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By Carla Engelbrecht of

I don't know if you've ever thought about the burden you carry for disc golf. Well… it's more like an unwritten promise that all disc golfers will help the sport grow by introducing new players to the game. You don't see disc golf on the news every evening or on the cover of major sports magazines. Growth is all about us--the players.

Yeah, I know. You don't have a lot of time to spare.

No one is asking you to camp out at the local news station or go door-to-door soliciting players. But lucky for you I had that chat with Kuan then a 10,000 mile journey home to think about how you can help grow disc golf by making a few little changes to your daily routine.

Talk it up with everyone
OK. I'm trusting your common sense. (i.e. Don't assume the pizza guy will love disc golf just because he happens to work with disc-shaped food objects that bring great pleasure to hungry diners.) But disc golf makes for good conversation. Especially a little positive sales-pitch in disguise. (If possible it also helps to keep a copy of something like Disc Golf World News handy to illustrate explanations to those who can't fathom what you're talking about. Actually, this helps a lot when you're traveling in foreign countries and don't speak the language.)

Invite people to play
You don't have to stage your own World's Biggest Disc Golf Day, but you can invite a friend or two along. Or think big and have a disc golf barbecue for all your friends.

Make nice with people around your park
Is someone hanging around watching you practice putt? Rather than assume they're worshipping your god-like putting skills, smile, and say hello. If you have time, ask if they've played before. If they seem open to chatting, explain a little more about the game or even invite them to play a few holes.

If the disc golfers don't come to you, you can go to them
Yep, bring disc golf to other parks-not necessarily permanently. For example, one player in my area lives too far from the courses to visit daily. So instead he brings a portable basket or two to a park by his home. He'll throw between the baskets, and you can imagine how much attention that attracts.

And now that you've got them on the course, you'll want to ensure a good first disc golf experience. So instead of dragging unwilling souls through your normal routine, here are my wholly unscientific (yet entirely serious) opinions on how to make disc golf fun.

Give yourself an attitude adjustment
It is NOT fun to listen to you complain, brag, or tell oodles of stories that begin "one time when we were playing…." Even if you throw fourteen worm-burners in a row, laugh your tail off and make the best of the day. You started playing because the game was fun, too, remember?

No long lectures on how to play
Save the technique talks for another day. Give 'em a disc, and tell 'em to get it in the basket.

Give each person a disc appropriate for a beginner
How much fun would you have had if the first disc a person handed you was a 175 Champion Edition Valkyrie? (The answer I'm looking for here is "Not much.") A good, basic, and stable driver (maybe an Eagle or Cheetah) is all a beginner needs. Try for a decent weight, too.

Ditch the rules
No nit-picky violations, no out of bounds, no foot-faults, no nothing. (But keep an eye out for people's safety. Nothing kills disc-golf euphoria like getting socked with a disc.)

Change the game
Skip scary holes. Play from short tees or make up your own short tees. Race to see who can get the disc in the basket first. Play just to hit the basket instead of always landing the disc in the basket. But remember, once you introduce the ideas of tackling, keep away, or shirts and skins, you are no longer playing disc golf.

Know when to stop
One hole, three holes, eighteen holes? It'll be different with each person. In any case, it's better to stop while your disc golf guests are still having fun.

So that's it. I'm certainly not the first person to talk about the grass roots nature of the sport, and I sure won't be the last, but I'd love to know what you think. :-)

The Burden We Share