A ZEN CONVERSATION – Part 3 – “On Course Upkeep”

[An ongoing interview between the gurus of the mental side of disc golf – Patrick McCormick author of Zen & the Art of Disc Golf and Tim Seward of MindBodyDisc.com]

Tim:  So I think all of this leads to one of my favorite hot button topics.  Taking care of our courses.  I was absolutely thrilled to see you devote some time in your book to this.  This is one of my soap box topics and I’m super passionate about it.  Not just in the basic stuff like picking up after yourself, hitting the garbage can, picking up garbage you see left around, and not breaking stuff.  But also in club work days.

Patrick:  Taking care of our courses is on the top of the list of things that are going to grow this sport. We must show people the beauty this game has to offer in order for them to see it’s not all about lobbing “frisbees” in the woods. This is one of the reasons why I try to share a beautiful disc golf image a day on my Instagram and Facebook, hoping people share with others and show them the beauty that a disc golf course has to offer. Taking care of the course begins with people playing the course. Clubs do great jobs of assisting and maintaining, but even 1 day a week of maintenance can’t keep up with 6 days of destruction.

Tim:   I, unfortunately, end up working during most of our club work days, but I know we have a semi hard time getting any good number of people to show up for them.  I also know our club is not alone in that regard.  But even outside of formally organized work days, there are other things people can do.  I know I’ll grab a garbage bag or two once a week and just pick up as much trash as I can find in a round.

Patrick:  Taking pride and ownership. That’s number 1. Treat the course as if it is your home. I would hope you just don’t throw trash in your yard, or destroy lawn furniture you paid for. Take some responsibility for your course. You may not have trashed it, but if you can fix it, do it!

Tim:   Why do you think it’s so difficult to get the bulk of the disc golfers out there to embrace this concept?  Is it a large global problem, or is it just a handful of inconsiderate people who make the rest of us look bad?  What do you think are some possible solutions to this?

Patrick:  When people do not have “skin in the game” it’s easier for them to destroy. This is just going to be the nature of a low cost to enter sport. I’m not advocating that it shouldn’t be, but it is a fact – people who don’t have skin in the game or do not take pride and ownership in something also do not respect it. You and I, we respect disc golf. It’s hard for us to imagine trashing a course. Sometimes the course is trashed by non-disc golfers and sometimes it is merely something to do while you enjoy other not-so-legal activities. Either way it’s difficult to say what the answer is. But the development of pride and ownership in general is the key.

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