Passionate Disc Golf Pioneer Helps Grow the Sport and Industry

Doug Hay

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In 1976 Bill Wright was a senior at Wheat Ridge High and a self described “aspiring hippy.” Wright played baseball and tennis at the varsity level but he was “done being coached” so he turned to frisbee sports to satisfy his  competitive nature. In its infancy at the time, there was a freedom and a family vibe that pulled Wright towards these sports.

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Oak Grove, CA. The site of the first dedicated disc golf course

At about the same time Wright entered CSU as a freshman, Ed Headrick considered the godfather of frisbee sports built the first frisbee golf course in Oak Grove, CA.

 A few courses started to pop up around Colorado, one of the first to Wright’s recollection being built in Pueblo in 1977 and billed as the Pueblo City Course.

Circa 1978, CSU Students play the on campus course which has been defunct since 2003. Note the tape on pole and basketless “hole”.

Meanwhile, Wright and his group of frisbee fanatic friends simply placed tape around light poles on the CSU campus and designed their own campus course. 

This course was altered a few times over the years due to some broken dorm room windows on a few of the tighter holes and other similar mishaps, but an on campus course was present until the flood of 2003.

Headrick continued efforts to improve and codify Disc Golf.  In 1977 he patented the design for the Disc Pole Hole, the ubiquitous chained basket seen on nearly every course today. In 1984 he started the Professional Disc Golfers’ Association of which there are now over 100,000 members.

Bill Wright, PDGA member 2,977, also pursued his passion for all things disc and opened The Wright Life store on the corner of Walnut and Linden streets in Old Town Fort Collins in 1981, where it still stands. Wright credits Innova’s beveled edge disc released in 1983 for jump starting a series of  technological innovations that made the sport of disc golf more appealing to other businesses and more accessible to the casual disc golfer. The sports growth and popularity can be evidenced by the 182 registered disc golf courses in Colorado and a disc selection at Wright Life that started with 25 different discs in 1981 and now boasts nearly 1,000 disc options.    

So join the fun, get out and experience the beauty of Colorado and the freedom of disc golf today.

Interested in other disc sports look for our RamPage feature on Ultimate Frisbee on April 10

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