Disc Golf Stereotypes

One of the most notable aspects about the sport of disc golf is the wide variety of characters the sport attracts. Everyone has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, traits and quirks, and several things that are simply unique to you. This blog is going to dive into the areas that have come to shape some unique stereotypes within the sport. 

Now before I continue, I want to outline that this blog is both a tribute, and homage, to Wolf Pack Discs for their original blog post back on March 3rd, 2016. My first read through the blog brought several deep chuckles thinking about different people I have met over the years, as well as where I identifying in the mix. You can read the original blog here.

The Pro

The Pro: While their overall appearance, temperament, and skill levels will vary, these individuals are the cream-of-the-crop, showing off their crushing drives and remarkable putting skills. These individuals exist in the arena where many of us aspire to be, getting paid to throw discs, travel to new places, and gain the admiration of the rest of us watching from home. 

These individuals understand the sport on a different level, it’s not just a game, but an income stream, marketing landscape, and reputation driven path that can immortalize them in time. Whether it’s the local Pros showing up to hustle the doubles leagues and tournaments, or the heavy hitters like McBeth, Heimburg, Tattar, and Scoggins, we all have to give respect where respect is due. This is especially true for touring pros, living the brutal lifestyle shifting between competition and life on the road – competing over purses that can make or break them financially. 

Additionally, it has to be mentioned that we owe them endlessly for paving the way for next generation to pick up where they left off, continuing to bend the boundaries of what can be done with a disc. So, if your on the hunt to connect with a pro simply look for the individuals with an entourage around them on the course.

The Should-Be

The Should-Be: We’ve all witnessed it, the individuals with a beer in their hands or the spark of a bowl, draining putts from circle’s edge on the practice basket. Just like their Pro counterparts, these individuals are good, but don’t necessarily care about scores, trophies, or reputation. 

Whatever their reason may be, a good full-time job, competing hobbies, or general lack of motivation, these are some of the best players around, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it until you watch them with a disc in their hands. 

They are the eternal fan of the casual round, playing with everyone and anyone that shows up at the course, helping you out with your form or extracurricular activities to “enhance the experience.” They hold true to the ways of old, viewing disc golf as it was in the beginning, a game, devoid of any pressure or stress to let competition ruin the game they love.

The Wanna-Be

The Wanna-Be: You know who you are. Wrapped with all the gear, limited run discs, finished off with a fancy branded hat, you are the spitting image of the Pros… with one exception, you paid for all of it. These individuals are plugged in, on top of their social media game, commenting on all the tournament posts, providing unwarranted, yet critical feedback on layouts and times, they pride themselves on having their finger to the pulse of everything disc golf. 

There is no doubt that they love the sport and have the drive to become a Pro, however, there is one big problem, not everyone is meant to be/can be a Pro. There are these funny little things called genetics and athleticism that get in the way, and much like the reveal of a Scooby-Do mystery, “I would have taken down that tournament if I only would have hit that 550ft drive and 40ft uphill put into the wind.” 

Practice all they want, it’s never going to happen. That being said, the sport owes a tremendous amount to these individuals, their passion is unrivaled; providing a presence at events, bodies at the doubles leagues, and spending their expendable income with local vendors. Yet, with that passion their remains a fatal truth… they think they can hang with the Pros, often religiously donating their tournament entry fees to the church of “Sponsored Players.”

The Raw Meat

The Raw Meat: These individuals are young, wet behind the ears, and oozing with talent. They can be seen throwing your disc they’ve never owned 100ft further that you ever have, they are ‘That Talent” that missed The Wanna-Be. Like witnessing the second coming of JC, a form emerges from the void, instinctively releasing discs with a killer snap and launching textbook hyzerflip shots over 400ft, looking back at the others on the tee-pad, “…is that good?” As a witness you only have a handful of thoughts that come to mind, many not necessary to repeat here. 

Undoubtedly, they are diamonds in the rough, future Pros waiting to be discovered. So what’s stopping them from their rise to glory? Consistency, experience, and probably aligning with the right gear. These individuals simply have not played enough yet, but we all know that will change when they figure out the different discs, refine their putting, and learn how to navigate the wind. When that happens we better hold on to something, because we are about witness the birth of a new household name and a challenge to a podium finish on the Pro Tour.

The Vet

The Vet: The OG’s, pioneers, and trailblazers rocking the 3-4 digit PDGA numbers. This is the group we have to thank for this beautiful sport! These individuals consistently throw 250ft and still make the majority of courses look like they are playing them on easy mode. What they may lack in raw power, they make up with time on the course, thousands of rounds scored, and wisdom that keeps them in the fairways and draining any put near Circle One. 

These individuals are the living embodiment of the old saying, “Drives are for show, and putts are for dough.” They are the life-blood of the sport, typically seen running tournaments, organizing events, and offering their time to The Newbies. Play a round with them and you will undoubtedly come away with a few great stories, some new skills, a new friend, and possibly a couple of beers. 

If you cross paths with these players remember to take a moment to acknowledge their investment and passion that has provided us with the disc golf landscape we enjoy today.

