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Disc Golf for Education


Disc Golf in Educational Fitness

Teach a child to throw a disc and watch them grow into a healthy adult.

The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) identifies the goal of physical education as to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Disc golf’s surge in popularity both recreationally and in physical education is based on disc golf’s lifetime aspects and its ability to meet the five National Physical Education Standards. The sport offers a variety of recreational opportunities for play with over 10,0000 courses worldwide combined with the ability to participate in an organized, competitive, lifetime sport. The PDGA World Championships recognize divisions ranging in age from eight to over eighty and sanctions approximately 3,500 events annually for its 66,000 active members. 

With the sport’s variety of motor skills and required competency of movement patterns, principles, and concepts; disc golf easily achieves Standards 1-3. The sport’s natural social aspects satisfy Standards 4 and 5. Like golf, disc golf is an ever-changing challenge. It is easy to play yet hard to master; allowing the player to focus on skills improvement while enjoying mental, physical, and social growth at the same time. Disc golf could be the fountain of youth. The youth are certainly discovering disc golf. PDGA juniors, ages 10-18, had an increased growth rate of 36 percent in 2020. The Disc Golf Pro Tour Championship topped ESPN2 daily ratings in its debut on November 24, 2020. The 2020 DGPT Champions are youth highlights for disc golf. Hailey King and Kevin Jones started playing at a young age and at nineteen and twenty-three are sponsored, professional athletes.

Throw to Grow

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. The prevalence of obesity among U.S. youth was 18.5% in 2015–2016 and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents. Overall, obesity among adolescents (12–19 years) (20.6%) and school-aged children (6–11 years) (18.4%) was higher than among preschool-aged children (2–5 years) (13.9%). *

Introducing disc golf at a young age helps instill healthy habits so children can throw and grow into healthy adults. Disc golf is a lifetime activity the whole family can participate in. For under $100 total, a family of four can play disc golf together for free on nearly all 7,000 courses throughout the United States. Making disc golf an accessible and attainable sport to pursue throughout one’s lifetime.

Disc golf can be played from a young age to golden age at little cost to the player providing both a mental and physical challenge. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Two 18-hole rounds of disc golf a week will help to achieve the goals the American Heart Association sets forth to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Justin Menickelli, Ph.D. and Western Carolina University did a pedometer study on 257 men and 156 women playing 8,029 holes of disc golf on 38 different courses. The study A Good Walk Defined found that every time a person ventures outside to play disc golf they took an average of 6,064 steps; well on their way to reaching 10,000 steps. Disc golf is a low to moderate intensity activity that is sustainable across generations making it a great lifetime pursuit. A Good Walk Defined.

Educational Disc Golf Experience 

The Educational Disc Golf Experience (EDGE) Established in 2003, EDGE is the industry leader in disc golf education. EDGE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the lifetime activity of disc golf to the youth of the world. EDGE has impacted over two million children through its educational disc golf programming. It combines the fundamentals of the sport with educational objectives in the areas of physical education, health, science, math, civics, and the environment. The program provides a well-rounded, National Standards-Based curriculum, instructional DVD, and affordable equipment specifically designed for the school-aged participants and the instructors who use it. Educators, MBA, Ph.Ds., MD, World Champions, Hall of Fame disc golfers, Paralympic medalist, and Educational Specialists all contributed to the EDGE curriculum.

View the EDGE Standards-Based Curriculum

Disc Golf Foundation

Disc Golf Foundation (DGF). Established in 2004. DGF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization for growing the sport of disc golf. DGF grows the game of disc golf through creative programs, partnerships, community involvement, and donations from supportive individuals and organizations. They support initiatives that bring disc golf to a more diverse population, create and improve disc golf facilities, and preserve the history of disc golf. DGF targets regions where there are few or no courses with its Matching Baskets Program, and has helped over thirty new courses open to the public as a result. DGF recently included elementary, high schools, parks, YMCAs to broaden the outreach beyond universities. 

View the Matching Baskets Program

Best Practices 

The PDGA Rules Committee publishes a comprehensive guide to rules of play but beginning players need not concern themselves with all the official rules just yet. Following a few basics will help keep your rounds fair and fun. Keep instructions simple: introduce the game, equipment, safety, and the concepts of play. Other elements will depend on the location of the activity, length of session, age of the participant, skill level, and available equipment. The EDGE standards-based curriculum and programming can further assist the educator with disc classroom management.   

There are some factors to consider when pairing youth and disc golf. Safety is number one. Instruct students not to walk ahead of the farthest away player and never throw into a group. Golf discs are pieces of sporting equipment, not toys. Class instructions need to highlight the importance of safety, respect, and responsibility.

Establish cues to lead the class. “Discs up” is a good one. Instruct students when you say “discs up” to raise the disc above their head. You now have a focused group to address. To reinforce safety, when the discs are up for the first time instruct students to bend their elbows and lightly tapped their head with the disc. You can say, “Doesn’t feel so good. Golf discs are pieces of sporting equipment and not toys. Let’s make sure and be mindful of each other when throwing”. This small move teaches students to be aware of the flying disc and brings the class to attention.

Next, introduce the order of play: start at a designated tee area, throw each shot from just behind where the previous shot landed (when possible), the player who is farthest away from the basket is “out” and throws first, no persons should get ahead of the furthest away player, discs do hurt. If a disc gets lost, everyone in the group should help look for it.