There are many things you can do with “flying discs” besides just throwing them to (or at) your buddy standing 20 feet in front of you. For instance, there is disc golf and Ultimate Frisbee.
I participated in disc golf for the first time about two weeks ago and I had a blast! Granted my game needs some work, but I fared a lot better than I suspected I would. I have played Ultimate in the past as well, but just in pickup games with friends.
So, if you are not familiar with these two activities/sports you may be curious what the difference is.
To briefly explain in my own words, “Ultimate” is the more intense of the two. Usually played seven on seven, the game generally takes place on a field with one team defending its “goal” or “end zone” and the other team trying to score. You must continuously pass to your teammates on offense, and you have to immediately stop when you catch the disc. If you do not pass it within a given time period (usually 10 seconds) then a turnover ensues, giving the other team possession.
“Disc golf” on the other hand is, well, like golf with a flying disc. You start off at a “tee” and get a certain number of throws to make par. The goal is to ultimately get it in the basket at the end of each turn. Much like golf, lowest score wins.
Of course there are more rules and regulations to learn, but now that you have my shortened version of how each is played, allow me to go over some places to accomplish said activities.
Cass Benton Hills in Northville (Hines Park) is a gorgeous 18-hole course. The terrain is hilly, with some open areas and a lot of wooded areas as well. Get there early, this course fills up quickly! Par is 65.
Freedom Park in Canton (Sheldon Road, right after Palmer Road) is where I played at. It is a nine-hole course with concrete tees. There are some wooded areas (where my disc ended up once or twice). It is a bit flatter than Cass Benton Hills. Par is 28.
Bandemer Park in Ann Arbor (N. Main Street at Lakeshore Drive) is another nine-hole course. It is a tightly wooded area and more of a “finesse” course with a variety of drives. Par is 33.
There are several other fun and beautiful disc golf courses around Metro Detroit; including a few courses at the Metroparks.
Now let’s talk about some places to play Ultimate. Whether you are looking for a pickup game or looking to join a league, you have options.
Detroit Ultimate Frisbee League organizes summer leagues in Detroit. Whether you are a novice or an Ultimate veteran, DUFL has a league for you. The league plays at Fort Wayne in Detroit and focuses on growing the sport in the city. Summer leagues have already started, but keep an eye out for more opportunities. You must be at least 18 to participate.
Dearborn Ultimate is for those of you looking to play a pickup game. No commitment or registration necessary! Come on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Stout Middle School for some high quality competition. No experience is needed, just come out and have a good time. All you are asked to bring is a white shirt and a dark (non-gray) shirt in order to separate teams.
Southfield Ultimate is also a group of players who get together and play a pickup game. The games take place at the Southfield Civic Center. These disc throwers play every Monday at 6 p.m. The skill level here is a bit more competitive and experienced. Again, remember a white shirt and colored (non-gray) shirt. If the Civic Center fields are occupied the group plays up the street at Birney School.
Rochester-Troy Summer Ultimate meets at Firefighters Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. from April through October. All skill levels are invited and the rule about bringing two shirts also applies here. The players here are willing to help newbies learn as they go. This is another pickup-style group that started with 10 people back in 2005 and since has grown to more than 400 people!
So, there you have it. There are a plethora of opportunities to hone your skills in either Ultimate or disc golf. Hopefully you were able to learn about each sport or at least able to learn about where to play. Now, go be active! It’s good for your health.