- April Hunt For the AJC
Long before the trademarked Frisbee became a household name, a group of Canadian schoolboys are said to have made a game out of tossing a disc around an obstacle course in 1920s Saskatchewan.
But throwing tin plates at a fence posts is not what draws more and more people out to the disc golf courses popping up around metro Atlanta these days.
Disc golf is another way for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy a walk in the woods and across the fields for an afternoon.
The rules are simple: Throw a disc from a tee set up just like its namesake golf. Stay in bounds and get to the chained basket with the least amount of throws to win.
Serious gamers will insist on official discs, since they are heavier and smaller than the typical recreational ones. Scout out inexpensive used discs at second-hand sporting goods stores, and know most beginners can play with little more than a driver and a putter disc.
Then, find the course that speaks to you. You can find courses from Snellville to Peachtree City by checking out the Atlanta Disc Golf Organization.
Just starting out? Check out the Chamblee First United Methodist Church (4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Chamblee) course to try out the game. This course is laid out on its mostly flat, 40-acre lawn just inside the Perimeter. There are nine holes, some through a slightly wooded area, that will let you practice your throws, aim and stance and take a quiet stroll. Be respectful of the property and remember: No games on Sundays because of services.
Once you have your throwing stance down and you are ready to face some hazards, head to Marietta's Oregon Park (145 Old Hamilton Rd, Marietta). This is a grassy and hilly course of 18 holes and will put you among trees and fields for most of the course. And for your first big challenge: you can play across a creek. The Cobb Disc Golf Club also hosts tournaments and meetings for you to connect with other players. This is a popular course because of its location and ability to challenge beginners and more experienced players alike.
Disc golfers sing the praises of Hobbs Farm Park (1147 Rome St., Carrollton) as the state's top course, even though it juts opened in 2016 with a sold-out tournament. John Houck, who has designed more disc golf courses than anyone in the world, spent two years laying out this course as it rolls along 200 acres of marshland next to the Little Tallapoosa River. Significant elevation changes, mature wooded holes and water hazards all make this one of the most challenging courses around. Despite the challenges, the course is also laid out for all skill levels to practice their shots on a top-flight course.