Need a new hobby? Here’s your ultimate guide to disc golf in Birmingham.

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A great sport to make friends. Photo by Kevin Bradford via Disc Golf Birmingham’s Facebook group

Ready. Aim. Throw. Disc golf is on the fast track to becoming one of Birmingham’s most popular recreational activities. From where to go to how to throw, we learned from the pros how to getcha head in the game.

What is disc golf?

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Look at that form. Photo via Jennifer Jones

Disc golf is a flying disc sport where players throw a disc at a target or “hole.” The rules of the game are similar to golf, but instead of using a ball and clubs, players use a flying disc.

Generally, disc golf courses are made up of 9 or 18 holes. Players start at hole one and complete the course in order, playing through to the last hole.

The object of the game is to complete each hole in the fewest number of throws.

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Local players at George Ward Park. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Helping to promote the game of disc golf and encourage others to participate is local club Disc Golf Birmingham. The group is made up of local disc golf players who love the sport and want to see it thrive throughout the greater Birmingham area. Here are just some of the things the DGB does:

  • Maintains local courses’ baskets and grounds
  • Hosts local tournaments
  • Creates and hosts leagues and social gatherings for current and potential players

What equipment is needed to play?

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All you need are some discs. Photo by Chris Pierce via Disc Golf Birmingham’s Facebook group

Participating in sports can often require a lot of equipment. But not disc golf. All you need are a few discs and a course to play on. Here are three types of disc every disc golfer should have:

  1. Driver: Good for speed and distance. Use it for your first throw.
  2. Midrange: Aren’t as fast as drivers, but can stay in the air for a good length of time. Use for your 2nd, 3rd or 4th throw.
  3. Putter: Slower, heavier discs. Perfect for final throws in into the basket.

Reasons to Play

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Photo via Disc Golf Birmingham’s Facebook page

You’ll be part of a community.

After speaking with several DGB members and local disc golf players, one thing definitely stood out to me—it’s an extremely friendly and welcoming community.

Each person I spoke with was more than willing to answer my questions and give me names of other local players and DGB members that I should “definitely speak with.”

Since researching disc golf for this article, I’ve spent a good bit of time in the DGB Facebook group. It’s a very active page where you can learn a lot, ask questions and even get to know people. I highly suggest checking it out.

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Concentrate and aim. Photo via Gary Staley.

It’s great for social distancing.

Because disc golf courses can be found at several parks around Birmingham and doesn’t require close contact, it’s the perfect sport to play when social distancing. In your face COVID! You can’t stop all our fun.

Here are what locals love about disc golf:

“Disc golf is great exercise, and promotes  healthy competition. I enjoy being outside in nature as well as camaraderie with others who play.”

Chelsea Brewton, Communications Officer, Disc Golf Birmingham

“Not only is disc golf a fun and addictive sport, it’s a great form of exercise. Plus, you can forge many new friendships and there are great opportunities to give back to the community.”

Jeff Wetjen, local disc golf player

“I’ve been playing disc golf for about seven years. The game itself is a great way to challenge yourself, but the camaraderie and social aspect of disc golf is what keeps me around and participating. It’s a great community in Birmingham.”

Sam Barnett, Volunteer + Member, Disc Golf Birmingham

Join a disc golf league

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Disc Golf George Ward Park. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

“Disc golf leagues are a great way to get involved, meet players of all skill levels and hone your competitive game.”

Sam Barnett, Member and Volunteer, Disc Golf Birmingham

During the summer, Disc Golf Birmingham holds three leagues per week. Here’s a look at each:

Trussville League

When: Mondays with tee off at 5:30. Arrive before 5:15 to sign up.
Where: League rotates every few weeks between the John Lemaster and Greg Carter courses.
One Time Cost: Bag tags – $20

Inverness League

When: Tuesdays at 5:30 starting on June 16
Where: Inverness Disc Golf Park (AKA InDiGo)
One Time Cost: Bag tags – $20
Side Action: $5 for cash payout, $1 for rolling ace pool, and $1 to rolling birdie pool

George Ward League

When: Wednesdays with tee off at 5:30. Arrive before 5:15.
Where: George Ward Park
One Time Cost: Bag tags – $20

More info on leagues.

