Dabbling in disc golf | SierraSun.com

Dabbling in disc golf

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunKevin McSorley, 27 of Truckee, tosses a putt at the Truckee River Regional Park disc golf course.
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For sports-loving folk seeking outdoor entertainment but lacking those green, rectangular pieces of paper that are so key to existence in today’s world, disc golf may be the ticket.

“It’s basically free,” Kevin McSorley, a 27-year-old teacher at North Tahoe High School, said of the sport while strolling on to the next hole at Truckee River Regional Park last week. “You’re really challenging your own self.”

And that means one does not even need friends to play, although they can be of assistance when scouring the brush for a missing disc.

The only requirements, though, are free time, a disc ” which costs less than $20 ” an understanding of golf’s rules and an ability to wing a disc accurate enough to land in the vicinity of its target ” a vertical pole with a steel basket and dangling chains.

Like its elder relative, golf, patience is also a virtue.

After getting past the first few horrible throws, players warn that the sport’s addictive qualities begin to surface.

“Once the light bulb goes off, you’re hooked,” Donner Summit resident Tom Meyers said during his recent disc golf outing with friends McSorley and Kerry Andras.

Andras, a 29 year-old Tahoe City resident who frequents the regional park course, said he began playing disc golf off and on when he attended California State University, Chico in the 1990s. Like many, one thing in particular attracted him to the sport.

“It’s free,” Andras said. “All you need is a disc and you can play.”

But besides frugality, there are other reasons to dabble in disc golf.

“It’s good to come out and get some fresh air,” Andras said. “It’s a challenging sport, but you’re playing against yourself instead of other people.”

Just as a golf ball does when smacked a smidgen off-center from its tee, discs tend to veer away from intended targets. Sometimes out of sight. On those inevitable errant flings, pinpointing where the disc lands and eyeballing it until recovery, is key.

“You’ve got to watch and remember where it lands or you’ll be searching,” Meyers said.

A couple holes after giving the pointer, Meyers accidentally proved his point when an unidentified bush swallowed his white disc. But a short search later, Meyers was out of the trailing players’ way and on to the 18th hole.

For times when searches comes up short of recovery, Meyers said, a name written on the disc can save it from becoming another golfer’s back-up. Discs found with names printed on them can be returned to the Sports Exchange in Truckee, where someone will call its rightful owner, Meyers said.

The easiest discs to locate are blue and red ones, while green, yellow and tie-dye ones blend in with nature and are thus harder to find. Most serious players carry a bag with an assortment of discs, like a golfer’s bag of clubs.

“It’s a lot like real golf,” Meyers said. “Same etiquette, same rules. They’re both pretty fun but this one is not as formal. You can just come out with friends on a nice day and it’s a good excuse for a walk.”