Prior to DGA, a precursor to the game of disc golf was played by a few devoted Frisbee players throwing Frisbees at carefully chosen “golf holes”… usually drinking fountains, fire hydrants, garbage cans and light poles and the rules were made up on the spot. It was during this time that competitive freestyle had reached a critical mass with frisbee tournaments composed of distinct freestyle skill events. Frisbee golf made its début at a couple of these events in 1974 and 1975 as side activities to the main events comprising of competitive freestyle, focused on trick throws and acrobatic catches. The huge potential of disc golf as a formal sport and recognized recreational activity did not become apparent until after Headrick installed the first permanent Disc Pole Hole course and disc golf moved from a fringe of the Frisbee Freestyle movement and into the mainstream and the disc golf revolution.
In 1974, Headrick approached the county of Los Angeles Park and Recreation Department with the idea of a permanent Disc Golf Course. Sy Greben, Director of the Park Planning Division saw the potential and Oak Grove Park was selected and approval was given to install the world’s first Disc Golf Course. Headrick and Mary Becker from the Park Planning Division designed and constructed the course with the county. In 1976 Ed replaced his Pole Holes which were just poles cemented into the ground with the first DGA Disc Pole Hole that where the first disc golf targets to use chains to stop a disc.
The game was formalized when Headrick invented the first Disc Pole Hole™ catching device, consisting of 10 chains hanging in a parabolic shape over an upward opening basket, (US Patent 4,039,189, issued 1975). The Disc Pole Hole™ became the equivalent to ball golf’s “hole” and was installed in the first standardized target course (what was then known as Oak Grove Park Pasadena, California). Ed had said one of his many inspirations for the “Disc Pole Hole™” invention was so he and his buddies could get on with playing instead of arguing over whether someone actually had hit one of the objects in their makeshift object courses. which Ed Headrick was one of the main driving forces of early Frisbee sports. Headrick founded the International Frisbee Association, established the Junior Frisbee Championships, established and organized the World Frisbee Championship and went on to create and standardize the sport of Disc Golf.