During winter and spring, DGB hosts putting leagues at Cahaba Brewing and WorkPlay, so be sure to check it out in the upcoming months.

Check out our video from the league at George Ward Park.

Check out Sunday Funday

I think she won. Photo via Jennifer Jones

You can also take part in Sunday Funday at George Ward Park. Created over a year ago by Jennifer Jones and Carl McGirt, Sunday Funday is a social gathering for disc golfers who want to get together, hang out and play a game.

The coolest thing about the Sunday Funday group? Participants range from beginner to world champs and players have no idea who their partner will be when they attend.

“The newbies have a chance to play with pros and everyone is so willing to give tips that the level of play has improved for everyone.”

Jennifer Jones, Creator, Sunday Funday

When: Sundays at 1PM for lunch and 2:15PM for random draw doubles
Where: George Ward Park
Cost: $5 to play random draw doubles. Optional $3 ace pot and $2 mulligan

Disc Golf Tournaments

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Decorative discs. Photo via Disc Golf Birmingham’s Facebook page

For more competitive disc golf players, there are several tournaments that take place around Birmingham. The most recent was the Magic City Mega Bowl which happened in June.

The Magic City Mega Bowl is an annual tournament played over three days on three courses, and all skill levels can participate. This year, the event hosted players from more than 10 states.

Here are some upcoming disc golf tournaments to keep on your radar:

  • August 2020: Grip N Rip Trilogy Challenge
  • September 2020: Alabama Women’s Disc Golf Championships 
  • November 2020: Giant Purple People Save – Am Only
  • December 2020: Disc Golf Birmingham Christmas Classic Tournament

Stay Tuned Kids

Before the pandemic, Disc Golf Birmingham was getting ready to kick off their first-ever youth league for kids ages 5 to 17 years old.

For everyone’s safety, the new league was put on hold, but the club is hopeful that it will be able to start it up in the fall or next year. 

Tips for Beginners

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Discs are thrown into metal baskets. LeMaster Memorial Disc Golf Course in Trussville. Photo via Patience Itson for Bham Now

If you’re a novice looking to learn the game of disc golf or a pro hoping to enhance your skills, Chris Pierce, current DGB Vice President and disc golf player for 23 years, has some words of wisdom:

“Make a putter your first disc and watch a lot of how-to’s on YouTube. When you are at the course, don’t be afraid to ask some other players for tips. People are usually more than willing to help out. Most of all, don’t get discouraged and have fun!”

Where to Play Disc Golf

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Hole 6 at LeMaster Memorial Disc Golf Course in Trussville. Photo via Patience Itson for Bham Now

Are you ready to try your hand at disc golf? There are several courses around the greater Birmingham area. Let your disc fly at these locations:

  • Clay Disc Golf Course: 7245 Old Springville Rd, Pinson, AL 35126
  • George Ward Park Disc Golf Course: 1901 Greensprings Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35209
  • Greg Carter Memorial Disc Golf Course (“Carter”): 4623 Riverbend Rd, Trussville, AL 351273
  • Heritage Disc Golf Course: Cullman, AL 35055
  • Inverness Disc Golf Park: Inverness Pkwy, Hoover, AL 352423
  • John LeMaster Memorial Disc Golf Course, Civitan Park: Trussville, AL 3173
  • Magnolia Links Disc Golf Course: 2101 Fieldstown Rd., Mt. Olive, AL 35117
  • Oliver Park: 9758 AL-25, Calera, AL 35040
  • Pinson Bicentennial Park: 4200 Oak St, Pinson, AL 35126
  • University of Montevallo Disc Golf Course: 100 College Dr, Montevallo, Al 35115
  • Veterans Park Disc Golf Course: 7305 Hwy 119, Alabaster, AL 35007

Do you play disc golf in or around Birmingham? Let us know your favorite course on social @bhamnow.