DID YOU KNOW that last August, the Portland area played host to the 2014 PDGA Disc Golf World Championships? There are dozens of beautifully maintained courses in the Portland area—many free or very cheap to play—all of which are fully equipped with baskets and chains just waiting to be rattled by your disc this summer. The best thing about the sport is that unlike its elitist older brother, the entry barrier for disc golf is almost nonexistent. Here's what you'll need to get started:
Discs: These come in all different weights and balances, but all you really need to get started is a standard, mid-range driver. You can pick one up from Next Adventure (426 SE Grand) or at the Disc Golf Depot (2410 SE 121st, #214). Always label your discs with contact info. If lost, they'll turn up sooner or later, and most golfers tend to be Good Samaritans.
Beer: For most novice players, disc golf is really just a thinly veiled excuse to drink while walking around in the woods, and think back on it as having been exercise.
Bluetooth speaker: Jam bands and reggae are popular among disc golf enthusiasts, meaning you'll probably need to build a fresh mix for the occasion. It's a little-known fact that Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" was written about Stevie Nicks' hot and cold relationship with disc golfing, so feel free to start the playlist there.
Portable vaporizer: Leave the scorecards behind, 420 is the only number that matters on these courses.
Where to Play
Hello... a world-class disc golf course is right in our backyard! The dense forest makes it great for players who're looking to avoid taking on too much sun. But trees are also known for being a disc golfer's worst enemy, and Pier's layout makes the Death Star trench run look like a cakewalk. Arrive early to avoid the crowd.
Offering three courses with varying ranges of difficulty, Horning's has something for everyone. Round up some lighted discs and hit the on-site campground to take advantage of some night golfing. Just be sure to keep an eye out for roaming peacocks!
Dabney State Park
A nice balance of dense forest and open fields. With the nearby Sandy River serving as the "19th Hole," Dabney might be the perfect summertime disc golf destination.
Blue Lake Regional Park
The host of the final round of last year's World Championships. One of the longest courses in the region, offering very little in the way of shade. Here, a care-free summer outing can quickly dissolve into a grueling death march for all but the most experienced players.
An Abbreviated Glossary of Disc Golf Slang
Chain Smokin': When a player is sinking one tough putt after another; the disc golf equivalent of being "On Fire."
Chain Whisperer: A player who is in the midst of a tour de force putting performance.
Deep Discin': A throw that finds the perfect path to the hole; the rare shot that somehow threads the needle through the thick of the forest.
Mando: A tree or obstacle that serves as a directional obstruction and must be passed in a certain manner. Mandos are often placed for added challenge, as well as for the safety of nearby players and park users.
Most importantly: Don't get discouraged! You might never achieve pro status, but a weekly disc golf routine can provide the perfect "hair of the dog" cure for a weekend-morning hangover. See you on the links!
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