Anytime a big time shot is made in a pro tournament, such as James Conrad's field ace to tie Paul McBeth at World's or Eagle Mcmahon's skip in field ace, the highlight makes its rounds among major sports networks such as ESPN's Top 10 plays.
Every time this happens, there are 3 general comments that I see on social media with these associated replays, and they are along the lines of,
"I play disc golf and this shot was awesome!"
"I don't play disc golf, but this is pretty sweet!"
or, my favorite,
"I mean it's cool and all, but let's not pretend this is hard, all they're doing is throwing a frisbee"
(ugh, frisbee, could a disc be called anything worse?)
The top two answers are great! The third is a little more frustrating.
But all of them tend to lead to sub-comments and arguments between players and non-players and they're all centered around one topic,
The difficulty of disc golf.
And the questions and discussion don't end there.
Similar questions to this topic include,
Is disc golf harder than regular golf?
Is disc golf harder than other sports?
or even the generic,
Is disc golf hard?
Those who play understand that disc golf is very easy to play at it's most basic level, and very hard to play at a high, competitive level.
Those who have never played, treat it as if it is some backyard game like cornhole where you're just "throwing discs (or frisbees) at a basket",
insinuating that in the grand scheme of things, it's extremely easy to play.
This leads to back and forth discussion between opposing sides as to why it is hard, and why it is not.
The frustrating part for me, is that those who typically think it is easy, have never truly played it.
Because of this, it becomes a challenge to try and convey the simple message of,
Disc Golf is NOT as easy as it looks in a highlight on ESPN.
Just because you see a pro throw in a field ace from 247 feet with hundreds of people watching and the world title on the line,
doesn't mean that the average Joe (or touring pro for that matter) could simply walk up and do the same thing, even if they had 100 attempts.
Is Disc Golf harder than regular golf?
Is Disc Golf hard?
To answer this question, it's first important to note that there are varying degrees of difficulty with any sport or physical activity.
Running is inherently easy, as just about anyone can run to some degree of the definition.
Running a 100 meter sprint in less than 11 seconds, or running a mile in less than 5 minutes however, is not so easy.
From a sport stand point, making a single free throw in practice with endless attempts is not all too difficult, making that same free throw 90/100 times with players and screaming fans watching however, is not so easy.
Throwing a baseball to someone standing 30 feet away is fairly easy, throwing it to a catcher who is 60 feet, 6 inches away at a speed of 95+ mph into a 2 foot by 2 foot zone in a way that a skilled batter doesn't hit it is very difficult.
Throwing that ball 300 feet from centerfield to the catcher at home plate before a runner reaches safely is also difficult.
Field goals, soccer goals, ice skating, dribbling a basketball, you name it, are all things that most people can usually do at some level of skill, even if very low.
As I said however, there is a big difference between simply being able to do the activity or skill, versus being able to do the activity with extreme precision and high levels of consistency and ability.
And disc golf is no exception.
Reusing the quote above of,
"Disc golf is easy, it's just throwing a frisbee into a basket"
That person would be right, technically speaking, it is just throwing a disc.
And anybody can throw a disc, right?
But can anybody throw a disc 200 feet, 300 feet, 400 feet, or more?
Even if they spent months practicing, how far could they truly learn to throw? How far would their technique take them?
Would you be surprised to learn that many of the touring professionals on the PDGA circuit can throw a disc 500+ feet, with many achieving the 600 and even 700 foot mark?
Sounds crazy right!
And distance is just one piece of the puzzle, even if you could throw 400 or 500 feet, would you be able to throw it at a basket that is 400 feet away and have it land within 30 feet on a regular basis, which is considered the edge of Circle 1 to make an easy putt?
If you can't, you would not be competitive score wise on the pro tour.
Now throw in obstacles such as trees and bushes, weather elements such as wind, and course design elements such as out of bounds and mando's (mandatory objectives you must hit such as to the right of a marked tree) and things get difficult in a hurry.
Speaking of putting, Circle 1 is just within 10 meters of the basket, or about 33 feet.
How accurate would you be from the edge of that distance to consistently find chains and finish the hole?
Would 50% of your putts go in? 60%? 70%? 80%?
I'll go out on a limb and say that if you're not over 90% from that distance, you would not be considered a "good" putter among the professionals.
Take this distance out to 66 feet to the edge of Circle 2 and many of those same professionals are making these putts 60-70% of the time, which is the equivalent to a basketball player making half court shots 1 out of every 4 tries or a ball golfer chipping in from 50 feet out over half the time.
Putting this all together, and you can see just how difficult it would be to throw for par on any course, let alone multiple strokes under par like the pros do, even when playing from long tees and courses that are very technical for increased difficulty.
When playing at this level, disc golf is far from "easy".
So to answer the question of "Is Disc Golf hard".
You can see that there is a big difference in simply playing or trying to play, and being a professional.
Obviously, there are a lot of skill levels between being an amateur and being a professional, but that holds true for any sport, job, skill, or activity.
So when you see an impressive shot on television, just take my word that what you're seeing is extremely difficult, and takes years of practice to get onto that kind oft level on a consistent basis.
Whether or not disc golf is hard to play should not be a barrier to getting you started, as we all started off as beginners with little to no skill set.
And as we said, simply going out and getting onto the course playing to the best of your ability is not difficult at all, and it stays that way until you want to become a more advanced player.
But that's totally up to you and what ultimately matters is that you're having fun and enjoying this great outdoor activity.
In short, disc golf is as easy or as hard as you want to make it, it just depends on how good you want to be and how far you want to take your game.
If you want to see how hard disc golf is first hand, learn just how good you are, or want to try it out for yourself because you have been curious, consider checking out our article,
To learn what all you need to get started as soon as possible (I'll give you a hint, it's not much!).
If you're thinking it's going to be easy, let us know how easy it truly was for you!
If you have any other questions, feel free to send us a message and we'll answer them as best we can!
Happy disc golfing!
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