Frisbee golf in the Capital Region

Frisbee Golf.jpg

No carts, no bags, no clubs, no caddy -- just you and your Frisbee.

By Mike DiMaio

I'm not much for golf. I mean, I play occasionally and all, but I find it... frustrating. I like the being outdoors part, and the walking, but you can try to hit a golf ball twelve times and not get it right (or, at least, I can). Add to that the expense of the clubs and the greens fees and I can understand why Mark Twain called it "a good walk, spoiled."

Disc golf, on the other hand, is something I can get behind.

If you can throw a Frisbee, you can play. And a Frisbee is pretty much all you need to play the two courses in the Capital Region. It's practically free and waaaaay more fun than golf.

Trust me on this.

Frisbee golf got started on the west coast (surprise!), caught on in the Midwest and is surprisingly popular in Western New York. There is even a Professional Disc Golfers Association to sanction and help locate courses and tournaments nationally. Slowly but surely it's catching on in the Northeast. Here's what you'll need to know to give it a try.

Where to play:

Locally you can "tee off" your disc golf career at Joralemon Park (also called J-Park) in Ravena. Located in a sleepy but beautiful town park, it guarantees a quiet walk through green fields and near streams. There are simple par 3's across the fields and more challenging par 5's that will take you into the woods. Right now you can play 14 holes there, but there are plans to expand it to 27. You can do the whole course in about an hour. The best part is -- it's free. Heads-up though, Joralemon can be a tricky park to find on your first visit. Basically, it's located off of 9W on Starr Road in Coeymans, but you're going to want to get the Google or Mapquest directions your first time out.

Once you feel a little more confident, you can try the more challenging Hyzer Creek course in Galway (about ten minutes outside Saratoga) which is a little longer and wooded. It's on private property, so there are waiver forms left there that you have to sign to play-- and they as for a donation to help maintain the place. Here's a hint -- do not start with the Hyzer Creek course. It's considerably more difficult. If I had started there I might not have kept going. That said, once you've gotten the hang of it, it's a great course to play.

If you're up for a drive to Vermont, there's also a 9 hole course at Willow Park in Bennington. Oh, and rumor has it Central Park in Schenectady may be getting one soon.

How to play:

Frisbee golf hole.jpgDisc golf operates on the same premise as little white ball golf: complete each hole in as few strokes as possible.  Courses look a lot like "real" golf courses, with fairways, turns, hard-to-throw-out-of spots.  Except in this case the "cup" is not a hole in the ground but a basket-- about three feet off the ground --with chains meant to stop a disc in flight. 

What you'll need: 

So it's true, all you need is a Frisbee -- but not just any old Frisbee will do. It needs to be the right size. A couple of companies, Inova and Discraft, make special golf discs meant to break left or right, suit a forehand or backhand, or travel certain distances.  Local sporting goods stores like Dick's and Sports Authority generally carry starter kits for between $30 and $50. And... that's all you need.  Oh, that and some bug spray and sneakers.

 I wore sandals the first time I went. Yeah, don't do that.

Why you know you want to do it:

If you're competitive, disc golf offers the same thrills and frustrations as chasing a little white ball.  If you're not as competitive, just the simple thrill of taking a short hike, and occasionally throwing a Frisbee (and picking it up) is a cheap way to get some fresh air, peace and quiet.  The people who play around here always seem pretty cool too. No one to judge your game, your gear, your clothes -- and nothing to spoil your good walk --or your budget.


Wow. I was about to say, "Only in America...", but apparently a whole bunch of other countries seem to be frolf'ing too. I have to give kudos to the PDGA web site, it looks totally legit.

Stone Bridge and Caves up in Pottersville has frisbee golf too. In addition to the caves. And the stone bridge. AOA should write about that place because it's really fun and it's family owned, and nobody seems to know about it except for tourists.

I grew up near a disc golf course in New Jersey, and as a car-less adolescent it was one of the few things I could get to on my bike. It's a great deal of fun and a great way to get in a walk.

I wouldn't say you need to buy special discs to play, especially if you just want to try out the sport. A heavy (150-190 g) standard frisbee will be fine to get started, though you might need the golf discs (and a lot of practice) to be truly competitive.

I knew some people for whom discus golf was also a good excuse to get drunk and run around throwing things in the woods- not sure if you can still get away, especially in a town park, but it sounds like fun to me.

I see this post is from 2009. Schenectady now has a course in Central park and we found one in Blatnick Park in Schenectady about 5 miles from Latham. We played there yesterday. We are in Rensselaer county and have not found any here yet. Anyone know about a list of all the courses in the capitol district?

hey @Bob W. check

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