Εν τω μεταξύ οι μνηστήρες πετούσαν δίσκους με τη σήμανση της ισοπέδωσε έδαφος μπροστά από το σπίτι του Οδυσσέα, και συμπεριφέρονταν με όλα τα παλιά αυθάδεια τους.
Meanwhile the suitors were throwing discs at a mark on the leveled ground in front of Ulysses’ house, and were behaving with all their old insolence.
The Odyssey, 8th century B.C.E.
I believe I have the above quote correct though I do not read ancient Greek, so any true scholar is invited to weigh in. I will, however, claim to have found the first literary reference to disc golf. I came across this line while reading a translation of The Odyssey recently at breakfast and nearly spilled my steaming mug of Italian Roast. I knew instantly that the suitors were discers, which explains so much about their attitude, if not their fate. This is not as far fetched as it sounds. I realize there was no plastic in Homer's day but these guys are quite clearly throwing discs at a target in the park, and acting insolent—proof that discing is ancient and its adherents fundamentally unchanged over millennia.
I have come to love playing disc golf. It's great exercise, especially here in the Rockies where hiking four or five miles at elevation is a fine workout. I try to play at least a couple times a week. I tend to forget my to-do list at such times. That freedom from responsibility is usually hard for me to manage, but it is also absolutely necessary to the enjoyment of the round, so I am grateful when I slough off my concerns for a few hours.
As for the company, I choose my partners wisely. I have no time for people who take it too seriously, having forgotten that it's a game and that precisely nothing is at stake except your pleasure. There's room for healthy competition among friends, but no room for irritation. I look for companions who understand they are responsible, primarily, for feeding the enjoyment of their partners. It's not worth playing a round with anyone who thinks otherwise, and I decline to play with chumps. I want laughter, camaraderie, and good times only. I live for the myriad pleasures of playing with friends, something that can easily grow rare and even disappear from our lives as we grow older.
I've now officially played in every month of the year here in Colorado. Summer mornings and evenings are remarkable, and prime season if you avoid midday rounds in blistering, dehydrating heat. Autumn offers some of the finest weather—warm days, light winds or none, great colors in the landscape and aromas in the air. Winter discing typically requires you to make a deal with wind, snow, mud, and chill, except for those balmy days on the Front Range when temps crest in the 60s. But it is entirely possible to have a fine round when the temperature is hovering near zero, as long as the snow isn't deep and you can keep the fingers on your throwing hand warm enough to get a good grip. I've even played in a rainstorm in Pennsylvania at winter solstice, soaked to the skin, and managed to enjoy every minute of it.
Perhaps the biggest payoff of taking up the sport has been the places it's taken me. I've thrown from a giant stump down a 400' alley of redwoods. I've bent an anhyzer around a giant balanced stone in the Utah desert. But the pictures tell it better.
Did Homer give the suitors disc golf because they were insolent or vice versa? Scholars say we'll never know whether the old poet actually existed or is a composite of many reciters who collectively composed The Odyssey. We'll certainly never know if he ever tossed a disc, sunk an ace. And will we ever see a disc golf course on Mars? I tend to think not, and anyway, I'm unlikely to make the trip. But our home planet has all the variety we need and wherever your earthly travels take you, carry a small selection of discs—driver, midrange, putter— and seek out the local courses. You'll be rewarded with uniquely local experiences and sights most tourists miss.
On a recent excursion to the west coast, I played 14 different courses in 15 days, and while some were merely average, the best were stunning. This particular hole seen above was at Pier Park in Portland, Oregon—among my favorite courses played on the trip. The round was so much fun, and then afterwards, of course, it was Voodoo Donut time.
The sport approximates hunting but that comparison overlooks the grace of a perfectly thrown helix shot, the soaring and gradual turning first to the right, then back to the left, to land fairway middle 350' away. Each time you throw a disc, you're the pilot who must calculate and combine the factors of distance, elevation, wind, and obstacles so you can choose the right disc for the landing you seek. Each throw is a gamble, and sometimes you get it right. Even when you don't, it never matters that much. The point is, and only ever will be, to get outside have a good time.