Lloyd Park golfers switch their clubs for frisbees in ‘Ryder Cup’

Croydon has the only disc golf course in the country that's free to use. Photo: Jim Barg

Croydon has the only disc golf course in the country that's free to use. Photo: Jim Barg

The club chairman refers to the tournament as ‘our Ryder Cup.’ The format is similar: players spend the morning playing singles matches and the afternoon paired up in doubles teams.

After two days of play, the team with the most points is the winner.

But it’s not golf as you know it. It’s disc golf, and Croydon is home to one of Britain’s best clubs.

The Hyzer Cup is a two-leg match-play tournament scheduled to begin at Quarry Park in Warwickshire on November 29. The return leg at Lloyd Park is tentatively scheduled for mid-January.

The tournament was held for the first time in 2008, and it’s now seen as supplementary to Croydon Disc Golf Club’s main season, which runs from February to October.

Club chairman Richard Wood laughed: “It’s great fun. The banter is pretty brutal, it starts on the website weeks beforehand, and the bragging rights last a whole year.”

Players such as Neil Prebble are eager to test themselves and to defend the crown won last year.

“We’re looking forward to playing with good professional players,” Mr Prebble said. “They educated a lot of us with mistakes we made. They improved my game straight away by 10 yards, just by showing a decent way of throwing.”

Disc golf is best explained as standard golf played with frisbees, save for the lack of hazards on the course. Players are still at the mercy of the weather however, with wind being a particularly devious element to cope with.

Lloyd Park is one of just 17 disc golf courses in the country and it is the only one available to play at free of charge.

In 2005, Mr Wood saw an episode of Soccer AM in which the game was mentioned. Trips to the United States, where there are more than 2,000 clubs nationwide, also fuelled his interest.

Within a few months, Mr Wood founded the Croydon Disc Golf Club. The 18-hole course was built using a lottery grant. It remains the only free disc golf course in Britain.

“Croydon Council took a real gamble because of some blokes throwing around plastic in their park. They’ve been incredibly supportive since,” Mr Wood said.

Anyone interested in joining the club is asked to contact Wood via the club website: http://croydondiscgolf.com

Disc golf fact box

  • Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) founded in California in 1975
  • British Disc Golf Association (BDGA) tour runs from February to September
  • 10 events in total
  • 17 courses in UK, with another 3,000 globally
  • Similar to standard golf, with the exception of no hazards
  • Holes may also have mandatory obstacles to throw past (eg. trees, ponds)
  • Discs divided into drivers, putters and mid-range discs.
  • Discs also have weight limit
  • Thinner discs are more aerodynamic

PDGA streams events for viewing online.

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