Hudson column: Backyard disc courses fun

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2011

It’s hard to keep kids entertained during the summer. Trust me. I’m there in the trenches. It’s brutal.
Sure, I tell my friends and acquaintances that I’m a “sportsman,” and an “outdoors writer.” I’ve even used the phrase, “man of leisure.”
But my wife knows me as a stay-at-home dad with three kids, two dogs, two cats and a guinea pig. And one of the most important jobs I have is to keep the kids outside and away from the television during the summer.
Well, summertime child-care providers, I’m here to give you at least one additional tool in your arsenal of at-home entertainment options — backyard Frisbee golf. It’s a blast. And it is very simple. Just purchase a Frisbee for each child and you are ready to go.
I’ve found that backyard Frisbee golf is a good way to trick the children into doing repeated laps of the house all under the guise of “having fun.” First, walk outside. The spot you’re standing, wherever that may be, is the first tee box. Now pick a spot in the yard, a tree, a basketball goal, and make that the target for the first hole.
Now, think about how many throws it will take the average child to go from that spot to the target. That is par. Everybody throws their Frisbees from the starting point until the reach and hit the target. The player with the lowest score chooses the next hole.
This is one of the beautiful parts of this game. You can be as creative as you want in terms of the next hole. It can be a par-5 that goes from the side yard to the front yard. Who knows? Part of the fun is coming up with a hole that forces everybody to wrap their shot around a tree or over the roof, bringing the very hazardous gutter into play.
Once the kids get the hang of it they’ll learn the weaknesses of the other players and use their own turns to design holes that favor their own game. For instance, maybe one athletically gifted kid really has the hang of throwing the Frisbee a long way. That kid may design a hole that plays to that advantage. Maybe another child is really good at hitting targets from medium range. She may design holes that can be reached in one shot from the tee box, giving her a chance at a hole-in-one.
If your backyard isn’t big enough then there are several public places around Salisbury that you can play this improvised form of Frisbee golf. City Park, the Greenway, or even Dan Nicholas Park are all good places to try. This is a game that is easy for the parents to play with the kids. Or you can just sit back and watch them wander around the park throwing Frisbees around.
Then again, maybe you’re doing chores inside. Or maybe you’re working on a story. You could possibly even be taking a nap — assuming your kids are old enough to be playing outside without direct adult supervision. Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?