Are Disc Golf Courses Free? (The Public Wants To Know)

Disc golf is an ever growing sport, and like almost all sports there are some monetary barriers you need to hurdle in order to enter the sport. Luckily for all of us disc golfers, the cost to start playing is very minimal if you want it to be. Disc golf courses are one of the best things about the game because each course offers new and unique challenges each time I go out and play.

I have played a lot of different disc golf courses and they are normally very nice courses that are in open fields and on hills or they twist in and out of the wooded treeline to make shots that are much more fun. Most disc golf courses, especially the ones I have been to, are built in public parks so that anyone can come and enjoy the game. Some even rent out discs for the players to use, which is an amazing thing to do if you are not sure whether or not disc golf is for you.

So Are Disc Golf Courses Free? Since most disc golf courses are located in public parks, they are free to play almost any time of year and maintained by the city. Other courses are paid and require green fees for landscape upkeep.

There is a lot more to a disc golf course than whether or not it is free and you need to find the right disc golf course in your area. Disc golf courses can range from amazingly well kept to amazingly neglected and it is up to you, and me, to make sure you can find the right one.

If you want to get a starter set of discs that has the basics for the game with drivers, mid ranges, and putters, then Infinite Discs has one of the best sets around, and you won’t lose it when daylight starts dying out. You can also check out the starter sets on Amazon.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Do You Have To Pay To Play Disc Golf?

Technically, you don’t have to pay anything to play disc golf if you can borrow some discs, hitch a ride, and find a public course that is free to play. Disc golf can be a completely free sport if you really want it to be but once you are hooked, you will be wanting your own set of discs and to take a trip down to your local course as often as possible.

Where Are Disc Golf Courses?

Disc golf courses don’t require anywhere near the amount of room regular ball golf courses do so you might not be able to spot a disc golf course from the road, but trust me, they are everywhere. There are over 6000 courses in the United States alone and growing every year.

The easiest way to find out where a disc golf course is near you just pull out your smartphone and say “Hey Google: Disc Golf Courses Near Me” and all the local course should populate the map and you can take your pick of the litter. Be sure to read the reviews and make sure that the course will be open when you want to go and play. Some parks close at dusk and you can’t play until dawn.

How To Find Disc Golf Courses (All The Directories In One Place)

If you need to find any disc golf course in the United States, then these sites have all the tools you need to find any registered disc golf course. Just click on a link below to be taken to their directory.

PDGA Disc Golf Course Directory Map

Disc Golf Course Locator – Disc Golf United

Disc Golf Course Review – Map

Disc Golf Courses in the United States – Disc Golf Scene

Disc Golf Course Directory – Dynamic Discs

Disc Golf Course Map Search – Infinite Courses

How Much Does A Disc Golf Course Cost? Fees For Pay To Play

Ball golf requires you to have clubs and golf balls (you can rent both of these) and there is an initial or recurring cost. There are also greens fees associated with ball golf for keeping the greens, fairways, and other playing surfaces in good condition. Pay to play disc golf courses are not so different as you have the same maintenance that is needed.

If you check out the chart below, you can see that many people will pay up to $20 happily to play a disc golf course. Well don’t break out your wallet and grab a 20 just yet because the majority of pay to play courses are right around $10 for a round and are often very well maintained. $10 for a day of fun ain’t half bad if you ask me.

Why You Should Want to Pay For Disc Golf Courses

The bad thing about these free public courses is that they are often not as well maintained as the pay to play courses. I have been to a few courses where the city just mows the grass around the baskets and leaves a massive mound of grass under it or they don’t even mow at all.

Paying for disc golf courses is a great way to ensure that you will always have a nice course to play on because you are paying them to upkeep the course that you love to play on.

How Much Would You Pay To Play Disc Golf?

Infinite Discs did a survey in 2016 of over 3000 people and found that most people would spend around $4-$10 for a round of disc golf on a pay to play course.

Courtesy Infinite Discs

Based on this data, we can predict that pay to play courses may continue to become more popular.  People are willing to pay to have a good experience on the course!

Infinite Discs

Disc Golf Leagues

Infinite Discs also covered the question of “How Much People Spend To Join A Disc Golf League” and most players wanted to spend $0 to join, but a healthy number of players also said they would spend up $25 to join a league. Joining leagues is a good way to find new players to test your skills against and compete for prizes in the league, and we all love winning stuff don’t we?

Courtesy Infinite Discs

Other costs to Disc Golf include becoming a PDGA member for $50/year, as well as the costs of registering to play in tournaments. These costs allow the player to be more competitive by obtaining a PDGA number and rating, and competing against others to raise their rating.

Infinite Discs

How Much Land Do You Need For A Disc Golf Course?

If you want to build very short par 3 holes throughout a 9 hole course, you can get away with about a half acre of land per hole putting you at just shy of 5 acres needed. If you decide to use the woods and trees to your advantage, you can fit holes closer together because the treeline will provide a nice barrier from hole to hole. When you go to a pay to play or championship course, they will typically have 1 or more acres per hole.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Disc Golf Course?

You may be asking yourself why you would want to build your own disc golf course when so many out there are free. Well the answer to that is simple, because DISC GOLF COURSES ARE AWESOME and we need as many as we can get.

If the closest disc golf course is too far away then you can opt to build your own, or petition the city to build one in a local park. Many people who own sports complexes jump at the chance to build their own disc courses to attract more customers in this ever growing sport.

If you already have cleared land available (see above) then a minimalist installation with lightweight baskets, no poured concrete tees, and wooden signs with only the hole numbers, you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of around $300 per hole or around $3000 for a 9 hole course.

For a larger and more well maintained course for the public to use, you will want to have heavy duty baskets, cement tee pads, and sleeves to be able to place multiple baskets. You can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000 per hole and that will run you $20,000 for a very nice 18 hole disc golf course.

This does not take into account if the land is not already cleared and manicured which will cost you significantly more money for a course startup. If you want to start making your course look more professional, you can add benches, trash cans, and detailed hole signs and drawings will obviously cost extra.

How Do You Set Up A Disc Golf Course?

Disc Golf Course Design Goals Per The PDGA

  1. Satisfy the design requirements of the people and organizations who approve use of the land and fund the equipment for the course. That includes meeting local, state and federal construction and safety requirements. 
  2. Design the course to have sufficient visibility of players, pedestrians and vehicles who may pass near or through it. 
  3. Design course with the potential for multiple configurations to serve not only beginners but players with advanced skills; consistent with the budget and design needs in Goal 1 above. 
  4. Design a well balanced course with a wide range of hole lengths and a good mixture of holes requiring controlled left, right and straight throws. 
  5. Utilize elevation changes and available foliage as well as possible. Take care to minimize potential damage to foliage and reduce the chances for erosion. 

For more information on how to set up a disc golf course, please see the PDGA Disc Golf Course Design Recommendations

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My Favorite Discs

My Favorite Distance Driver –  Innova Shryke

My Favorite Fairway Driver – Dynamic Discs Escape

My Favorite Approach – Innova Shark

My Favorite Putter – Innova Colt

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