The game of disc golf is awesome. I’ve established the game in my life and I plan on playing it a lot for a long, long time. I’ve also established ball golf In my life and I play it every so often. I’ll definitely continue to play ball golf, but I can’t just pick up my clubs whenever I want to go play a round. I also don’t have the money to go out and hit golf balls all the time. Ball golf just doesn’t really benefit me very much. The game of ball golf is…inconvenient.
Disc golf, to me, is way better than ball golf.
I don’t hate ball golf. I never have and I thoroughly enjoy playing rounds on the beautiful courses that have been built to house individual rounds where you have to use a lot of strategy. If you want to be great at ball golf, just like disc golf, you have to effectively practice and master your equipment. And there are a lot of other similarities between the two sports that make me like both of them. But disc golf, to me, is still much better than ball golf because of many differences that have presented themselves to me early on in my disc golf career. Those differences make me love disc golf. Today, I’m going to highlight those differences.
Here’s why disc golf is better than ball golf
The cost to play is cheaper
I’ve mentioned this quite a few times already in my other blog posts, but one of the main reasons I like disc golf more than ball golf is because of the cost to play the game.
When it comes to ball golf, the cost to play is expensive. With each round costing around $20-30 dollars, to play one round per week for 52 weeks would cost the average ball golfer around $1000-1500 dollars for the year. And those prices are lowballing it. Some courses run $40 dollars per round and up on the low end of the spectrum. Courses played on by the professional golfers can run around $100 dollars or more per 18 holes. That’s just outrageous.
Disc golf, on the other hand, costs next to nothing for a round. In fact, most courses that we play on are in public parks and are free to play on. That’s great for those with a limited cashflow, because disc golf can be played daily for almost no money. I love that because it fits perfectly in my budget. Those courses are kept up by the city or town so that anyone can enjoy them for free. Even courses with a cost are kept to around $5 bucks or less per round for all day play. Now, that’s the way to go.
The cost of Equipment
The inexpensive cost of equipment is another big reason why I like disc golf better than ball golf. Ball golf’s equipment cost could carry you into the hundreds of dollars mark. A Ping Iron set (basically equivalent to the midrange in disc golf) is about $500 dollars. The driver club by itself is around $250 dollars. Putters cost around $50 dollars or more. You can buy used equipment for much cheaper, but most used gear doesn’t play very well.
Disc golf gear is very cheap. When it comes to discs, if you want to play for almost nothing, you can buy sets on InfiniteDiscs.com or Amazon for about $20-50 dollars. You can get an Innova DX starter set here for only $25 bucks. Essentially, it’s just very cheap plastic. If you want quality, it’s best to buy the recommended discs individually. You only need three discs: a driver, a mid-range, and a putter. That will cost you around $15-20 dollars per disc.
You can get a great bag, like the Dynamic Discs Trooper Backpack disc golf bag, for about $40 bucks. That’s as much as I want to spend on a bag. If you get that, you’ll be set. InfiniteDiscs.com and Amazon have them as well as some local sports stores like Play It Again Sports on the east coast. If you don’t want to spend any money on a bag, go cheap and use a bookbag or backsack. Both of those work fine. I used an NFL backsack for almost two years until I finally dished out the $40 bucks for the Trooper bag (and it was well worth it).
For more information on how much it costs to play disc golf, check out our post, “How Much Does it (Actually) Cost to Play Disc Golf.”
The equipment is easy to carry and manage
Ball golf equipment, on top of being extremely expensive, is very heavy. Most bags with a full set of clubs are about 25 to 35 pounds. It’s tough to carry that equipment over the entire length of a ball golf course. Yes, there are golf bag carts where you can pull the cart with the bag on it, but they are still heavy. Also, with 10 plus clubs in your bag, there’s a lot of maintenance to do on dirty clubs. It’s all too much.
