, 2014-05-15 02:00:00,
It has the sound of pure silver – a disc golfer’s driver finding chains, holing out. Or it could be a putter. The farther it flies, the louder the sound.
It’s a familiar clang down at High Bridge, Downriver Disc Golf Course, Sekani. There, under sunshine, the shimmering rustle of chains, followed by a report of cheers, echoes perpetually among the pines and stone ridges.
Disc golf. The rules can be inferred from its name, as it shares many similarities with the traditional game of golf. One major difference exists: It is the fastest-growing sport in the nation.
According to a survey put out by Infinite Discs in January, nearly 50 percent of the 1,421 disc golfers polled nationwide have been playing for two years or less (check out their research at infinitediscs.com/blog /the-state-of-disc-golf-growth/). The number of courses in the U.S. has doubled in the past eight years. Anyone who has tried the sport in Spokane can speak to the exponential attendance at local courses. Those who haven’t, who might view the sport as simply a mash-up of rules employing a cheap toy from childhood, may want to reconsider.
In 1964, California-based toy company Wham-O patented a 119-gram plastic flying disc and named it, “Frisbee.” Under the disc cover, below the copyright, read the phrase: “Play catch. Invent games. To fly, flip away backhand. Flat flip flies straight. Tilted flip curves. Experiment!”
Disc golf was inevitable.
Gordy Crafts, current treasurer of the Spokane Disc Golf Association and owner of Gordy’s Sichuan Café, started playing target or “object” golf with his high school friends in Santa Cruz, California, in 1971. They followed Wham-O’s maxim and invented new games, throwing discs at wooden posts with high and low marks that defined the target area.
But they weren’t the only ones with ideas.
“By 1978 some friends of friends were announcing a Frisbee golf tournament up in the hills above Corolitas,” Gordy said. “A little town east of Watsonville, California. … The first thing we realized was that the other players were throwing these smaller and far denser discs than we were and were already at the next dimension in disc golf in terms of technology.”
In 1983, Dave Dunipace sought to meet the developing equipment needs of players. He founded Innova Discs and created “the Eagle,” what Innova calls the world’s first disc designed specifically for the sport of disc golf. The Eagle still…
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