Ever since the first time I played disc golf, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the game for many reasons. And one of the main reasons is how inexpensive the game is – albeit equipment or course play. Another reason I’ve enjoyed the game is because of the disc golf courses themselves.
Disc golf courses are usually fairly nice, running through open fields and woods, and allow the disc golfer to navigate through hilly terrain to work on improving their game one shot at a time. But disc golf courses have another amazing perk: they might not cost you anything…
So are disc golf courses free?
Yes. Almost all disc golf courses are free. Roughly 90% percent of disc golf courses are run by towns or cities and are completely free, public parks. Roughly 10% percent of disc golf courses are Pay2play and require you to pay fees to play.
The fact that a lot of courses are free is part of why I play disc golf. When I first started, I was actually given a couple of discs to play with. So I started out by paying $0 dollars to play, because the course was free, too!
I liked the game so far and I soon after found out another amazing fact about disc golf: most courses are public parks and don’t require any fees or any money to play. Whoa! I needed a cheap hobby, and after I bought a couple more discs and a bag, I was set to play for free for almost as long as I wanted to (minus the cost of snacks and some gas).
Why are disc golf courses courses free?
You still might be wondering…but why are these courses free? Well, a lot of local towns, cities, and municipalities have bought into the idea that disc golf is a fun, exercise-oriented activity that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. Add in the fact that putting in a disc golf course is both fairly easy and inexpensive and you can start to see why courses are free.
These days, almost every local town, city, and municipality has contributed. Parks everywhere are being retrofitted with disc golf baskets and turned into “courses” (i.e. parks with enough baskets to call it a course). And some places, like my local course Johnson Street Disc Golf Course in High Point, N.C., have been designed and built as an actual public disc golf course by the city of High Point.
There are a lot of places that are turning to disc golf as a great way to spend time with friends, family, and on your own. But where can you find these free courses?
Where to find courses
Before you go out, you need to find a good local course to go throw. Hopefully, you’re one of the lucky few and have a professional disc golf course near you. If you’re near one of these courses, please take advantage of it even if you have to pay a few dollars. It’s so worth it. For those who aren’t near a professional course, it’s time to hit up Google. The majority of golfers at least have a park course or free course near them.
If you live in a big city, there will probably be three or four courses or more. If you’re out in the country, you may have one or two at a park near you. Again, there are a ton of disc golf courses around the majority of places where people live. To date, there are about eight thousand courses in the United States and this number is continually growing every year.
The easiest way to find a local course is by Googling, “disc golf courses near me.” Google is so advanced now that it can pinpoint every course around you with awesome accuracy. In my surrounding area there are about five or six good courses. For you it may be more or less.
Some other sites to check out:
• PDGA.com’s disc golf course directory
• Discgolfunited.com’s course directory
Also, don’t be afraid to ask friends if they know any good local spots. They may be willing to give up a secret course in the area!
Pay2play courses are those courses where you have to pay for your access to that certain course. Courses with fees can be good and they can be bad. Let me tell you why.
The Good 👍
• Usually nicer, well-maintained courses
• Generally less disc golf foot traffic than publicly accessible courses
• Fees are normally minimal, like $3 to $8 dollars, and most fees cover the whole day of play (not just 18 holes like almost all ball golf courses)
The Bad 👎
• Fees, yeah you’ve gotta pay…when like roughly 90% or more of all other disc golf courses are free.
• Some paid courses may be located on ball golf courses, which means you may have to share the course with those old guys with clubs.
Everything you need to play disc golf once you get to the course
As a new disc golfer, you’re going to need some discs for those awesome courses around you. You don’t need a ton of discs to start, so let me set you up with 3 really great beginner discs: a control driver, a mid-range, and a putter. We’re going to skip over distance drivers because they’re too hard to throw for new players.
1. Innova Leopard control driver
A really easy to throw disc, even for beginners. This disc is probably the best control driver on the market to start out with and to grow into. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
2. Discraft Buzzz mid-range
This disc is probably one of the most balanced, beginner-ready discs on the market today. It doesn’t require a lot of speed on the throw and it glides forever. Grab one of these on InfiniteDiscs.com.
3. Dynamic Discs Judge Putt and Approach
The Judge is a fantastic disc for new players. It’s definitely my most trusted, go-to putter. This is a great disc to play solo disc rounds with. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
You need a good bag to carry all of those newly acquired discs. Something sturdy, of quality, and inexpensive. I believe that something is the Dynamic Discs Trooper disc golf bag. Here’s why:
• Storage: It holds 18 discs…which is perfect for new players to grow into. It also has other packets for all of the miscellaneous items you need from the next section.