With discs and a disc golf bag, it’s very easy to carry and manage. A disc golf bag weighs about two pounds by itself. With a full complete set of 20 discs, some snacks, a water bottle, keys, a phone, and small miscellaneous items, your bag should weigh no more than 12-13 pounds. What’s even better is that these bags can almost always be carried like a bookbag. On top of that, discs are easy to clean.
You can build a course for (kind of) cheap
Quick note: you have to have some land or know someone who does in order to build a disc golf course. You could also convince a local township or city to put in a disc golf course.
With ball golf, there is almost no feasible way to build your own golf course. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, you will probably never be able to build your own ball golf course. Playing on other courses is always an option, but building one is out.
The great thing about disc golf is that building your own course is super cheap. Here is an article on how to build one. But you do have to have some land or permission to build one on someone else’s land. If that’s available to you, then you can start the foundation of your course. It will take at least 5 acres or so to build and some time. After you’ve established that you are able to build a course, you should look at how much it’s going to cost. An easy estimation of costs, at the cheapest, is around $150 to 200 dollars per hole for each basket. Building and designing the course yourself can save you thousands of dollars. Even still, with PDGA estimates topping out at $1,000 dollars per hole, a super nice course shouldn’t cost you more than $20,000 dollars if you really go all out. The cheapest course will probably cost you around $4,000 dollars.
Disc golf courses themselves are more natural.
There are a lot of ball golf courses that are extremely nice. We already talked about how they cost a million dollars or more to create. The bad thing with ball golf courses is that they are unnatural. While they follow the geography, the barriers and obstacles in your path are designed to be that way. The obstacles are created. They are unnatural.
Disc golf courses are created to follow the natural flow of the land. I will say that since most courses are created at public parks, the cities or townships don’t usually have a tremendous amount of money for upkeep. Basically, baskets are put up and they keep the grass cut (where applicable). But I, like most disc golfers, like this better. I like the more natural flow of disc golf courses.
The course atmosphere is much more relaxed
I like playing ball golf, but I’ve never liked the atmosphere at traditional golf courses. It just feels like you have to have a lot of money to fit in at clubhouses and on the golf course. I don’t like that at all. It’s not relaxed. And there’s a strict adherence to dress code. Nah, not for me.
I absolutely love the atmosphere at disc golf courses. Theres no real dress code, it’s more about hanging out and having fun, and you can just play. I usually just throw on a t-shirt and shorts to go play a quick 9 holes. The mood is just better. Yes, there are etiquette rules. Yes, you should follow them. But make sure you and your buddies have a good time. Just be respectful to the course and other players.
[blockquote align=”thow” author=”Brian Graham”]”our rules, terminology, and etiquette are nearly identical to golf, but we play primarily in public parks and it’s much more relaxed. It’s generally free to play and you can play a round of disc golf anytime you want to.” -Brian Graham, former PDGA Director[/blockquote]
Play whenever you want with no tee times
When it comes to actually playing the game, disc golf takes the cake for tee times. With ball golf, in order to play on the course, you normally have to book a tee time or get a tee time when you pay to play. Normally that isn’t a huge issue with the game. But it can cause you to have to wait to play or it can just cause minor inconveniences to your game flow. Not a big deal, really, until you start looking at how awesome it is when playing disc golf.
With disc golf, there are no tee times (at like 99% percent of disc golf courses). I already mentioned that most courses are at public parks, so you can just go out and play whenever you want. Don’t worry about booking a time to play. Just head to the course. You can check local club times because they may be out playing. But want to start on the back 9? Go ahead. Start on hole 6 or 14 if you want to avoid other groups.
Word of caution: Make sure you obey all park rules for times of play because they may close at certain times. Those are the only times you won’t be able to play on your local course.
Quicker pace of play
This is one of my favorite parts of disc golf. Something that deviates substantially from ball golf. The average 18 hole round of ball golf is around 4 hours long, according to Golflink.com. Sometimes I don’t have but an hour or two of free time. Even 9 holes of of ball golf is around that two hour mark, plus it still costs $15-25 dollars to play that. No, thank you.
