Hancock’s Rob Codman has been playing disc golf since the 1990s when he lived in Minneapolis.
“It’s big out there,” he said.
Codman was able to find a passionate disc golf community in New Hampshire, and he has grown in popularity over the past two years. Like many outdoor activities and hobbies, disc golf has allowed people to socialize while keeping a safe distance during the pandemic.
According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, it’s hard to know exactly who started playing disc golf first. But Ed Headrick, who founded the association in 1976, filed two important patents, the disc golf frisbee and pole hole, which shaped the look of the sport today.
Since the founding of the PDGAs, the number of events and members has steadily increased, but since 2015 the growth has been particularly rapid.
Codman plays for the Otter Brook league in Keene and said the local league has grown a lot over the past few years. The league’s home course has 18 hoops and is located on Army Corps of Engineers Field adjacent to Otter Brook Beach.
Codman owns a painting business and has young children. He’s busy, but when he has time he tries to play with the league and sometimes does independent tournaments. He said it was a big community.
“Everyone knows each other,” he said.
And now his kids are getting into it too.
Codman said there are no fees to play at most courses and the equipment is much cheaper than traditional golf equipment. He said it makes the sport really accessible and good for beginners. It’s easy to just pick it up and try it out.
But, he warned, “once you start, you can’t stop.”
“Disc golf basically works by the same rules as ball golf,” Codman explained, but instead of carrying a bag of clubs, a disc golfer will have different discs that fly differently. He said the player was starting to stand on a tee. Players throw the discs from there and, like in golf, the goal is to get the disc into the basket in as few throws as possible.
“Within an hour there are a lot of good choices,” Codman said. “New courses pop up all the time.”
There is one class at Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle/High School. Codman noted a course at Hampshire College, as well as some around Manchester and in northern Massachusetts. He said people can find them using Google Maps, and there are plenty of them.
He said the oldest course on the East Coast is at Rindge, but it is on private property.
But disc golf can exist anywhere.
“All you need is to have a basket in your backyard,” Codman said.
Codman added that disc golf can be a good workout. There are hilly courses, there are rough and difficult courses, but “it’s a nice walk through the woods no matter what,” he said.