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Zion Summers arabesques into his putt. Photo by Anna Sutterer

Hucking Discs Across Colorado

Try your hand, wrist, and elbow at the game of disc golf

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Denver ranks number five in the “Best Cities for Disc Golf in the USA,” according to UDisc, an app for disc golfers. Although disc golf may not come to mind first when mulling over all the great outdoor sports one can enjoy in Colorado, opportunities here to drive and putt are numerous.

Avid player Zion Summers, 11, and his mom, Samadhi (Sam) of Fort Collins can attest to the excitement and addictive nature of the sport. “As long as it’s above 32 degrees, we’re out throwing discs!” says Sam.

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The Summers family was introduced to the game through the memory of a beloved “Pamp” (grandpa), whose discs were found in a garage cleaning effort. Months passed until they finally got onto the courses. Zion immediately picked up skill.

He especially loves the release of the disc. “It just feels good to launch the disc out of your hand as fast as you can. It feels good how it releases out of your fingers and flies and does what you want. Except for you.” He looks at Sam, who admits she’s had a more tumultuous relationship with disc golf technique.

Since starting in the fall of 2019, then ramping up play during the pandemic, Zion has collected at least 50 discs and keeps a wishlist of new ones running in his head. He’s also studied countless YouTube tutorials and is known at the courses he frequents throughout Fort Collins. It’s tough to miss him in that bright scarlet hat stitched with the logo for Paul McBeth, a five-time Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) winner. One of Zion’s major achievements in the sport was completing a 100-hole challenge, spending close to 12 hours playing 10 rounds at his local course. The next morning he woke up and returned to toss some more.

At the start of a hole, Zion lines up and envisions the flight paths available to him. There’s usually just a couple, depending on the placement of the pin and trees, he says. Then it’s all about choosing a disc and then the throw: with an Anhyzer angle, overhead, or a roller, perhaps?

Before you learn the infinite grips, approaches, disc types, and other lingo, start by understanding that the game is played similar to a round of golf with pars for each hole and the goal to keep one’s throw number low.

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Also, heed this warning on the course: fore!

“If somebody says, ‘fore,’ duck and look around you,” says Zion. Sam learned this the hard way once, and ended up playing the rest of a round with a broken toe.

One more thing before winding up: Put your name and number on your discs because losing them is common, and more often than not people who find discs return them. That’s huge, because the one that gets away might be your favorite, and the one you can ace with.


Front Range Courses to Try

Expo Park

Aurora
18 holes, drop-in, free
Enjoy the park’s scenery, but also beware of throwing near the many bodies of water.

Beaver Ranch

Conifer
Two courses, 63 baskets in total, drop-in, $12, $10 Jefferson County resident, free age 10 and under
Try a wooded course with gorgeous views; choose from the Premiere course that takes two to three hours, or the Putt & Approach, which takes 45 minutes. Remember to stop in the fully-stocked Pro Shop onsite.

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Bird’s Nest

Arvada
24-hole, drop-in, free
Take the whole family, including the dog, to this spacious and rolling pasture complete with holes that range from 170 to over 700 feet in length, good for players of all ages and skill levels.

Edora Park

Fort Collins
18-hole, drop-in, free
Wind your way along Spring Creek, through a park that’s dotted with community amenities including tennis courts, an ice center, and skate park. This course has a few moderate hills and nice trees lining holes.

West Fork

Highlands Ranch
18-hole, drop-in, free
Take advantage of the existing trails at West Fork Open Space and enjoy a full course featuring holes that are all par 3. Keep dogs on a leash.

Keep some discs close at hand — you never know when you’ll stumble upon a spot to toss! Mini courses pop up on school campuses, for example, Lancer Links at Lincoln Middle School in Fort Collins, a 9-hole round on the east side of Regis University in Denver, and a short course looping Sandburg Elementary School in Littleton.


Getting Prepared

Check out the Mile High Disc Golf Club on Facebook to find tips, nerd out about disc brands, and link up with people to join out on the courses.

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Grab some gear at one of these local specialized disc golf retailers:

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