I love how as Owen and Sasha get older Levi and I can introduce them to more activities that we enjoy. Like many parents, I’m sure, we put some of our favorite pursuits on hold or kind of forgot about them for a few years because we were more focused on doing things that were in the range of our kids’ capabilities, both physically and cognitively. Now, not only do they have the coordination to execute new learned skills, they also know how to exercise patience (and actually do so every now and then), think strategically in their play, and generally appreciate the fun and objectives of different kinds of recreation.
Hence, we took them to play disc golf. If you haven’t played or even heard of it before, disc golf, or Frisbee golf as it’s often called, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a combo of Frisbee and golf. There are 18 “holes” on a course that you try to get your disc into in as few moves as possible. In this case, though, the holes are chain baskets that stand a couple of feet off the ground and instead of hitting a golf ball with a club, you fling a disc that is like a Frisbee but smaller and more rigid. There is a par for each hole, so you keep score just like regular golf.
Back in the pre-kids day, Frisbee golf was something we did quite often. We would meet up with friends, our backpacks filled with our discs and snacks, and casually make our way through the course as we played, picnicked on the move, and enjoyed the company and the scenery. One of my favorite things about disc golf is that most courses are set up in really pretty places, in the woods or in parks, where the trees and other natural obstacles add some challenges to the game. All of it lends to a fun and relaxing outdoor experience, a great way to spend a nice day.
We finally introduced the kids to disc golf a couple of weeks ago on a gorgeous fall weekend, and their first foray into the venture went swimmingly. We went to our favorite course in the area at Calvert Road Park in College Park. Located right near the College Park airport and Aviation Museum, the flat course sprawls through a few acres of tall, leafy (during most of the year, anyway) trees. When we arrived, another family was just getting started ahead of us and they even had a baby in a stroller rolling along with them. A good sign that disc golfing was already a family affair for others. The autumn hues were starting to show when we were there, and it was lovely to play amid it.
We only played nine holes for our first day, which was plenty as the kids were just learning the ropes and needed some time to pick it up. We still had our discs from the old days — we knew we’d be back! — but you can buy them at most sporting goods stores or on Amazon.com.
Owen was able to complete every hole with just a few more strokes than Levi and me. And Sasha, well, she played by her own rules, but had fun tossing the disc around, especially into the basket, and didn’t complain at all about the rest of us taking longer. Owen capped the day off with a fantastic long putt right into the basket, which I think sealed his affinity for the game — he’s already asking to go back. And next time, we’ll definitely play all 18 holes.
The Calvert Road Park Disc Golf Course is located at 5277 Old Calvert Road in College Park. There are also picnic tables, tennis courts, and bathrooms there. Admission is free.