The Pinnacle

The Pinnacle: These individuals are typically only seen playing at tournaments and leagues. Not as serious as The Wanna-Be, yet still serious enough to be picky of their company, these individuals were typically considered The Raw Meat in the past. Things have slowed down, possibly plateaued, transitioning into a casual disc golfer that everyone knows could be a lot better if they would commit to taking things more seriously. 

These individuals hold the sport as a serious hobby, but not life. Time that other players would spend on the course is eroded away by their commitments to their job, family, and other hobbies, but the Pinnacle doesn’t care. They are known for being the embodiment of the sports culture, camaraderie, and bringing the energy seeing people at the events. 

Whether they take 1st, 15th, or 30th at a tournament they don’t care. They get out and play whenever life awards them the time, just don’t plan on seeing them take home too many trophies.

The Try-Hard

The Try-Hard: Often found on the side of the fairway looking for their disc, these individuals have one thing more than anyone else… heart. We all grew up with these kids, busting their ass more than anyone at practice, with the coach only letting them into the game in the final minutes during a blow out. 

Some people don’t have it, and won’t ever have it, but who cares? They put in the same time and the effort over the years like everyone else, but things never seemed to click. Something is lacking… coordination, skill, something misaligned upstairs, or a triple threat of all three – the try is there, but the skill is not. 

That being said, the sport needs these players as they are typically some of the most fun people to play with, encouraging everyone to be their best and rocking an overall unbreakable positive attitude.

The Punk

The Punk: The glass breakers, littering and vandalizing anything they can break or tag with a sharpie. These individuals force the rest of us to stop and simply ask, “why?” We are blessed with their insightful messages writen or etched into metal of “F#ck,” “Capitalism Kills,” and other expressions of their societal discontent. 

Better yet, these individuals are compelled to sign their name on the band of the baskets or leave the rest of us experiencing the remarkable “Disc Charger” on our benches. For those of you not in the know, one takes a sharpie marker on a bench, traces their disc, then writes “disc charger” in the center. I don’t know about y’all, but this personally elevated my game to new heights.

The Hippy

The Hippy: Distinct in their attire and their smell, these individuals have the largest crossover with all of the other groups. Shirts? Optional. Shoes? Only when there is snow on the ground. Undeniably, we all have a little Hippy in us as disc golfers. 

The nature, the grass, the sun, and the other grass provide the necessary ingredients to lure these individuals out to the course. Rocking a Bluetooth speaker thumping a blend of EDM, Greatful Dead, and Psychedelic Rock, The Hippy brings a unique and intoxicating presence to the sport. Keep doing you, bringing that Peace, Love, and Light to the game!

The Rocker

The Rocker: It’s hard to miss this group out on the course. Dressed in black… and more black, adorned with piercings and tattoos, this group has a look and vibe that is undeniably their own. Interestingly, these individuals are arguably the second largest crossover group, due primarily to the variety of presentations that they take. 

You have the “DGAF” mohawk, plugs, black finger nails, and tattoo sleeved variety, the “I have a corporate job, but rage at concerts variety,” usually sporting a black shirt, goatee, and some type of silver chain, and finally the “Ninja Headbanger” who wears no discernibly different clothing that anyone else, yet shreds on guitar and knows the lyrics to every Meshuggah and Lamb of God song. You know who you are.

The Sprinter

The Sprinter: There is an enigma wrapped in a riddle we call “The Sprinter.” Coming up behind your card seemingly out of nowhere, these individuals typically have 1-2 discs in their hand approaching every shot as though they are being hunted by charging Grizzly Bear. 

As soon as they appear, they disappear. Like a Bigfoot sighting, you and your other card mates are left scratching your head wondering if you what you just witnessed was the truth, or a bout of collective amnesia. These individuals are a rare breed, with many of us never experiencing them on the course, while some of us having the privilege of being lapped for a second time on the same round.

The Newbie

The Newbie: Adorned with a combination of high speed drivers, no bag/not appropriate bag, and general lack of awareness for everyone else on the course. They can’t throw, because they don’t know how. They are lost, because they didn’t care to look at the course map. They don’t know the etiquette or rules, because they believe you can simply make them up. 

These players have a tendency to raise the blood pressure of others on the course to dangerous levels. We were all Newbies once, coming out to the course simply for the fresh air and looking for something to do, and with that in mind it’s important we don’t forget where we came from. 

So, the next time you are about to blow a gasket waiting 15 minutes on the tee-pad after 3 attempts begging them to play through, just remember we can either preach or teach, with the later usually bringing the most positive change.

The Future

The Future: We see The Future out on the course with their awesome parents. It’s hard not to get excited when you see young kids out on the course learning the basics with a Frisbee, providing the rest of us with that magical opportunity to hand them their first “real disc.” 

This is the group where we leave a lasting impression, so remember to keep it clean and safe. Swearing, drinking, smoking, etc. is your call, but do remember it’s the parents that are the gatekeepers to the sport’s next generation of plastic addicts – foster those moments as much as you can so we can keep the sport alive and well for generations to come!

Regardless of where you land in this collection of stereotypes, it’s important to remember we all matter. This sport is beautiful because it brings people from every walk of life together, forming a community like no other. In celebrating our differences we present a path forward not just for the next generation of disc golfers, but to the world as well. Everyone is welcome to share in the fun, community, and spending 45 minutes wandering around the woods for your disc you grip locked off the tee-pad. 

Cheers!

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