Disc Sports Rising to the Occasion

Disc golf’s closest ally is ultimate Frisbee ­ both sports have recently caught the eye of people looking to try something unique.

Their rise in B.C. can be linked to one man, James Brown, who founded the ultimate Frisbee league in Vancouver.

“We had four teams for the longest time, then we went to eight and now there are 225 teams,” said Brown.

In 1989, Brown was part of the group that founded the Vancouver Disc Sports Society, which they changed a year later to incorporate all of B.C.

“Before that we had loose-knit groups in the late seventies and eighties.”

Brown, who is in charge of the disc golf arm of the B.C. Disc Sports Society, has operated an equipment and disc distribution company for 17 years
According to Brown, the accessibility of disc sports has been a huge factor in drawing players, but added he was “surprised it took so long to catch on,” especially disc golf.

“It’s not nearly as popular as ultimate Frisbee, but it started to pick up the last two years in B.C. In some markets like Texas, Florida and Michigan it’s booming. There are resorts where you can plan your vacation around disc golfing.”

There’s also the Professional Disc Golfers Association, which registers members of any ability, sanctions courses and hosts tournament around the world.

The PDGA has tracked the exponential rise of the sport. In 1975 there was only one course in the world, in 1985 there were 250 courses. There are now 1204 courses worldwide — including more than 35 in Canada.

The PDGA estimates that by 1997 more than four million people had tried the sport. The purse at the 1999 PDGA World Championships was $50,000 US. For the 2000 championship, the purse was increased to $92,640 US.