By Carla Minsky
Disc golf in Wisconsin is growing at a clip faster than a flung driver. How fast? Brad Wendt, tour director for the Wisconsin Disc Sports Association, did the math, noting there are 280 public disc golf courses in the state with that number growing by half a dozen each year. Compare that to 1992, when there were less than 10 courses in the state. Those stats, coupled with the number of players and events offered, put Wisconsin squarely in the top five in the nation.
So what is it that makes this sport so appealing? It doesn’t hurt that most courses are free and open to the public, and that you can play year-round – Milwaukee County and Madison have courses dedicated exclusively to winter play.
While more serious players may carry as many as 20 discs in their backpack, Wendt suggests starting with a putter, which he likened to a catching Frisbee, a midrange and a driver. Tennis shoes will do for manicured parks. For more rugged courses you’ll want hiking boots. Scoring is like ball golf, although disc golf does have its own rule book.
The Wisconsin Disc Golf Tour is now in its 25th year of coordinating tournaments – the season stretches March to October – with each tournament in a different area of the state, from Kenosha to Superior and everywhere in between. Some of those competitions attract upwards of 400 participants, with players earning points to qualify for the finale in October in Reedsville.
But even if you’re not destined for the competitive circuit, you can still enjoy a round of disc golf. Wendt estimates there may be as many as four million rounds played every year in Wisconsin, the majority by amateurs.
Four to Play:
• 18-hole Rollin Ridge in Brillion
• 18-hole course at Highbridge Hills in Washburn
• Two 18-hole courses at Justin Trails in Sparta
• 27-hole Sandy Point Resort Disc Golf Ranch in Lac du Flambeau, home of the Wisconsin Disc Golf Hall of Fame