Disc golf—also known as Frisbee Golf, Frolf, and Hippy-Golf—is perhaps the largest contemporary leisure activity you’ve never heard of. The game emerged from the convergence of the 1960’s countercultural movement with the mass market appeal of a technological innovation from Wham-O ©: the Frisbee ©. Skateboarding and beach volleyball are just two of many other examples of what sport and society scholars describe as lifestyle sports—which appropriate patches of the public realm in order to participate/perform within a subculture as an individual.
These new forms of recreation raise many questions. Postmodern recreation? Adaptation of old forms? When does grassroots become mainstream, and how can commercialization lead to a decline in appeal? Snowboarding caught the limelight, “lost its edge” and continues to slide, while disc golf course installations on underutilized landscapes continue to spiral forward at an exponential rate, worldwide. It is important to examine the resilience of such lifestyle sports so that we may provide the sort of health-enhancing outdoor activities which our swelling urban populations sorely need.
Disc golf is squarely based on the same concept as the ancient game of ball-golf, which was devised by Scottish soldiers in their leisure time. Linkslands were an ideal forgotten landscape for playful invention, consisting of undulating swaths of tolerant grasses—a transition between tended fields and coastal sand dunes. Add stick, ball, and hole? Voilà! Golf.