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

disc golf basket

DISCS & ZEN – Welcome to Zen & The Art of Disc Golf!

About 3 years ago while playing a round of disc golf on my local course, I began pondering what it is that I love about this game so much. It is so simple. Put this disc in that basket, try to do it in the least amount of strokes possible, yet there is something that brings me back out this course to play the same holes every morning. In sunshine, in rain, in snow – there I was putting this disc in that basket.

But why? What is the appeal?

Then I realized, I already answered my question.


I began noticing that on the disc golf course, all problems melted away. All my thinking about bills, work, or family problems simply did not exist. Not that I was running from these things of course, but for one or two hours a day – I had but one simple focus – Put this disc in the basket. And try to do it better everyday.

Then I began realizing that this was not only a game but a walking meditation. I was using the experience of the game to drive focus and create flow. This focus and flow was central to fact that day to day problems didn’t seem to bother me anymore. I was becoming happy.

I began seeing everything happening around me had its equivalent on the disc golf course. Problems in life are just trees. You are going to hit some. Goals in life are like baskets. They are worth striving for. And guess what…You are going to lose a few discs on the way if you really want to play.

I found myself constantly relating life issues to my wife to their counterparts on the course, only to realize that since she was not a disc golfer – it was difficult for her to find meaning in them.

Then I had a thought – put it in a book. Zen & The Art Of Disc Golf was born. I wrote this book over a period of three years and am excited to say it is 90% completed. I really look forward to sharing it with all of you soon, until then I created this website, this blog, to begin sharing even more insight with you.

This is going to be a journey. And I want to take as many friends with me as I can. I am hoping to include articles, interviews, reviews, whatever interesting things I can that my fellow disc golfers would be interested in reading.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned!

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