Hucking Some Disc

My introduction to disc golf.

On a recent bright and brisk summer afternoon, I joined my friends for a trip up Bridger Canyon to the disc-golf course at Battle Ridge. My buddies have been folfing for a while and always encourage me to try it, but I'd been reluctant to join – I pictured them rolling their eyes at my inept tosses and snickering as I lost a disc in the trees. Despite this trepidation, I piled into the car and headed for the course.


From the trailhead we hiked to an overlook of a narrow canyon as peaks, dotted with snow, jutted into the sky. "That's the hole down there," Drew said. "See the PVC pipe hanging off that tree?" I squinted to find the target as Austin and Jeff started to stretch. After several holes, we took a break on a fallen tree as cigarette smoke curled around our heads. I was barely keeping up with the others, but improved with each hole, and even managed a par.

At the next hole, I changed my throw from backhand to forehand. "Here, try the driver," Drew said. "It'll go farther than that fairway disc." The driver was heavier and had sharper edges, unlike the one I'd been using, which was light and curved on the sides. Stepping up to the box, I aimed at the PVC pipe, took two quick steps, and grunted as I heaved the disc down course. The saucer undulated into the sky and curved left. Thinking I'd messed up, I sighed in exasperation. Just then the disc curved to the right, and  landed in the middle of the fairway with a dull thud. "Nice S-curve!" Drew shouted. "Thanks," I stammered. Must've been beginner's luck. Near the end of the hole Austin took out his putter; it was smaller with rounded edges. He tossed the disc at the PVC pipe, knocking it ever so gently for a par. For the rest of the course, I took note of which disc I was using and alternated between the two throwing styles, learning more with each toss.

After hiking up and down the steep mountainside for nearly three hours, I felt like I had scaled Sacajawea Peak. "That was fun," I said, as car doors opened and butts found seats. "Yeah, this is the best time for this course; it gets overgrown later in the season." 

As we pulled back into town, I thought about practicing at the other courses around Bozeman. Rose Park is a free beginner-friendly course, making it a great place to refine my skills before attempting the challenging terrain at Big Sky or Bohart. Then again, the back yard might be all I need – hucking putters at shrieking magpies sounds pretty good, too.