• Comfort: you wear this like a regular backpack and it’s super comfortable.
• Quality: I’ve had mine for a couple of years and it hasn’t ripped, torn, or worn hardly at all.
• Price: it’s only $40 bucks!
Grab yourself a Dynamic Discs Trooper disc golf bag here on Amazon.
There are a few really good items that you should take with you to the course. A couple of those items are:
• Disc golf golden retriever – for getting discs out of water. Grab one here off of Amazon.com.
• Disc golf gloves (your preference) – grab a pair here off of Amazon.com.
• Water and snacks – you need to keep up your hydration and energy levels on the course.
• Sunscreen – I like either Banana Boat or Coppertone sport (link to Amazon).
• Sharpie – for marking discs that you find (without names) and for signing your disc after aces. Grab a pack here on Amazon.
• Hockey puck – for knocking discs out of trees. Grab this one here off of Amazon.
5 quick tips for new disc golfers
1. Disc. The. F*ck. Down.
From the very first time you throw a disc golf disc, you’re probably throwing something for more advanced players. Most beginners don’t realize that so they’re just throwing whatever they think is acceptable. Most new players need to throw something understable with a very low amount of speed. And sometimes that means discing down, or throwing discs like a mid-range, putt-and-approach, or a putter. Basically, going down in disc to a slower disc.
2. Learn about flight ratings
Flight ratings are really tough at first. Flight ratings are those 4 numbers on the front of most discs (they look like 13/5/-1/2). I remember that it took me quite a while to learn them all completely without having to look one of them up. But once I got it down, my ability to pick out discs got a heck of a lot better. Then my ability to understand stability got better. And so on and so forth. So you can see that it’s important to learn them. For more info, check out our flight ratings guide, “What Do the Numbers on a Disc Golf Disc Mean?”
3. Throw discs that feel good to you
This is one tip that most people literally just feel their way into. Over time, you’ll start to notice which discs feel good to you and which don’t. You’ll figure out which types of plastics you love and which ones you hate. And it’s all subjective. You and your closest buddy may have completely different feelings on discs. But that’s okay. Just find discs that feel good to you and throw them. If you don’t like a disc, don’t throw it.
4. Watch professionals play on YouTube or in person
I love watching pro players in tournaments on YouTube. It’s amazing what some pro players are able to accomplish on the disc golf course. YouTube features pretty much all pro disc golf tournaments, including those filmed by JomezPro, Central Coast Disc Golf, and SpinTV. Check them all out through each respected link.
5. Set goals for yourself
I believe setting goals is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. From the moment you step foot off the disc golf course for the first time, you should be thinking about what kind of goals you want for yourself in this sport. You want clear, written, specific goals. For more on this, check out our post, “11 Powerful Reasons Why Goals Are Important in Disc Golf.”
Extra – our 101 disc golf tips list
Before you go, check out our absolutely epic tips post called, “101 Disc Golf Tips to Take Your Game to the Next Level.” This post has information on everything from the different types of disc golf discs to drills to disc stability and much more. Definitely worth a few minutes. There are also tons of links to different reference posts that I’ve written over the last couple of years.
I love disc golf, because after you buy a few discs and a bag, the game is almost completely free to play. And free courses are in almost every city now. You may be surprised at what you find when you simply Google “disc golf courses near me.” I know I was when I found one of the top rated courses in NC just 20 minutes away from me. So check out whatever near you and go enjoy disc golf like I have.
If you’ve gotten this far, you must really want to learn more about disc golf! Got more questions? Check out our FAQ page here. We’ve got tons of answers for you.
If you’re interested in more of what we have to say about the sport, check out some of our best posts below.
Disc Golf 101: A Step By Step Beginner’s Guide
How Many Discs Do You Need to Play Disc Golf?
How Much Does it (Actually) Cost to Play Disc Golf?
How Long is a Round of Disc Golf?
All of these posts are our absolute best resources for new players looking for the information that will help them succeed in disc golf.
You can also check out our other awesome related content.
9 Weird Tricks to Improve Your Disc Golf Game (Forever)
101 Disc Golf Tips to Take Your Game to the Next Level
The 50 Best Disc Golf Drills to Change Your Game Forever
We’ve got a great beginner guide called, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual,” that you can check out on the sidebar or at the bottom of the page. We crunched together a ton of great information for the beginner to learn and go love the game of disc golf. Grab a copy today!