As you explore the Finger Lakes, whether on the beautiful shores of Owasco Lake at Emerson Park, stopping by the Museum of Glass in Corning, or relaxing before a wine tour in Geneva, you might be surprised by the multitude of large metal baskets poking through the trees. These baskets are not bird feeders; they are disc golf holes, and they are part of a rapidly growing network of disc golf courses and leagues in the Finger Lakes.
WHAT IS IT?
Disc Golf is a family and eco-friendly version of golf that uses different colored frisbees instead of clubs and balls. At each hole, players take turns throwing their disc through a variety of obstacles toward a chained basket. Combining the thrill of sinking a long putt or hitting that beautiful drive of golf without the cost or time commitment, disc golf is the perfect activity for those looking to relax outdoors without going on a grueling hike or paying for tee-time. Individual discs cost about $10, and almost all courses are free to play, as they are usually built inconspicuously into pre-existing parks and trails.
Nine-hole courses, like the one at Cornell University, typically take a little over an hour to play, and anyone who can throw a frisbee can easily play a round. Courses are a mixture of wooded trails and open fairways with pro and amateur tees, and plenty of water to practice your “hyzer” (disc golf slang for a “slice”)!
The sport’s accessibility, gorgeous local terrain, and modest aerobic workout make disc golf a wonderful afternoon activity for families and small groups of friends in the Finger Lakes.
For anyone more serious about the sport, the region offers several first class 18-hole courses, such as the Panther Highlands in Dryden, which was once a stop on the National Disc Golf Championship Tour, and the stunning lakeside course at Emerson Park in Auburn.
Due to its growing popularity, many sporting goods stores, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, have begun carrying discs, and even local stores like Ithaca Outdoor Store, have a quirky selection of cheap, hard-to-find discs that are a blast to try out.