Introduction to Liverpool Disc Golf Community
Hello, we’re David and Jo. We're bringing Disc Golf to Liverpool! Join us on Instagram to share our journey creating accessible, inclusive disc sport opportunities. Come and be part of it!
What is Disc Golf?
Disc golf is a flying disc sport in which players throw a disc, or frisbee, at a target, or basket. It’s played using rules similar to the golf you’re probably familiar with. It’s usually played on a course with 9 or 18 holes. Players complete a hole by throwing a disc from a tee area toward the target, throwing again from where the previous throw landed, until the target is reached. Usually, the number of throws a player uses to reach each target is tallied, and players seek to complete each hole in the lowest number of total throws.
Disc golf has been established in America in it’s current form since the late 1960s, it was slower to catch on here but is currently one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and across Europe.
We think that disc golf is the perfect community sport, it's cheap, free to play actually and it’s easy for anyone to learn and play. Disc golfers get great exercise, and great sense of community develops around a local course. Disc golf can attract diverse people and communities to use parks and open spaces and help them develop a feeling of ownership and responsibility for this community space.
Disc Golf is also an ideal activity for community groups and schools, for all abilities, because it is accessible, fun, and a great learning opportunity for everything from physics to physical fitness.
How did we get involved?
Our Disc Golf journey started one cold November Sunday in 2020. We came across a YouTube video of the sport and as frisbee fanatics already, we were hooked! We began following the USA pro tour progress more avidly and along the way, we started to realise we could get more involved.
A couple of Christmas presents later, we had a starter set of discs to chuck, and so in early 2021, off we went! Disc Golf offers the player a natural progression and development; you quickly see improvement in a few throws. Soon, we both felt able to compete in our first tournament in Manchester in May 2021.
We became regular players at Longford Park, Stretford, so much so that we joined the Manchester Disc Golf Club and were so inspired by the community and inclusive nature of the sport and the ethos/philosophy around it, we began to wish there was a course in Liverpool. So, here we are, developing our community and doing what we can to grow the sport!
Liverpool Disc Golf Community is a fully constituted group. We have a bank account, an enthusiastic committee and we are working with Liverpool Council for Voluntary Services (LCVS) to ensure all appropriate governance is in place. We are in the process of accreditation to UKWDGA and we have a framework of policies that underpin our commitment to developing safe, inclusive opportunities for our community, such as safeguarding, equality and diversity and social media.
Why Bring Disc Golf to Liverpool?
Healthy, Life-Long Sport
Easy to play and fun, Disc Golf is a great low impact, physically active sport. It’s a family-friendly, multi-generational sport that is low cost, safe exercise for all ages, bringing community cohesion. In addition to being a physical activity, disc golf is also a cognitive sport requiring visualisation, planning, spacial awareness, judgement and problem-solving for disc flight paths. As such, it can be a great aid towards improving mental health, confidence and wellbeing.
Disc golf gets people outside and engaged in a healthy outdoor activity. Disc Golf is covid-safe as players can social distance. Disc Golf is generally set in park land, players get to enjoy time spent surrounded by nature – trees, flowers, greenspace all contribute to improving mental and physical health and wellbeing.
In our experience, a casual round of Disc Golf will take us around an hour and twenty minutes to play 18 baskets or holes. Disc golfers walk close to three miles, or an average of about 5,613 steps per round. With a couple of rounds, players will easily get to over 10,000 steps without realising it, plus there’s the added bonus of all those calories burned!
Disc Golf creates positive psychological outcomes promoting participation. Players can experience improvements in self-esteem and mood after exercising outdoors. It has been found that children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors and can enjoy and achieve the gross motor movement skills that Disc Golfing offers.
Inclusive and Accessible
Disc Golf is a sport that is truly accessible by a huge variety of players across all demographics. For example, there are courses that have been designed for blind players, courses can be wheelchair-friendly, and people with a diverse range of needs and abilities are truly able to play. Disc Golf allows players to challenge themselves on an individual basis and is a very sensory and tactile experience, with a series of goals that are realistically achievable with a personal progression route to keep you hooked!
Course layouts are designed to include tee pads that allow families and friends to have a go, have fun and enjoy the experience. One of the aims of Liverpool Disc Golf Community is to make the sport accessible and encourage growth and participation; Liverpool could discover the next stars of the sport!
