DISCS & ZEN – What Disc Golf Taught Me About Life

Not to be over-dramatic or anything, but plain and simple – DISC GOLF CHANGED MY LIFE. Being sort of introverted, I did not grow up playing many sports. I have been a musician my whole life, and as a young person I spent most of my time in a dark recording studio layering guitar tracks or vocals. I was scared of the sunlight. I had played disc golf  a couple of times as a young teen with a church that I attended, and enjoyed it but it never really stuck as I went through the trials and tribulations of my teen years.

Fast-forward about a decade and a half, I am living at the beach in Virginia Beach (still recording) but finding myself taking breaks more and more often to walk on the beach or jump on a bike. One day on a bike ride with my lovely wife, I realized how close we lived to the disc golf course I played at as a kid and immediately had the itch to try it again.

By this time, I had grown up, gotten a job, joined the workforce and told myself I was too old to have fun anymore. But there we were the next week with frisbees we bought at Petsmart, trying to hock these featherweight plastics 300 ft. Needless to say, the frisbees didn’t work out. But whether it was nostalgia or disc golf fever, once I heard those chains, I was addicted. I upgraded those frisbees to the Innova standard set -Leopard, Shark, and Aviar. Then I bought a bag. And then a few more discs. Then some replacements in case I lost those. Oh, and I needed a practice basket… You get the drift – we have all been there.

But most importantly. I began walking, playing, being in the sunlight, walking through the trees, listening to the birds and I started wondering: “What if I would have continued playing all those years?”

When I wasnt on the course, I craved it. I watched YouTube videos at work. I even carried my skillshot to work and through during breaks. I was seriously hooked. I began looking for that perfect flight path like a surfer looks for the perfect wave. And I began realizing how everything in disc golf related to life, my happiness, my health, and this focussed state which kept me so grounded. I felt better about living my life after every round.

I began to realize that just because you grow up doesn’t mean your too old to enjoy anything anymore. I began noticing many little things that made me happy and showing those things gratitude. Disc golf hit me like a wave and continues to give me strength and happiness. It is a meditative practice. It is Zen.

Patrick McCormick
– Author of Zen & The Art of Disc Golf
– Host of The Zen Disc Golf Podcast

Image courtesy of @nicholas_foster from Instagram

One thought on “DISCS & ZEN – What Disc Golf Taught Me About Life

  1. Thank you for this awesome post! I too am painfully introverted, but I find that when I’m playing a private round (I do this frequently to find my center), I also find people at the park for their daily walks watching me and asking me questions about what I’m doing. I always stop to tell them about the sport and even invite them to throw one of my discs. I’ve seen a few of these walkers later carrying their own starter kit and giving it a run of their own! I’ve even taken to coaching some of the students at my school that don’t play the mainstream sports and playing mini tournaments with them! Even though I consider myself the world’s most “OK” disc golfer, it has become a passion of mine that has caused me to come out of the old introverted shell I grew up in for over 40 years!

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