By Joshua Trudell, For the Express-News
Mark Twain is said to have called golf, “a good walk spoiled.”
If he had played disc golf, he might have enjoyed the walk more.
Investigating these courses of metal baskets around several area parks, I played with members of the Live Oak Disc Golf Alliance to find the attraction of the game.
Disc golf and regular golf have some similarities — start from a tee, aim at a goal, fewest throws (or strokes) wins. People can invest hundreds of dollars in equipment and accessories, too.
On the tee, in front of four experienced players, trying desperately to remember lessons from junior high gym class, I reached back and threw my first disc in about 20 years.
To no one’s surprise, least of all mine, my first throw flew about 50 feet before wheeling over and nose-diving into the turf. Meanwhile, the others in my group easily sent their discs flying around 300 feet.
As a new golfer, I didn’t have any discs of my own. The group, however, welcomed me by letting me borrow a set, which they offer to all newcomers.
“Plastic matters,” said Laura Karshis, noting that beginners can get a whole set for $30, but some single discs can cost up to $100.
There are three basic types of discs used. The driver usually has sharper edges, with very little lip in order to cut through any wind.
Midrange discs have more lip and are heavier, for more control. Putters have the biggest lip and are the heaviest for the most control.
Despite how much control each disc is alleged to have, it’s all how you throw it. As a right-hander, I need to aim slightly to the right of the basket, so the disc will hit the pole and spin in.
My playing partners helped me out, explaining that throwing flat and fast would have the best effect.
By the time I reach the second hole, I’ve learned enough of the basics to make a decent throw from the tee, and from there I salvage bogey on three straight holes.
The flat and fast method worked for most players, but some added something extra.