Road trips are fun and disc golf road trips are amazing. We’ve done several disc golf specific trips over the past few years. If you haven’t had a chance to experience the sheer joy of a dedicated disc golf road trip, read on for our tips and tricks to make the best of your time.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
This is first on the list for a reason. You’re looking to spend a large amount of time in close proximity in the car, restaurants, and hotel, let alone the disc golf course. There’s a chance that not all of your disc golf friends would get along for an entire road trip. Some folks like the night-life, checking out local establishments and drinking the night away. Others just want to go to bed early so they play well the next day. Some are super serious about the game and will get annoyed at those that just want to have fun. Some won’t play in the rain or cold and others will do whatever it takes. Have you ever hosted a party and invited your friends who don’t know each other? Sometimes it works out but usually you end up sacrificing your entire evening making sure to spend equal time with everyone while enduring the awkward small talk between your friends. Just be mindful who you invite to ensure your time isn’t ruined.
Pick a Destination Course
I believe the best trip should revolve around a specific “must play” course. Some people call these destination courses and sometimes these places have many different courses on a single site. What makes it a destination disc golf location differs from person to person but there are a few things I look for:
- Highly rated in the state
- Designed by an icon like steady Ed
- PDGA major or world championship played at the location in the past
Finding these course will require a lot of research on the internet. Luckily, there are a few sites devoted to crowd-sourced course reviews and many disc golfers are excited to share their favorite locations. Disc Golf Course Review and Disc Golf Scene are valuable resources.
Map Your Route
Now we need to get a general idea of our disc golf road trip from start to finish so we can fill in some other details for the trip. First, use a mapping tool like Google maps and begin a route from your home to the destination course. Now, browse along that route for cities along the way. Enter the zip code into either course review site and browse for highly rated courses nearby (You can use your favorite search engine to get the zip code for any city). Make note of your favorite options so you can narrow it down afterward.
At this point, I like to enter each destination into the mapping software. This will help estimate the amount of driving time you’ll have in a given day. Add 30-45 minutes per meal and 2-3 hours per disc golf round to determine if you’ve packed too much into a given day. Be mindful of everyone’s dietary needs and fitness level. Not everyone wants to eat fast food for each meal and not everyone can handle 72 holes in a single day.
Choose a Hotel
If your disc golf road trip will span multiple days, you’ll need to sleep overnight somewhere. Camping is an option if you have the gear, but we prefer the convenience of a hotel. You have some decisions to make as a group as far as quality of hotel and other nearby attractions. If you’re willing to share a room you can save some money.
It isn’t necessary, but I f you’re like us and you don’t have a shop nearby, you should do some searching for disc golf stores and used sporting goods stores on your route. If you find one, give them a call to be certain they’d be open during the time you expect to visit. You should also ask about their disc golf inventory just to make sure they have more than the basics.
Pack for the Trip
I probably over-pack for every trip. I like to feel prepared and more often than not someone else ends up borrowing something from me. What you need to bring varies from person to person. Aside from the obvious, you should bring extra discs. Including a few you’re willing to lose in the event that a course is surrounded by water. MindBodyDisc has a great list of items you probably forgot to pack for your trip.
Make a Backup Plan
Nobody wants to modify the perfect disc golf road trip, but there are several things that could get in your way. Weather plays a big part of a fun round. Playing in a torrential downpour with mudslides isn’t worth the injury risk. Also, there may be a previously undisclosed event taking place at the venue. You can always try to fit in but the round might be slower than expected. And speaking of time, what will you do if you run out of time?
In any of these situations, I think it is most important to hit your destination course. If all the courses are nearby, you can always play them in a different order. That said, don’t be afraid to pack up and move on if necessary.
Most importantly, remember that a disc golf road trip is supposed to be fun. You’re playing courses you’ve likely never seen before and hopefully these locations provide a new challenge for your game. Enjoy the day, enjoy the company, and enjoy your time!