has played. The course that most people are aware of is at Dillon Park on the north side of 146th Street (which is considered Noblesville). This is a great course that meanders through open space, near ponds, and through some trees. For beginner player, the open holes provide a chance to practice throwing your disc. The course does, however, have a couple of holes near a pond that can cost you a disc if your throw veers into the water!

The course that we’ve used the least (and like the least) is at Morse Beach Park. My kids and I have not really played this one as we tend to get sidetracked with the reservoir and fishing!

The course I’m hesitant to mention because we found it to be a more secret course is in Carmel just off of Hazel Dell at 106th. Most people don’t even know Hazel Landing Park exists. Of those that do, many aren’t even aware that it has a disc golf course. This hidden little park is next to the White River and includes a couple of picnic tables and access to the river. The disc golf course is one of the more difficult to play, yet it is that difficulty that makes it fun. Many of the holes are in the woods. This means your accuracy to throw needs to be better or you’ll bounce your disc off of trees! There are some more open holes as well.

Cumberland Park

From Beginner to More Advanced

The nice thing about disc golf is that you could be a $1 Frisbee at the Dollar Store and have everything you need to play. Granted, each person would need their own Frisbee. You’d also want each player to have a different color Frisbee to keep it easier to know whose is whose! Of course, just like in golf where you can lose your golf balls, it is possible to lose a Frisbee as well. As such, I recommend taking an extra Frisbee or two in case for some reason you lose one.

I mentioned earlier that this is called disc golf as well. There are special Frisbees that have been created for disc golf. These are made of a harder plastic/rubber compound and a bit flatter – more like a flying saucer. These tend to cost between $6 and $20 dollars each, although I imagine that just like golf clubs you can buy better ones for an even higher price.

Cumberland Park Disc Hole
Cumberland Park

Like golf clubs, there are a variety of different discs for doing short throws, long throws, curves, and more. The discs are created with characteristics that define how far they are likely to go as well as whether they will tend to break (curve) right or left and more. If you become a serious disc golf player, then just like in regular golf, you are likely to have a disc for driving at the beginning of the hole, and a different disc for the shorter putting tosses at the end.

If you want to use discs instead of Frisbees, you can buy starter kits on Amazon (I posted a few Amazon links below). You can also find discs and sets at store such as Meijer in the sporting section. Personally, I recommend buying a starter kit and using those discs versus using a Frisbee.

Discs with Lots of Numbers

Serious golfers buy extra clubs or special clubs. Similarly, if you get serious about playing disc golf, you’ll want to start paying closer to attention to the discs you buy. In fact, most disc golf discs you buy will come with several numbers on them. These numbers are for the discs’ speed, glide, turn and fade.

To be clear, disc golf is fun without being serious. Just grabbing a disc, aiming for the basket, and throwing is all it takes. But, as you play more, and as you compete against others, you might want your throws to be better. That is when the better discs and the numbers become important.

The speed of a disc refers to its ability to slice through the air. A disc with a higher speed number is going likely to be more aerodynamic and will likely go farther. A lower speed number will likely take more effort to throw. You’ll find that most discs have a speed from 1 to 13 with 13 being the ‘fastest’.

The next number to notice is the glide number. The glide number of a disc will range from 1 to 7. The higher the glide number, then the further the disc should generally travel. If you want a disc to go as far as possible with each throw, then look for a high glide number. Beginning players should look for discs with a high glide number.

Not all holes on a disc golf course are straight. In fact, many either aren’t straight or have obstacles that make straight throws not possible. As such, you might want to have discs that will turn when you throw them. The turn number on a disc describes the tendency of the disc to bank or turn over during the initial part of the flight. The turn numbers on a disc range form -5 to +1. The lower the number, the more the disc is likely to turn to the right as it is thrown.

The fourth number that is associated to discs for disc golf is the fade number. Where as the turn number impacts the disc during the initial part of the flight, the fade number impacts the flight near the end. The fade number ranges from 0 to 5 and describes how straight the end of the disc flight will be. A disc with a 0 fade will end the straightest, where as a disc will a 5 should have the greatest hook at the end.

Wrapping it Up

In my opinion, disc golf is a fun, outdoor activity that provides exercise and excitement. Just like with regular golf, you can play with multiple people and make it competitive. Unlike regular golf, there aren’t course fees. If you do decide to play, remember the same common curtesies that you have for regular golf and mini-golf, which include letting faster groups play through, and not taring up the courses.

Should you decide to give this a try, one bit of advice is to write your name and phone number on your discs – especially if you buy disc golf discs. There is a chance you’ll lose one in the brush, a pond, or a river depending on the whole you play. Most people that play will give you a call if they find your disc so you can retrieve it.

My last bit of advice is to simply have fun. This is a great outdoor activity that is enjoyable for all ages!

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