Disc Golf Inventor Ed Headrick who lived in La Selva, California near Santa Cruz


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Ed Headrick

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About Disc Golf - or as some of us annoying players from the old days call "Frisbee Golf"

Disc Golf inventor Ed Hedrick not only provided many improvements to a sport destined to grow and find its way, he also shaped disc golf in countless ways. Creating the most popular professional model Frisbee with its band of raised ridges called the Rings of Headrick in 1964, he continued to push the limits with never-seen passion by developing the first pole with a chain basket or "hole" similar to traditional golf.

Creating a sport he believed anyone could play, he designed the first disc course in Pasadena. Early games used targets of trees, trash cans, light poles, chicken wire baskets and pipes. The game was formalized by Heidrickk's first Disc Pole Hole catching devise, consisting of 10 chains hanging in a parabolic shape over an upward opening basket, US Patent 4,039,189, issued 1975.

His first Disc Golf Course was designed and built that same year in Pasadena, California's Oak Grove Park and became an instant success. Heidrick's imprint on the sport would not stop. He also founded the Professional Disc Golf Association in 1975, which he turned over to the players in 1983.  Headrick’s inventions include the Wham-O Superball that sold over twenty-million units and the utility patent for the modern day Frisbee, which has sold over 200 million. Headrick led the advertising program, was Vice President of Research and Development, Executive Vice President, General Manager and served as CEO for Wham-O Inc. over a ten year period. In a deal that gave his company rights to earnings, Headrick  took credit for over $18 million in earnings under his umbrella, but the CEO received only a paycheck. Frisbee is now owned by Mattel Toy Manufacturers, only one of at least sixty manufacturers of flying discs. Wham-O sold over one hundred million units before the selling the toy to Mattel.

Designing over 200 courses throughout his career, today there are almost 1000 Disc Golf Courses in the United States with around 3,000,000 regular players and over 20,000 professional members of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA).

Ed Headrick, father of the modern Frisbee and designer of Wham-O's first "professional model" flying disc, died at the age of 78. Partially paralyzed after suffering two strokes at a disc golf tournament in Miami, before Headrick passed away, he left a legacy and some thoughts to chew on. With every member of his family avid disc golf players, nothing was sacred, Headrick once said that  Frisbyterians were members of a religion. "When we die, we don't go to purgatory. We just land up on the roof and lay there.''

Headrick's last wish was to have his ashes molded into memorial flying discs to be given to a select few family and friends. Steady Ed,' as friends called him, saw his request as passion incarnate.

For example, he took the entire family to Tahiti back in the 1960's, toting  six cases of Wham-O Toy Co. Hula Hoops with them. The family gave them away and showed people how to do it. They also introduced the Frisbee there. Headrick was a man who longed to make people smile. After high school, former classmates invited him to join their budding company, called Wham-O. Headrick jumped at the chance to follow his inventive instincts and joined their successful venture in Emeryville.

An Abbreviated History of Disc Golf, by "Steady" Ed Headrick, the father of Disc Golf and of the modern day Frisbee.
The Discoblus
Early targets
The first course
The first catching device
33 Years With The Frisbee
Sears and water heaters
The Frisbee
IFA - International Frisbee Association
The first Masters Competition