Disc Golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Estonia. It is a lifetime activity that can be enjoyed by players of all ages. There are many advantages of disc golf and those that embrace it spend more time outdoors and less time on screens.
I occasionally get requests from PE teachers interested in adding disc golf to their curriculum. In our article today, we will discuss whether or not disc golf is a good activity for Physical Education classes in school. We will discuss requirements and safety issues associated with disc golf in a school setting. I will also give advice providing recommendations of the best disc golf equipment to consider when implementing in a school program.
There are non profit groups like UPlay disc golf and Edge with a focus specifically on disc golf education. If you are serious about implementing disc golf into your school, consider reaching out to Universal Play Disc Golf (UPLAY).
When Disc Golf is an Appropriate PE Activity
Emphasis on Safety
Because of the physical and mental health benefits of disc golf it is something that ought to be considered as part of PE curriculum, under the right settings.
Under the wrong settings, disc golf can actually be very dangerous, especially with kids who have very little coordination throwing flying discs. Most golf discs are very hard and getting hit by one can leave a mark.
When teaching children to throw golf discs, it is not uncommon for them to throw sideways or even backwards. This puts others in danger, especially if trying to instruct in a gym or other indoor section.
Disc golf should only be taught to children in an area with adequate space and proper equipment. Not all disc golf discs should be used by children, especially as part of a PE class.
Always provide proper instruction and safety guidelines to students before letting them throw discs.
What is the Appropriate Age to Teach Disc Golf?
There are always exceptions and standout performers who can pick up the game at a very young age, but most kids are not physically coordinated or have the attention span to understand disc golf until they are at least 10 years old. Upper elementary school grades, middles schools, junior highs, and high schools can all benefit from disc golf.
How many discs do students need for disc golf?
While disc golf has dozens of different varieties of discs, in a school setting a single disc per person is not only adequate, but recommended. While for some players it is more fun to have the option of throwing discs with different flight paths, for most students multiple disc selection will decelerate the learning curve and make playing disc golf more confusing. When teaching kids to play disc golf it is better for them to learn correct technique using just a single disc golf disc.
What are the best discs for PE classes?
PE Classes should primarily use putters and midrange discs. These discs should be light weight and should be relatively soft to minimize injury in case someone does get hit by a flying disc. If your class is very small and you have lots of area for safe disc golf activity low speed understable drivers can add an element of fun to your disc golf unit.
Good Disc Golf Games for PE Classes
If your school has a full disc golf course, that is fantastic and an excellent way to help your kids most enjoy disc golf. But, the reality is that most schools do not have full disc golf courses. This does not mean that kids can’t enjoy throwing flying discs as part of their PE class. Here are a few variations of disc golf that can be played for PE class.
Ring of Fire
Ring of fire is a really fun putting game that can be used with only a single disc golf basket. Each student has a putter and they stand around the basket in a large circle approximately 20 feet from the basket.
The coach counts to 3 and on the count of 3 all players throw their disc at the same time. All students who make their putt advance to the next round, everyone who misses is eliminated. Keep going using this routine until there is only one player remaining.
7 On the Line
7 On the Line is a putting game where all players start with 7 points. Players line up at a putting distance around 15 feet from the basket and putt one at a time. There is always 1 on the line, so if the first player misses their putt, they lose one point and are down to 6 points.
Now, each time a player makes a putt, an additional 1 is added to the line. So, if the first six students all make their putt there are now 7 on the line. If the seventh player misses their putt, they are out of the game. Play this game until there is only one winner.
Disc works just like “Horse” or “Pig” using a frisbee and disc golf basket instead of basketball and hoop. Playing disc works best when you can have individual baskets for groups of 6 or less.
Distance Driving Competition
If you have a wide open field it is always fun to see who in the class can throw their disc farthest. Set up a line and have students throw as far as they can. After everyone has thrown have them run out to their disc and stand by it. Award the winner who has thrown their disc the farthest.
If your school has a good amount of land, you can consider setting up a course using irrigation flags to mark tee pads and temporary baskets as targets so your students can play an actual round of disc golf. When setting up your course, try and use trees, soccer goals, hills and elevation changes to add challenge and intrigue to the game. Disc golf on a wide open field is just not as fun as playing in a more challenging setting. Require some shots to curve to the left and some to the right. Vary the distance of each hole
Disc Golf Equipment for PE classes?
Recommendation for Purchasing Discs
When purchasing disc golf equipment for a PE class you need to be sure that you are getting quality equipment that will perform well for your students. While it’s possible to buy cheap frisbees online, these discs will likely not be of good quality, will not fly well, will not last long, and will not provide your students with the disc golf experience they deserve.
The best place I have found to purchase disc golf discs for your PE class is DiscountDiscGolf.com. They offer ultra affordable disc sets and have bundle packets designed specifically for schools. They also have excellent prices on individual discs if you’re looking for only a few.
Baskets and Targets
Unless your school already has a permanent disc golf course, you will likely want at least one portable basket for your disc golf unit. A single basket can be used for games like ring of fire and seven on the line. If your school has the budget, you can also purchase multiple baskets for additional games or setting up a temporary course. There is no minimum requirement for a disc golf course and five baskets is usually adequate for a disc golf round for students during PE time.