Believe it or not, there is a sport that exists thanks to a pie pan.
The Frisbie Baking Company of Bridgeport, CT crafted small pies that local college kids would buy, eat and then found that the pie pans themselves could be tossed around. The pie plates were all they had to throw around until 1948 when the Pluto Platter was invented by a Los Angeles businessman named Walter Frederick Morrison.
The Pluto Platter did not become all that popular and in 1957 a new company, Wham-O, bought the rights to it and changed the name to Frisbee (as a nod to the original pie tins) and through a successful marketing campaign saw the toy’s sales climb. In 1964, Wham-O’s inventor Ed Headrick, who would later become Director for the company, patented the Frisbee’s designs with ridges on the edge to provide a more stable flight for the plastic discs.
Early packaging of these Frisbees by Wham-O had these instructions: Play catch, invent new games. One of the invented new games become disc, or Frisbee, golf. Kids would gather with their Frisbees and decide that it would take, say, three shots to get from where they stood to a fire hydrant down the road. From there they would pick a light pole and give themselves three shots to get from the hydrant to the phone pole, and so on, eventually coming up with 18 targets that they needed to reach in a set amount of shots.
In 1976, the same Ed Headrick who had patented the Frisbee invented a metal basket that would become the disc golf target. With 18 targets laid out over a large area of land, the disc golfer is able to play from the first tee to the first basket, recording how many strokes, or throws, it took for them to complete the hole as compared to the listed course par. After navigating the 18 hole course, the score for each basket is added up and like ball golf, this represents the total number of shots it took to complete the course.
Over the years the disc golf plastic has become a much smaller, and heavier, cousin of the original Frisbee. The smaller diameter and the lower, sleeker profile allows these discs to travel much further than a traditional Frisbee.
The closest disc golf course to Bangor, Maine is located in Orrington at 265 Center Drive. Established in July 2009, it is run by two brothers, Dave and Ryan Enman, who also have a course in Caribou, Maine. DR Disc Golf course in Orrington is one of 28 courses in the state. Orrington’s grees fees are $5 for one round, or $10 all day. If you’re new and don’t have any discs, no worries. There are discs you can rent ($1) and the on-site staff can show you the course and offer advice on the different disc types and throws. They also have discs for sale as well as disc bags, towels, and marker discs.
To find a course close to you in Maine, check out the Professional Disc Golf Association’s (PDGA) Course Directory.
For now, head on over to the course in Orrington if you’re in the Bangor area and get some disc golfing into your schedule. Maine blueberry pies not included, but encouraged.