If getting fit is on your list of commitments this new year, do it the fun way with some of these lesser known, unique sports played in Singapore’s pools, fields and courts. Natasha Hong gives them a go
First published on 26 Dec 2012. Updated on 2 Jan 2013.
Popular in the US and UK, disc golf is basically what it sounds like: golf played with a set of Frisbees. The aim is to use various discs (named drivers, mid-ranges and putters) – which are all smaller and have sharper edges than the average Ultimate frisbee – to reach a target (a standing basket) with the least number of throws.
There’s an 18-hole disc golf course set up along Upper Serangoon Road on a piece of land that used to be Bidadari Cemetery, which was set up informally by an American expat a few years ago. Now, it continues to serve a small but dedicated group of disc golfers here in Singapore. The course is maintained by local disc golf enthusiast Isaac Souweine – who also manages the Bidadari Disc Golf Course Facebook page – and it’s open at all times for anyone to use, but gatherings can be arranged online and Souweine will occassionally bring out newcomers to the course for a trial run.
Playing on modified rules, targets here are PVC pipes you have to hit, as they leave a smaller footprint on the public land. ‘They’re a little less intrusive and the groundskeepers leave them alone,’ he says. At our session, Souweine lent us a spare set of discs, and we found the game pretty easy to pick up. Basic backhand and forehand throws you’d execute in a faster Ultimate game can be applied here, but for better control of the disc’s trajectory, try picking up techniques like the overarm tomahawk or the upside-down baseball to help get around obstacles such as trees or logs. You’re also allowed to take a running start at tee off, which helps to build momentum for a longer drive. Throws are more about technique than physicality, so even out-of-shape folks can play effectively.
Each hole in the 18 at the Bidadari Disc Golf Course is a par three – which means that it should take three throws to hit the target – and like golf, your score is a tabulation of the total number of throws you took to finish the course, though Souweine assures us that finishing two-over (five throws per hole) is pretty decent at a beginner level.
We also recommend taking plenty of bug repellent and wearing long socks and boots to play – there’s a narrow pathway through the park, but extremely tall grass everywhere else (and you’re likely to end up in the rough). Still, it’s nice to be out in nature for a bit and it’s a pretty relaxing way to take up a sport.
Difficulty factor: 2/5. Throws can be picked up pretty easily with practice, and once you’ve got that down, you can tailor your shots to each situation.
Equipment required: You can complete the course with a single disc, but advanced players often have a set that includes more accurate discs such as putters and mid-range ones. The discs can be purchased online from an overseas retailer like www.pdgastore.com for around $12/disc.
Training days: None.
How to join: No formal registration is necessary to play at the disc golf course – just pop by whenever you want. The Bidadari Disc Golf Course Facebook page is a good place to meet other disc golf players and organise a group round. com for around $12/disc.