Alcohol on the Disc Golf Course: Pack It In, Pack It Out
As we looked at the data from our State of Disc Golf 2014 Survey, one thing became very clear: Disc golfers like to drink. Alcohol use was by far the most used substance on the disc golf course in 2014. In fact, more disc golfers said they drank alcohol on the course than those who did not participate in the use of any substances on the disc golf course.
Unlike the use of marijuana that we discussed last week, a conversation on the legality of its use does not hold a lot of weight. Though it ought to be said, there are many public courses in public parks that post no alcohol signs, and a fair share of disc golf courses have faced the threat of removal due to these rules not being followed. Of course we encourage everyone to follow the rules and local laws that pertain to each course so that we can keep our precious courses and continue to grow the sport.
One might also be curious as to underage drinking on the disc golf course. We only had 83 people in the 18-21 age range say that they drank alcohol while playing disc golf, and it is not safe to assume that any of these individuals were or were not drinking legally. Again, we just encourage all to keep the rules and keep the game in a positive light. Here is a chart showing how many individuals in each age range said they drank alcohol on the course in 2014:
This chart really doesn’t hold any surprises, as each age reflects the total result–about half or just under of the total participants in each age tier.
So at all ages, drinking alcoholic beverages has become a popular activity. What does this mean for the sport? Is this a good thing? A bad thing? Neither or both?
Disc golf is not the only sport where alcohol has worked its way into the main scene. Casual rounds of ball golf and alcohol go together very often. Many golf courses sell alcoholic beverages at their clubhouses to accommodate their patrons.
So alcohol is a big part of ball golf, and ball golf is thriving as a mainstream sport. So naturally, disc golf can thrive with a can of beer in the bag right? Maybe, but there is a crutch that disc golf carries in many towns that drinkers and nondrinkers alike need to learn to leave behind if disc golf is to grow–littering.
It definitely would not be fair to blame those drinking alcohol on the course for the all the littering that occurs on disc golf courses around the world. Soda and energy drink cans sometimes are found just as frequently as alcohol cans and bottles. However in some cases (like on the course I learned to play) there is no questioning where most of the littering was coming from. I used to joke that I thought Twisted Tea was the official drink of disc golfers because of how many cans and bottles I saw strewn about the park. On more than one occasion I have walked up to a tee pad to find it covered in shattered glass from a beer bottle.
Again, pointing fingers does not do us any good, we just need to fix it. How do we fix it?
Really, it is just that simple isn’t it? Don’t litter, and if you see it happening, say something. We really are all in this together when it comes to the growth of disc golf. Lets all commit to stop the littering and keep our courses beautiful for casual and professional players alike.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, do NOT drink and drive. A friend of mine worked at a country club, and he told me about his horror as we would watch golfers get hammered on the course and then get in their cars to drive back home. Do NOT do it, and do NOT let your friends do it. Please drink responsibly. Keep yourself and all of us safe.
Thank you very much