Entry level Disc Golf is recreational, beginners can immediately play without it being too challenging; bring any old frisbee and you can play! One of the many great things about this sport is that alongside the accessibility for beginners, a well-designed course can also offer professional and competition level tees that will attract players from the Disc Golf community across the UK and Internationally – players are willing to travel to play, and our initial market research, along with consultation with the British Disc Golf Association and UK Womens Disc Golf Association tells us that there is already a following of eager Disc Golfers ready to come to Liverpool to play, which is in addition to introducing the sport to local communities!
This also means that with the right course layout, Liverpool could be hosting the prestigious British or European or even Worlds Disc Golf Tournaments in the future, generating income for the area through tourism and associated benefits.
There are also wider opportunities for community involvement; baskets or holes can be sponsored by local businesses and named according to local traditions or curiosities – further offering a sense of place that’s unique to the location, something that can celebrate Liverpool and it’s multi-cultural history and ambitions.
Unlike many other sports, disc golf can be complimentary to, and utillise, an area’s existing features and landmarks. There is no need to clear/cut trees, grade land or add costly fertiliser; even remediation treatments aren’t necessary.
Disc Golf as an activity often meets the same environmental goals as organisations such as the Forestry Commission, National Trust etc and can work in partnership with agencies to develop environmental sustainability. For example, Manchester Disc Golf have planted over 2000 trees on the course since 2016 in their partnership with the Woodlands Trust and others.
This nurturing of the greenspace and land translates to providing a haven for urban wildlife that thrive in the course environs, such as planting wild flowers to attract bees, butterflies and other insects.
Volunteers will work in partnership with local groups such as “the friends of” or other local community groups, within the guidelines issued by parks and recreation within the Local Authority. Volunteers and community members will undertake maintenance and upkeep of the course area, which will minimise any impact on Local Authority resources.
Positive Use of Space
The sport offers a deterrent to anti-social behaviour as the course attracts positive and dedicated Disc Golf players. Disc Golf communities bring a beneficial element to the area and take on an active role as stewards of the courses. The players tend to make sure the course and area is in good shape and well taken care of including conservation, development and growth.
Disc Golf installations, such as baskets and tee pads are sturdy, vandal-proof and easy to maintain. The provision of a “club-house” could be a shipping container on the course that Community members manage and maintain.
Disc golf is a truly ageless and inclusive sport, where people of all ages and abilities can play alongside each other. Friends and family with different skills, abilities and levels of health can play together. Our plan is for the Liverpool Disc Golf Community course to be free to the public. Discs can be inexpensive; you’ve probably already got one at home! We plan to have a disc hire facility too, in order to make it even cheaper. If you can throw a Frisbee, you can play disc golf!
Although it can happily be played alone, Disc Golf is primarily a group activity. As our membership grows, our community will hold regular meetings, events and leagues, promoting social bonds, community cohesion and shared experiences. Our community will benefit the surrounding areas, local community and the Liverpool City Region as a whole.
Professional Disc Golf
Liverpool Disc Golf Community’s aims are to establish accessible, healthy and fun disc sports activities. That’s not all there is to our aspirations though… We’ve told you a little about how our entry to Disc Golf was through watching the “Professionals “, let’s look at how the sport and therefore the activities of the Liverpool Disc Golf Community, are governed and regulated.
Disc golf and it’s international growth is supported by a network of professional and governing bodies. In the UK we have the British Disc Golf association (BDGA) and the UK Women’s Disc Golf Association, (UKWDGA), as well as the global body of the Professional Disc Golf association (PDGA). We are both full members of the PDGA , BDGA and Jo is a member of the UKWDGA. We are also involved with the BDGA’s “Discover Disc Golf” initiative, which aims to encourage wider participation in the sport through holding events throughout 2022. BDGA have contacted us directly to offer their full support for any taster sessions at events to showcase Disc Golf and we are looking forward to making this happen this year.
We are committed to the development and growth of the sport of disc golf and in doing so we recognise the need to understand, represent and deliver the professional attitude that is required to successfully promote the sport whilst working with partners and the community, in order to offer an environment that is accessible to all providing a range of benefits to individuals, communities, business development and community cohesion.
Over to you…
We would love you to get involved. Can you help us get Liverpool Disc Golf Community established? We have lots more we can tell you and show you about Disc Golf, get in touch!