As any course grows and attracts more new players, the more important it is to educate these new players on disc golf etiquette, especially when it comes to what to do with a disc they just found.
I like to give each person the benefit of the doubt when it comes to keeping a found disc. For some reason, people are overcome with the excitement of a disc they randomly came across in the woods. Woohoo! What luck! Something for free! The moral compass of their brain usually shuts off and they lose all sense of right versus wrong. I know. I've been there.
In my early days of disc golf I was on vacation out of state and found a beatup DX Banshee with some guy's name and number on it. I had no clue if there was a lost and found anywhere and because I wasn't from the area, I figured I'd keep it and maybe run into the guy later in the round. Yeah right, but that's what my brain tricked me into thinking. It's stupid, but true. (This was also before cell phones, so I couldn't even call the guy from the course.)
So, I returned to MA and months later found myself teeing off on hole 14 at Maple Hill over the water. I did what most newbs do and pulled out the sacrifical lamb, the DX Banshee, and chucked it over the pond. Because I had a weeny arm back then and was still very afraid of throwing anywhere near water, I overcompensated and threw way left of the pond and into the netting that used to protect the other fairway.
After some looking, course owner Steve Dodge called out, "Found it," and gives me a Boy am I disappointed in you look. He had flipped the disc over and saw that it wasn't mine. He didn't say anything, but the look just about made me want to confess to murder.
It was then that I learned my lesson, or maybe it just finally occurred to me that, duh, you're not supposed to keep a disc you found that is clearly marked with another's info. How simple and easy, but for whatever reason many players, both new and experienced, think it is okay to use a found disc without even trying to contact the person. That's just not cool.
Since then, I've had a few discs turn up in the Devens lost and found where I have called the person and he's told me he's never even been to the course! Others have been totally excited to get their discs back while others say, "That's cool, but you can keep it." I once found a disc at a course in Pooler, GA and the guy left work and came over to get his disc right away. Sometimes I get adult beverages and food from grateful owners, so returning discs can be a good thing!
There are good people out there. Are you going to be one of them?
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