Twenty years ago Brian Graham would walk in to park district offices and explain to them what disc golf was. Those days are long gone, with disc golf courses popping up all over the world and with an estimated 8-12 million people having played the sport at least once.
“Disc golf is definitely on the rise,” said Graham, who is now the executive director of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). “More and more communities around the country are installing courses and more and more people are playing the sport and sanctioning events.”
The PDGA was formed in 1976 by a group of avid disc golfers with a desire to grow the game. Most park districts didn’t have the funding to build a disc golf course when appealed to by the association, but often they would allow local disc golf clubs the opportunity to build their own courses in parks that were marked by vandalism or suspicious activities. When these courses were established, the increased foot traffic of disc golf players helped to alleviate the parks’ pervious issues.
“It took a while, but the park directors took notice and said ‘Hey, we really like what you did with that park. We have another park over here where you could put a course in,’” Graham said. “As more and more courses were installed, more and more people started playing. That was just kind of the natural growth and evolution of the sport.”