If you’ve walked through your local park recently and seen people throwing what looks like brightly colored plastic plates at big baskets with chains on them, they just might be playing disc golf, a sport that has grown in popularity in recent years.
The sport shares many of the same rules as golf: Players throw a disc, pick it up where it lands and throw again. The goal is to make it inside what’s called a basket or target in as few throws as possible. If the disc hits the chains, it goes in the basket, as the chains slow down the momentum of the disc and help it drop into the metal basket underneath. Players then count their strokes and move onto the next hole.
Disc golf courses tend to be about nine to 18 holes, varying in length. Chicago currently has two courses within city limits, according to UDisc, a resource for disc golf players, and six other locations with baskets set up for winter league events. That number will likely increase soon, as the Hyde Park Disc Golf organization has received a grant to bring the sport to six additional parks in the city.
The Diversity and Outreach Grant from the Professional Disc Golf Association gives each selected park a basket, training and 30 discs stamped with Hyde Park Disc Golf labels.
Hyde Park Disc Golf plans to choose two parks per region in the city — south, west and north — and is looking for parks with field houses and active youth programming.
This is the second year the organization has received the grant; last year, the funds were used to invest in starting youth disc golf programs.
Tom Inglis, president of Hyde Park Disc Golf, recently told WBEZ’s Reset that the organization started when he and a friend wanted an escape from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything was closed, so we bought a basket, brought it out to the park and just were playing around and, you know, a couple other parents walked by and were like, ‘Oh, you guys do disc golf?’ ” Listen Here