JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Whether it’s for exercise, relaxation, or spending time outdoors, several Joint Base San Antonio members are discovering the benefits of playing disc golf.
Along with traditional golf and other recreational activities, disc golf is providing an outlet for JBSA members who want to enjoy the outdoors and stay active, without having to spend lots of money on equipment or course fees.
Petty Officer 1st Class Steve Comacho, Navy Talent Acquisition Group San Antonio leading petty officer and accessor at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, said disc golf provides a good way for him to de-stress.
“It’s super relaxing,” Comacho said. “It’s a real low-pressure sport. You can really go out and relax and have a good time. If you want to go out and just walk the course and play by yourself, you don’t have to call ahead for reservations to make sure you can get a tee time.”
Disc golf is similar to regular golf, but instead of using clubs to hit a ball into a small cup on a hole, players throw a frisbee-like disc at a basket called a target placed on each hole. Every hole has a tee area that players start their throws from, with players seeking to complete each hole in the lowest number of total throws.
Just like regular golf, scoring is based on par - the score standard for each hole on a course.
Comacho, who has children ages 13 and six, said disc golf is a sport people can enjoy playing by themselves, with friends or co-workers, or with their families, regardless of skill level or age.
“It’s something I can take the kids to go out and do,” he said. “They love it. I got a basket in my backyard and my kids will take the disc out of the garage and go out there and practice in the backyard.”
Kenneth Boyce, JBSA’s Randolph Oaks Golf Course manager, said he and his seven-year-old started playing disc golf at a course near their home in Helotes in the spring. Boyce said they began to take up the sport during the pandemic so his son would have a chance to get out of the house and expend some energy after spending a day of doing virtual schooling.
Disc golf is also a good way for people to stay healthy and active, Boyce said.
“What’s better than being in the outdoors for a couple of hours, away from the stresses of everyday life and being out in the sunshine and the fresh air,” he said. “And, you get your step count in. Typically, when I play 18 holes at the disc golf course near my home in Helotes, it’s 6,000 to 7,000 paces.”
Comacho said disc golf can provide a strong workout because most of the courses are built around hiking and walking trails.
“The health benefits are the same as you would get from going on a walk, maybe carrying a weighted bag,” he said. “Even on a small course, you will at least get a mile in. You could average two to three-and-half miles, depending on the length of the course.”
The sport is fairly inexpensive because the equipment, a starter set of three discs, a driver, mid-range and putter, costs $20 to $30.
Comacho said he knows of several people within the military community who are into disc golf. He has also met veterans and military family members at disc golf courses in the area.
Boyce also met members of the military community while playing at a disc golf course near his home. It was by meeting them that Boyce came up with the idea of JBSA hosting a disc golf tournament at one of the installation’s golf courses.
His idea came to fruition when the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Golf Course held a disc golf tournament Oct. 23, a first-time event for JBSA. The tournament drew 38 players.
Fernando Brown, 502nd Force Support Squadron assistant flight chief, community services, said the tournament was considered a success, exceeding expectations for turnout. He said hosting the tournament allowed the 502nd FSS to gauge the level of interest in the sport among JBSA members.
“We’re going to try to get feedback on which course has the potential to host this event regularly,” Brown said.
The next disc golf tournament is scheduled for Feb. 20 at the JBSA-Lackland Gateway Hills Golf Course. Tournament start time is at 12:30 p.m. and will consist of two-person teams playing a golf scramble for nine holes, then a best disc doubles for nine holes. The cost will be $30 per person, or $15 for unmarried, single military members. The entry fee includes the green and cart fees, and gift cards will be presented to players who place in the tournament.
Those interested in participating in the tournament can register at the JBSA-Lackland Gateway Hills Pro Shop or by calling 210-221-5863.