The History of Disc Golf

The first official disc golf tournament was held in Brookside park, Pasadena, CA, USA in 1969. It was one of the events during the “All Comers Meet”

Jay Shelton won disc golf. The goals were natural objects marked with a ribbon.

In 1974 Disc golf was played in organised tournaments in USA. OCTAD was won by Keith White, The Northwestern Frisbee Tournament was won by Bruce Koger. Finally at the American Flying Disc Open (AFDO), Dan Roddick finished first and won a car. In this tournament small wooden boxes were put on the ground as targets.

“Steady” Ed Headrick #001 is considered the Father of Disc Golf. Of his dozens of patented inventions, two of them hold infinite importance to our sport. The first was the Frisbee (U.S. Patent #3359678) in 1966 as an employee at Wham-O. The second was the basis of all disc golf targets today, the Disc Golf Pole Hole (U.S. Patent #4039189) in 1975.

The concept of disc golf itself however has a long and blurry history. Even a question as simple as “Who first played disc golf?” has no clear and concise answer. In his Brief History of Disc Golf on PDGA.com, Disc Golf Hall of Fame member Jim Palmeri #23 responds to that question as follows:

 “Sorry, but this turns out to be impossible to answer. There are many historical accounts of people playing golf with a flying disc, some of which pre-date the advent of the plastic flying discs by many years.  Each account was an isolated instance of recreational disc golf play, and none of the participants knew of anyone else playing disc golf.  Indeed, most of these instances were isolated not only geographically, but also isolated in time, so they couldn’t have known about each other.”