Picture a golfer ... typically, the image that comes to mind is of someone decked out in a brightly colored polo, crisp khakis, holding a five iron and smoking a stogie. But there's a different, more relaxed breed of golfers quietly taking over the U.S. Disc golf, or frisbee golf, is more than a simple pastime or a way to hobnob at the local country club. For most disc golfers, throwing a few frisbees around is a great excuse to get outside, explore nature, and enjoy some quality time away from technology. Disc golf courses exist in every state, and, because flat frisbees are so compact, it's easy to take your disc golfing career anywhere in the United States. Whether you're a newbie to the sport or an venerated pro, here are a few of our favorite spots to get you tossing.
Selah Ranch - Lakeside Talco, TX
The Selah Ranch DGC (Disc Golf Course) is considered sacred ground by locals and visitors alike because of its prime location by the water. Fittingly, the entire course is divided in two descriptive areas: “Lakeside” and “Creekside.” The championship course is well maintained and was designed by one of disc golf’s premiere architects and players: John Houck. While the course offers the perfect balance of wonder and challenge, it is open mainly to guests of Selah Ranch, so if you're stopping by for the day, you'll have to make reservations in advance.
Snowmass Mountain - Aspen, CO
Typically, skiers and hikers haunt the mountains of Colorado, but if you ask a disc golfer in the know, Aspen is home to one of the best, under-the-radar courses in the US. Located at the top of Snowmass Mountain, players have to take a gondola ride up before they can start honing their short-game skills and throwing tomahawks. The entire course is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and players can spot two of Colorado’s 14ers to the north: Capital Peak and Pyramid Peak. To top it off, the course is often covered in wildflowers throughout the summer, making it one of the most scenic jaunts anywhere.
Idlewild - Burlington, KY
A popular spot for some of the country's top disc golf tournaments, this course is considered to be of “professional caliber" and reserved for elite players. The difficulty makes the challenge pretty irresistible for all, and in true Kentucky fashion, the course is set amongst green, rolling hills and lightly wooded areas with just enough water to throw players off their game. Nearly 50 discs have reportedly been lost here, so shoot carefully and wisely!
Basecamp - Moab, UT
There's nothing like playing a game of disc golf in the heart of Edward Abbey’s beloved desert. Overlooking the Colorado River, the course winds through box canyons, down cliff faces and over boulder fields, and you'll encounter yucca plants, cacti, and even the occasional scorpion or two. While the heat can take it's toll, the rocky terrain of the course is also pretty hard on discs. If you're planning to stay the night at Basecamp Ranch, be sure to rent an ATV or trail bike to make navigating the course a little simpler.
Whistlers Bend - Roseburg, OR
Nestled in the woods of Oregon's Umqua River, this 27-hole course is described as a beautiful challenge. It's perfect for someone that wants to play a game in a heavily wooded area and doesn't mind walking a ways in between holes. Win or lose, you'll be hard pressed to find a prettier area to retrieve discs and discover lost power shots anywhere in the disc golf world.
Hilltop DGC - Anchorage, AK
The Hilltop Disc Golf Course is a full 18 holes spread across a whopping 20 acres of land. Just minutes from downtown Anchorage, the fields explode with wildflowers during the summer and feature stunning views of the mountainside. Weather permitting, it's not uncommon for players to spot some wildlife, including moose, bears, and eagles, while they're playing. As a special bonus, the course is open fairly late during June and July when the midnight sun is in full effect.
Fountain Hills Park - Phoenix, AZ
This park has it all: consistently warm weather for a long season, mountain views, and well manicured grassy fields. The course centers around a manmade lake framed by a fountain and palm trees, so it's easy to track your progress (and not get lost). If you're headed to Phoenix, be mindful of the temperature as the sweltering summer sun can be brutal in Arizona.