I have wanted disc golf to become a mainstream sport for many years so more people would play and appreciate what a great sport it is. I am sad to say, I don't think what I and many others have wanted for a long time, will happen any time soon. The biggest reason I see for this is that the sport seems to be too linked with the drug culture. Even though drugs are becoming more acceptable in our society, I don’t think the majority of people want to participate in sports or other events that are associated so closely with drug use.
I have been working to get disc golf more mainstream for many years, but those of us who want this are fighting against a culture that is not focused on the sport of disc golf. They say perception is reality and the reality is that most people perceive disc golf is a bunch of stoners smoking pot that go out in the park and throw a disc once in a while.
Most people also feel that the use of drugs is closely related to crime in general, therefore disc golfers get associated with crime as well. I know of 2 courses in the twin cities that were closed over the past couple years because of vandalism of the courses and surrounding park area and yards by disc golfers. I also have read about several other courses around the country that were also closed for the same reasons.
You don’t hear about regular golf courses, or a baseball, football, or soccer fields closed for those reasons, because it is assumed that if there is vandalism, it was not done by the people involved in those sports. The problem may not even be caused by disc golfers, but anytime something happens in those parks, it is assumed that the disc golfers are to blame, because of the association with drugs and crime.
One of my favorite disc golf manufactures, Vibram, looks like they are either supporting drugs, or trying to get sales from reaching out to the pot smoking culture with their newest disc, 420. I know pot is legal in some states now, and I personally don't think it's a good thing to do but that's not the point. Smoking pot is not part of what most people do, which tends to exclude and push away the majority of the population from the sport because of the perception associated with it.
When Vibram brings the use of drugs into the sport in such a public way, it sets the sport back years in trying to get more families and younger kids involved in the sport, and it turns off the parents to letting their kids play. I am sorry to see Vibram take this turn. I really like the discs that they make and thought that they were working to get disc golf a more mainstream and more acceptable sport.
As you can see from my previous articles and reviews of Vibram products, I am a fan. They sent me a 420 disc to try and review; I have had it for 8 months and have not even thrown it once. I just can’t support that part of disc golf. The whole sports world is anti-drug but disc golf is not, and that is a problem.
I do think disc golf can become a mainstream sport, but we have to focus on how much fun the sport is, how it's good exercise, how it is a real competitive sport that you really need to be an athlete to be good at it. If disc golf got more mainstream, more money would be put into the sport, it could even get on TV which would make it a legitimate sport, and once more people were playing it, it would continue to get more and more popular when people started to see what a great sport it is. We need to support the sport and not promote drug use if we ever want disc golf to be taken seriously. Let me know if you agree, or you think I’m wrong.