Lissa Buzzelli is a Burbank High graduate who grew up in town playing many sports. Golf wasn’t one of them and she didn’t know much about DeBell Golf Club until just a few years ago.
Now she is not only a familiar face, but a big fan of a fast-growing game that is played on DeBell’s short course on Sunset Canyon Drive.
Buzzelli is hooked on disc golf.
“I started playing about two and a half years ago. A friend of mine introduced us to it for fun,” said Buzzelli who graduated from Burbank High in 1981. “Sports has always been in life. So when she said this is a sport that anyone can play, I immediately got hooked. It is the same thing as golf except you are using discs.”
Buzzelli said she had been playing twice a week at DeBell, but has cut back to once a week as a result of Covid-19.
Disc golf has been around at DeBell since 2012 when a joint effort by the operators of DeBell, the City of Burbank and Innova Champions Discs installed the necessary equipment to make the course playable.
DeBell General Manager Jeff Hastings said the sport has become more popular recently.
“Since we opened up again after our shutdown due to COVID-19, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in disc golf play, up nearly 150 percent versus previous years,” Hastings said.
Hastings said his staff is willing to help anyone who wants to learn about it.
“Disc golf provides a great respite for those looking to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise all while being able to socially distance. We’ve seen an influx in new disc golfers as well,” he said. “Our staff is extremely knowledgeable, and we focus on creating a great experience for our guests. Therefore, we are here to help with any questions that new disc golfers may have with regards to how to play, rules, and some tips on how to become a better player.”
Buzzelli said one of the things that attracted her to the sport is the unpredictability.
“You never have the same game because you are out there with the condition. It is a fun sport and I love that it is growing quite a bit,” she said.
The sport has just a few courses in the Los Angeles area that are strictly for disc golf. Buzzelli said the first course created in California is the Oak Grove Course at Hahamonga Watershed Park, which is across the street from La Canada High School and adjacent to Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. There are also disc golf courses in Whittier and Long Beach.
Now that she has played in a few tournaments and become hooked on the sport, Buzzelli said she is learning the finer points of the game.
“You are using your body and there is a special technique to throw the disc. It’s not just Frisbee,” she said, noting that the equipment is not nearly as expensive as it is for regular golf. “It is discs that are designed and cut just to play the sport. You have drivers for long distance. You have mid range and you have putters. The putting is heavier and more stable and you just fly straight because you are putting from close range. Mid range it can only go so far and a driver you have it cut thin so it cuts through the wind or air when you throw it right.”
Buzzelli said finding the right discs are no different than getting the right golf clubs.
“You have to find what works best for you. There are so many discs,” she said. “Your arm speed matters, your technique matters and that disc may not work for you so you keep trying other discs until you find the one that works.”
Hastings said next month DeBell will host a “Virtual Disc Golf League.”
The league will consist of two practice rounds and four league rounds. Players will be put in to brackets based upon their practice round scores. The winners will be determined at the end of four weeks of league play. Scores will be submitted online and players will have a month to complete their four league rounds.
Disc golf fees at DeBell are the same as for regular golf on the Par 3 course. They are $5 for adults on weekdays and $3 for non-Burbank resident juniors. On weekends, it is $7 for adults and $5 for non-resident juniors. It is always free for Burbank juniors.
For more information, call (818) 845-0022.