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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Follow the Fairway to Fitness

A target at the disc golf course located at the Firefighters Park in Troy, Michigan.

Disc golf is an outdoor game that is gaining in popularity. A challenge to your wit, determination, patience, and physical skill, disc golf is sure to keep your spirits soaring and your fitness routine on par. Also known as "Frisbee golf," disc golf is played similarly to traditional ball golf, except players use specially designed plastic flying discs instead of clubs and a ball; and, the target is above ground, usually a metal basket hanging from chains fastened to a pole, rather than a hole in the ground. A typical disc golf course is 9, 18, or 24 "holes."

The object of the game is to complete the course, from the first hole to the last, with the least number of throws of the disc. You begin each hole from its associated tee pad. The throw off of the tee pad is referred to as a "drive." Each consecutive throw toward the target begins from where your previous shot landed, called the "lie." You are given a point each time you have to throw the disc or if you incur a penalty. You win the game if you have the lowest total cumulative score.

Natural obstacles that can interrupt or impede the flight of your disc, such as trees, shrubs, ponds, and hills, are incorporated into the course to provide both mental and physical challenges. The diverse terrain of the disc golf course adds to the thrill of this sport, boosting confidence and creating feelings of empowerment as you successfully manipulate the disc's flight around nature's barriers. Respect for the environment and fair play are a must with this sport and so it is against the rules to alter any of the natural "hazards" in an attempt to improve the flight path of your disc.

No one knows exactly when the first game of disc golf occurred, however, it became a formalized sport in the 1970's. Disc golf can be adapted to all skill levels and ages. Hence, it can be enjoyed by both recreational and professional golfers, young and old, alike.

Adding to this sport's appeal is its relatively inexpensive cost to play. According to John Minicuci, a representative for the Motor City Chain Gang, a club that works with all of the area's park directors to develop and maintain the disc golf courses for the public, the average price range for a disc is $8.00-$17.00. Minicuci also states that many disc golf courses are free or charge a nominal fee and are located in city and metro parks, making them easily accessible to all members of the community. Funding for the upkeep of the courses is provided by fund-raising events held by the Motor City Chain Gang club and its sponsors.

The Motor City Chain Gang, founded by Damon Evans, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and is responsible for much of the growth of disc golf as a sport in this area. Minicuci attributes the Motor City Chain Gang's success to the work of many, whether it's going to the park to spread mulch or replace old target baskets, members are doing what they can to make the courses playable and fun for fellow disc golfers. Minicuci states that new courses are continually being created. The Grand Opening for an 18 hole disc golf course on Oakland University's campus is taking place on Thursday, September 10th, in the evening.

Minicuci says that disc golf is a great sport for everyone because "it is a low impact sport and doesn't involve physical contact." The Motor City Chain Gang offers disc golf camps in the summer for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. They also developed the Underage Drivers, a league for children and their parents, that meets on Saturday mornings at the Raintree Park in Troy. "It is a way for moms and dads to get involved with their kids and for kids to get physically active," states Minicuci.

If you are interested in learning more about the sport of disc golf or to find a course near you, visit these following sites:
Special thanks to John Minicuci who contributed to this article by providing his expertise, insights, and love for the sport of disc golf.

Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.

John Minicuci, club representative for the Motor City Chain Gang

The Professional Disc Golf Association website

Everything Disc Golf website

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