I can get a whole 18 hole round of disc golf completed in less than two hours. I’d say that’s pretty efficient. The distance on a disc golf course is measured in feet, not yards, so the total distance on a disc golf course is less than a ball golf course. That helps, especially when you don’t have a lot of time to play your round. Sometimes I try to get in a full round on my full-time job’s lunch break. I get about an hour(ish) to go out and eat lunch, but sometimes I’ll drive to the local course and play as many holes as i can get in during that time.
For more information on how long it takes to play a round of disc golf, check out our post, “How Long is a Round of Disc Golf?”
You can easily play at night
While about 99.9% percent of ball golf courses close at night, there are some disc golf courses that stay open at night for night time golf. There are a lot of clubs who also play at night at public parks. Being able to play disc golf at night really makes the sport that much better.
I’ve never tried to play ball golf at night, but it seems like it would be pretty tough. Golfadvisor.com has an article that shows some courses where you can play, but you still have to pay to play. Also, they have to use a lot of lights and you would have to track your glow balls or lighted balls quite a bit more hastily after every swing.
If you would like to get an idea of how to play disc golf at night, check out our post, “How to Play Disc Golf at Night (in 6 Easy Steps).”
You can play in the snow
I have yet to actually do this, but I’ve spoken with many players who have and have loved it. With disc golf, you can play in the winter and in the snow. I very highly doubt that you can do the same with ball golf. I know that there are a lot of colorful golf balls, but the balls are so small and can easily get lost in snow.
Discs, on the other hand, are much larger and are all extremely colorful. Yes, they can be lost in the snow, but there’s less of a chance. If you’d like to play in the snow, check out our post, “How to Play Disc Golf in the Winter.” You can also use our lost disc golf discs guide called, “The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Lost Disc Golf Discs,” to help prevent lost discs or find them if you lose them.
I forgot to mention: almost all ball golf courses are usually closed during inclement weather so you can’t really play anyways. Public parks are usually open during these winter months. Why not go out to play a round of disc golf instead?
Discs are way easier to find than golf balls
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. Discs are large, clunky, and round. Golf balls are tiny and round. In all of my experiences, discs are much easier to find. Also, disc golf discs are way easier to see at a distance. The bright, unnatural colors are usually seen 10-20 feet further away than white golf balls.
If you’ve lost your disc golf disc, check out our lost disc golf discs guide to help you find your disc. I’m sure it’s hanging around there somewhere so keep on looking!
disc golf is physically better for you
When it comes to the physical activity in ball golf, the most movement a player does is usually swinging their club on each shot and maybe a small amount of walking from car to ball and back. There’s not a lot of healthy physical activity on the ball golf course. It’s a very mellow, easygoing sport. Ball golf uses carts to get around for the most part. Some players do walk the course. But because the course is in yards, not feet, and equipment is heavy to carry or pull, the majority of players elect to drive the cart around.
I’m extremely glad that disc golf is different in this physical sense. On the disc golf course, players have to walk the course because of how uneven the terrain is on most courses. A few players pull their bags on disc golf carts, but most carry a disc golf bag to traverse the course.
This physical activity, while seemingly mild, is actually really good for you. The average disc golfer is going to walk around 1.5 miles per round, which is great for your health. Walking is good for you because cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and lungs increasing overall fitness. If you’d like to know more about the benefits of walking on your health, check out this post on Rallyhealth.com about walking and fitness. Otherwise, you can use our awesome workout post, “The 12 Best Disc Golf Exercises to Keep You Fit,” for your fitness goals.
Disc golf is more fun to play
Another thing that differentiates disc golf from ball golf is the amount of fun that I’ve had on the disc golf course. I mean, I’ve played ball golf quite a few times in my life and I’ve liked it almost every time. Ball golf is frustrating and challenging in the same way that disc golf is, but there really isn’t any fun on the ball golf course. Everything is so proper and the mood is often traditionally dull.
