Disc golf has some characters, we all know and recognize that. One of our favorite things about this sport is meeting all the different types of folks out there on the course. Everyone has their own unique traits and quirks, strengths and weaknesses. Yes, we are going to stereotype and maybe offend, but one of the best overall traits in this community is the sense of humor most of us possess. For fun, I will try and rank these in the order I think they would finish an average tournament.
The Pro - Can be seen showing off their 500 ft throws and generally making us jealous.
These people are good. While their overall appearance, temperament and skill levels will vary, this group is where most of us aspire to be. They get paid to throw a frisbee in the woods, let that sink in. From the local pros who hustle the doubles leagues for a few bucks to Paul McBeth signing a half-million dollar contract, they understand this sport is more than a game and can combine their love of the game to supplement their income, which may not be the most income to supplement since they have so much time to play disc golf. The touring pros live a brutal lifestyle traveling all over the country, mostly by car and not playing for giant purses, but this is just the beginning, and the young local pros will reap the future benefits from all the sacrifices these pros are making now (and have been for decades) to grow the sport. Look out for the best gear and people following them around the course and you will find this group.
The Should-Be - Can be seen drinking beers by the practice basket with all the locals.
These people are good, but don’t necessarily care. Whatever the reason is, be it a good full-time job, other hobbies, or general lack of motivation these are some of the best players around, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it. They will piss the average golfer off with the pure talent and skill they have without seemingly ever trying or working too hard at the sport. An eternal fan of the casual round, they will play their rounds with whomever is around and help you out with your game, a smoke or a beer and not think twice. But you won’t see them at very many tournaments. To them, disc golf is as it was when they first started playing it, a game, and they won’t let the pressure and stress of competition ruin the game they love.
The Wanna-Be - Can be seen posting on Facebook at all of their sweet tournaments while they donate money to the Pros.
You know who you are. You have all the same gear, discs and pretty hats as The Pro, with one main difference. You paid for it. You love disc golf, and are desperately trying to become The Pro. Only problem is, not everyone is meant to be/can be The Pro. Rich and Brian both loved their sports they played through college, they both played and worked hard every day on the sport, but are not millionaires at the top of their game. Weird, right? There is this thing called genetics and athleticism that holds all those wanna-bes back. Rich was a short, slow, white centerfielder and leadoff hitter while Brian was an undersized, and underspeed lacrosser (or whatever they are called). Not everyone has the ability to throw 400 feet or the skill to make long putts. Practice all you want, it’s not going to happen. This is a very important group of golfers still though, because of their passion. With that passion, they think they can hang with The Pros and help to fund them at the same time with their tourney fees trying to play open with the big boys seeing if they belong yet. I am sorry, but you don’t. See you in Am 1!
The Raw Meat - Can be seen launching your disc they’ve never thrown further than you ever did.
The future Pro. They’re young and wet behind the ears, but damn are they talented. That talent the Wanna-Bes don’t have was dropped into the Raw Meat’s lap. They can putt, are long and lanky with killer snap and generally make you think, “That lucky asshole, if only they knew what they have.” If they keep playing a lot, they will undoubtedly end up as the Pro or the Should-Be. So, what is stopping them? Consistency, experience and maybe gear. They simply haven’t played enough to be elite yet. This will soon change, and when they figure out all the different disc options, how to putt and throw in the wind and how to be aggressively conservative around the course, their scores will level out and they will be a force to reckon with. Wolves love Raw Meat.
The Vet - Can be seen running the tournaments and helping out the newbies.
We don’t mean war hero here, though it would make them doubly badass. These old guys can throw 250 and still make the course look easy. If it weren’t for the longer courses and trying to keep up with the distance of the younger arms, they’d be winning everything. Drive for show, and putt for dough. That’s the mantra and these old dudes. This group is who we can thank for this wonderful sport. If you meet someone with only 3-4 numbers in their PDGA number, you know you have a true original. Play a round with them and you will undoubtedly come away from it with a new friend, good stories, a couple new skills to work on and probably a couple of beers. (Though we always encourage giving the old guys beer to help with those aching shoulders, and yes, Brian and Richard are old as fuck.)
The Pinnacle - Can only be seen playing at tournaments and leagues.
Rich in a nutshell. A less serious version of the wanna-be. Lacking in a couple areas to get them to the Wanna-Be level, mostly skill and time to dedicate to the sport. While likely considered Raw Meat in the past, things have slowed or halted in their progress and they are now very much a casual golfer who could be a lot better and more serious with the sport. To them, disc golf is a community and serious hobby, but not life. Jobs, family, women (or men) and other hobbies each take away chunks of time better players would spend at the course, but the Pinnacle doesn’t care. If they take first or 15th at a tournament, they don’t care. The culture, camaraderie and excitement is what they are there for. They get out and play whenever life let’s them, just don’t plan on seeing them taking too many trophies home.
The Try-Hard - Can be seen in the bushes searching for their disc.
That kid that busted their ass at basketball practice more than anyone else and still only got in at the end of the games during blowouts has come back! Some people just don’t have it, and who cares? They’ve been playing for many years and play more than your average golfer, but it never seemed to click with them. Coordination, skill, or something mental is lacking and it never seems to get better for them. These guys are usually some of the most fun to play with though, from the many years of practice encouraging other athletes to be successful.
The Punks - Can be seen breaking bottles, because breaking bottles!!!!!
Seriously, go away. You know people are walking here. I doubt you would slice someone’s foot open with a knife, but you are ok with future, unknowing foot slicage. The only thing you care less about dog and human foot health is sign and basket integrity. Nobody cares about whatever you are writing on the signs, aces included. Anyone caught stealing or destroying a basket deserves what is coming to them. Ok….rant over… on to our favorite discer.
The Hippy - Can be seen walking barefoot through broken glass.
Bearing in mind, this group has the most crossover to the other group as anyone else, there are still very distinct attributes and… ummmm.... smells with this group. Shirts? Optional. Shoes? Only in the snow. We all have a little hippy in us as disc golfers. The nature and the grass and the grass and the sun make the course a prime spot for you hippies out there. Keep on rocking that bluetooth speaker and keep doing what you do.
The Newbie - Can be seen throwing an ultimate disc through the woods.
They call it frisbee golf. They have no bag. They play slow as hell. They don’t know how to throw. They don’t know the etiquette or the rules. They don’t know the course. They are just in the way.
They are the ones we need to keep on playing. They are the future. They have potential. They have friends outside of disc golf. They have good jobs. They have families.
Which side do you see them? Remember, you were a newbie once and some awesome person probably took you under their wing very early on. Pay it forward.
The Future - Can be seen with their awesome parents.
We get so excited to see the future anytime they hit the course. So many times in our careers, we have seen kids on the course with their parents or siblings and toss them their first “real disc.” Try it sometime and you will see a kid light up. With both of us having the YMCA be a big part of our lives, we could do a whole article about the positive effects on kids. (maybe we will)
The main point we would like to really nail home would be to keep things positive and appropriate when kids are around. Smoking, drinking, swearing, etc. around kids is not the way to keep the kids coming back for years to come. So, let’s work together to get this sport on the map with more and more youth around the nation and keep this train rolling forward!