History of Disc Golf

By Jim Palmeri & Steve Lambert

Revisions provided by Eric Vandenberg


Early 1950's

On the east coast, Bill Robs markets the Space Saucer in college campus book stores. In 1954 the first "Frisbee match" was held at Dartmouth College. Morrison improves his invention with a second disc, the Pluto Platter with the now famous "Play catch - invent games" engraved on the back. Was disc golf one of these games?


Late 1950's

Wham-o begins marketing Morrison's Pluto Platter in 1957 using the name "Wham-o Frisbee". In 1958, the first International Frisbee Tournament was held in Eagle Harbor, MI.



Copar Company of Chicago markets a disc called "Sky Saucer" that included a rule book for the game of "Sky Golf".



Wham-o introduces the "Official Pro Model" to be used for sports.


1964 - 1969

George Sappenfield organizes several Frisbee golf events in southern California.



Disc enthusiasts introduce the concept of disc golf to other parts of the country. "Object Courses" using anything from lamp poles to fire hydrants as targets begin to crop up in the Midwest and East Coast.



The first "Frisbee Club" was formed in Rochester, NY; disc golf played on regular basis.


Flying Disc World becomes the first magazine for disc sports.



Installation of the first permanent disc golf course in Oak Grove Park, La Canada, California. Wham-o introduces the World Class 119g disc, a marked improvement in discs for competitive sports.


Ed Headrick invents the chain-style disc golf target and organizes the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA).



The first PDGA tournaments are held simultaneously in Northern New Jersey and Mobile, Alabama, the modern era of disc golf competition begins.



The PDGA becomes a player-run organization to schedule tournaments and formalize the rules of play. Harold Duvall wins the first PDGA World Disc Golf Championships.



Dave Dunipace of INNOVA-Champion Discs invents the modern golf disc, a plastic flying disc with a beveled edge rim for greater distance and accuracy.


PDGA begins publication of "Disc Golfer."



Columbia Disc Golf News begins publication; the first magazine for disc golf.



The World Flying Disc Federation organizes the first "World Championships" held outside of the United States, in Helsingborg, Sweden. Players from 21 countries attend. Around the world, players continue to lobby parks departments and college campuses for more disc golf courses. By the end of the decade, permanent disc golf courses are installed in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Japan.



Disc Golf World News begins publication.


1990 - 2002

Ken Climo of Clearwater, Florida wins an unprecedented eleven world championships establishing himself as the greatest disc golfer to have ever lived.



Lavone Wolfe establishes the PDGA Hall Of Fame. Dave Dunipace is among the first inductees to the Hall of

Fame. The PDGA begins to chronicle the history of disc golf.



INNOVA introduces the DISCatcher Disc Golf Target and begin to promote new courses. In the next 5 years, the number of disc golf courses triples to over 1200.



The inaugural United States Disc Golf Championship is held in Rock Hill, SC. Ken Climo is the first to win and be crowned the U.S. Champion... he will win it 3 more times...



The number of permanent disc golf courses in the United States surpasses 1000.



Disc Golf becomes a featured sport in the World Games in Akita, Japan.


Disc golf continues to grow with more courses,

more tournaments, more players and more fun!


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