Disc golf. Frisbee golf. Frolfing. Whatever you call it, in the past few years, it’s gotten big. Disc golf is played much like golf, but instead of a ball and clubs, players use flying discs. The sport is similar to golf in that the object is to complete each hole in the fewest number of strokes. It is a game that is often free and the cost for equipment is minimal. Some people simply play with one disc, others use three discs – a driver, a midrange disc and a putter.
There’s a Davenport-raised man, now living in Fargo, whose passion is disc golf. Playing, perfecting, designing courses, and creating baskets is what he does in his spare time. Quite certainly, Joey Schmit spends his days and nights dreaming, breathing and living disc golf on any given day when the North Dakota weather deems it possible. “In golf, a fairway is a big wide open space,” he says, “In disc golf, the challenge is to navigate the disc. The beauty of it is to watch the flight of the disc.”
Schmit speaks the language of disc golf in a way that the non-disc golfer can understand. He teaches the sport to those who’ve never played it in a manner that is easy and unintimidating. His excitement for the sport is enough to make anyone, even those who’ve never heard of the game, want to try it.
For Schmit, his involvement of the game goes beyond love of the sport, it exceeds passion. He’s traveled the United States, playing courses throughout. He’s gone global, playing with the national champion of Germany… IN Germany. Schmit’s frolfed the Swiss Alps and brought what he’s learned and seen back home, designing and creating disc golf courses throughout the Fargo-Moorhead area and a new course that’s set to open soon in Hawley, Minn.
The first time Schmit played disc golf, he wasn’t very good at it. That is the reason he tried it again. A self-described “go-getter” he wanted to play the sport well, but what happened went beyond that. It became his favorite pastime. Soon, he was even skipping baseball practice to go disc golfing. One night before a bonfire, he decided to create a disc golf basket, and his father, who owns a local welding shop, helped him. It was unknown to Schmit at the time that the basket would be the first of many.
When Schmit went to college in Fergus Falls, he talked the dean into letting him design and create a course at the college. The course is still there. One summer, Schmit took to the road and toured the United States, based on where the best disc golf courses were. Later, when Schmit attended Minnesota State University Moorhead, he student taught in Augsburg, Germany. He and his wife rented a flat and when he wasn’t student teaching, they traveled. During the travel in Europe, he played disc golf where he could. Before going to Germany, he found the reigning disc golf champion on YouTube, sent him a message, and arranged a game.
Now, when he isn’t teaching and tutoring at a local nonprofit organization in Fargo, Schmit is growing his business, Frolfware, and helping design and create local courses. Through Frolfware, he makes baskets for the courses or for individuals to buy, as well as customized décor to go with the courses, including garbage bins, flower planters, signs and more. “Anything custom is my forte. I don’t like to create the same thing twice,” he says.
Schmit even creates a disc golf basket each year that he donates to charity in celebration of his aunt who beat breast cancer. The basket is decorated with a cancer awareness ribbon.
His course design work can be seen in many places in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area, including courses at Davy Park in Moorhead and Trollwood Park in Fargo. Designing a course is something Schmit loves to do. He will go to the land that has been designated for use as a course, look at the big picture and create. “When I design a course, I’ll go there for a couple of days and not even bring a disc. I look at the coolest parts and find where to put a basket. I highlight the best parts of that particular area.”
Even though Schmit has played in professional tournaments and is involved with the Professional Disc Golf Association, he is dedicated to local disc golf. He plays in local leagues and gives lessons. He encourages anyone who is interested to give it a try and enjoys playing with new players. For more information on Frolfware, lessons and general disc golf, call Joey Schmit at 701.367.2905 or visit his website at frolfware.com.