With disc golf, I’ve always had a more fun experience on the course. Maybe it’s the fact that disc golf is an essentially free game to play. Maybe it’s the addition of friends (for me at least) on the course. It could be the relaxed atmosphere or the interesting, more natural course landscapes that allow a golfer like me to get good exercise. I’d say that relaxed atmosphere is part of the enjoyment. Because disc golf is less strict, you have less stress than ball golf and can actually have some fun. It seems just more fun overall.
Disc golf is easier to learn
One great thing about disc golf is its easy learning curve. Now, don’t get me wrong here, because playing disc golf and getting good at disc golf is very tough. But learning the game is much easier than ball golf. It’s so easy, I’ve written it out in one paragraph.
Here’s the game of disc golf in one paragraph:
The object of disc golf is to throw your disc from the starting point (teepad) all the way into the basket (the hole) in as few throws as possible. Each hole has a certain number of throws that the hole must be made in (i.e. a par 4 hole must be made in 4 throws). Players use discs, often referred to as drivers, mid-ranges, or putters to make their shots. The person who has the lowest score at the end of each round wins the game. You see? Very easy. Obviously there’s a little more to it, but that’s generally how you play disc golf.
How many clubs? Also, Ball golf, with its many different kinds of clubs, takes a few rounds to really understand. You have at least 10 clubs in each bag that perform different functions. You can get the basic game rules in about a round or two. The rules are about the same as disc golf. But there are many clubs to understand and that takes time. In disc golf, there are only three types of clubs: driver, mid-range, and putter. You can buy many discs, but the three discs are as easy to learn as the game of disc golf itself.
Mentors want to teach
Aside from disc golf being easy to learn, there are also many players who don’t mind mentoring those that are not as good at the game. Better players want to help you get better. In ball golf, that’s not so much the case. There are people who will teach you and help you get better, but those people are usually club professionals that charge by the session. The only reason I learned ball golf is because my grandfather taught me and gave me a set of golf clubs. If he wouldn’t have done that, I probably would’ve never played the game. Disc golf was cheap to pick up and easy to learn. I was fortunate to have a few better players go out of their way to show me the ropes. And I always come across people on the course who are willing to give some advice.
The disc golf community rocks
Ill say it again: The disc golf community rocks. The players, teachers, mentors, and friends that I’ve met over the last couple years or so have made this game absolutely awesome. I don’t know much about the ball golf community, because it’s a very tight-knit, somewhat snobby community. You have to have money in order to be apart of groups revolving around the sport. Even if I had some money, that’s just not me.
Aside from other disc golf players, there is a tremendous amount of resources from the community online. I like to think that DiscgolfNOW.com is already somewhat of a great online resource. But there are a ton of great websites like discgolfcoursereview.com, reddit disc golf forum, dgputtheads.com, and many others. You can also check out this resource page on dgputtheads.com that talks about the best online disc golf stores.
Disc golf is an overall better investment
In the end, I believe that disc golf is just an overall better investment. Ball golf is fun, but you have to constantly keep putting money into the sport if you want to get better. The cheapest way to get better is the driving range and even that can cost around $7-10 dollars for every bucket of balls. With the great sport of disc golf, you buy your discs once and have the ability to continue playing with them for years (as long as you don’t lose them). Yes, you will buy more discs. That’s inevitable, but still cheap. I’ve played disc golf for almost two years now and I’ve spent a total of about $400 dollars or less on the sport (including all my discs, my bag, gas, drinks, and snacks). I’d say that’s pretty decent for the 50+ rounds that I’ve played. 50 rounds of ball golf at $20 dollars per round is around $1,000 dollars. And that doesn’t include anything else. I think I’m sticking to disc golf.
If you’ve made it this far, you can pretty clearly see that I like disc golf a lot. But it’s hard not to like. Disc golf brings all of the challenges of ball golf to us, but with many things like exercise, a more relaxed atmosphere, a better community, a more natural course environment, and an easier learning curve that make it a fun and unique experience. All for little to no cost as well! Again, I don’t hate ball golf, but disc golf really has everything in it to make it one hell of a sport. And I plan on playing this sport for a long, long time.