Safety issues
and disc golf


Disc Golf Safety

Visitors to the Golden Gate Park disc golf course rarely hear words of warning such as "fore!" There's no need, as casual pedestrians long ago gave up the area to the exclusive use of the disc golfers. 

Driving is one of the more dangerous aspects of disc golf as it pertains to pedestrians. Players should always be aware of their surroundings before a drive. It is common to yell "Fore" before a drive on holes from which the target cannot be seen from the tee pad. Groups that have finished the hole yell "clear!" to signify they are clear of the target area. If a player is about to drive and want to know if there are players in the target area, they may yell "clear on hole 12", and if players are in the target area they may yell "no" or if they have vacated the area they will yell "clear on hole 12!". Players use these terms to alert other groups when finishing the hole as well as approaching groups to find out if the hole is ready for play. This also gives pedestrians a chance to react if they do not realize they are on a disc golf course.
-- from the Wikipedia page on disc golf

 Sport discs aren't your dog's frisbees

How fast do these discs fly?
Watch these four "pros" unwind their shots.



These highly engineered...

...plastic flying discs typically travel several hundred feet at highway speeds in a frequently unpredictable manner, depending on the strength and skill of each individual player.

In fact, disc companies boast about their products being faster and going farther than the competition.

If the leading edge of the disc is very sharp, the disc will tend to be faster and fly farther because there is less wind resistance. Most long-range drivers have sharp leading edges which allows them to fly faster and farther.
from A Guide to Disc Golf

Wind speed and direction also affects the flight of each disc.  McLaren Park is located in the Alemany Gap between Twin Peaks and San Bruno Mountain, which often channels gusty winds off the Pacific Ocean. Even with a perfect throw, on a windy day discs could easily veer wildly off course.  

The largest pass through the city is the Alemany Gap immediately north of San Bruno Mountain. The wind and fog often flow from Lake Merced along the route of Alemany Boulevard reaching San Francisco Bay near Hunters Point. One branch of the Alemany Gap extends through Visitacion Valley, channeling the streamlines toward the Bayshore and around Bayview Hill to Candlestick Park, where it collides with another streamline from the main Alemany Gap by way of Hunters Point. Now you know the reason why it is so windy at Candlestick Park.
--from San Francisco Weather - Weird and Wacky

Watch for flying discs!

Consider a regular golf course. Sure, if you're part of the game, it's no problem. Everyone hangs out at the tee until the last player has swung, then the whole group wanders towards the pin as each player duffs into the rough or hits it straight down the fairway or loses the ball in a hazard and takes a mulligan. Everyone playing has a good idea of where everyone else is, and no one really worries about getting hit by an errant ball. But as a non-involved pedestrian on an active sports course, would you want to just wander around, looking at the pretty flowers and getting lost in your thoughts? Could you? Is a relaxing amble still the same when you have to be constantly on-guard?

Disc golfers cannot safely and equitably share the park with all of the varied present users of the proposed course area. Disc golf is simply incompatible with the concept of passive recreation. Disc golf will fundamentally change the character of McLaren Park to a de facto dedicated disc course that pedestrians are technically allowed to use but rarely do because of all the high speed discs whizzing around.  This has already happened at the Golden Gate Park disc golf course.

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