An extract from this book – Sports the Olympics Forgot.
Not everyone can afford to buy golf clubs and balls, especially when times are hard economically. In the early 1990s the golf courses along the Algarve in Portugal weren’t receiving many visitors so the club owners decided to invent a new sport called CD Golf, which in 2004 became DVD Golf.
The idea was to allow the courses to be used between 1pm and 6pm on weekdays by DVD Golfers, who would play the course using their favourite CDs or DVDs. This would create more income for the course at the slowest time of day for ordinary golfers
The idea of the game is for the golfers to throw and/or roll their DVDs from the tee to the green. Each throw/roll that’s taken counts as one shot and the pars for each hole also apply to the DVD Golfers. It’s at the green where the scoring changes as DVDs don’t fit into the holes. For DVD Golf the top of the flags are shaped into a six-inch spike. If a player lands the hole in the centre of the DVD over the top of the flagstick then three shots are removed from his score on that hole. If the DVD hits the flagstick then 1 shot is removed from that hole’s score. The golfer can also opt to roll his DVD towards the hole and if the DVD’s hole is completely over the hole in the green then two shots are taken from his score on that hole. Once the shots are removed then the golfer has his score for that hole, which is then compared against the par for that hole just like in ordinary golf. For example, on a par four hole if the golfer takes 5 shots to hit the flag then the scoring is as follows: the golfer takes five shots to hit the flag, so 1 shot is removed from the score for hitting the flag so he finishes with a score of 4 for the hole, which is the same as the par, so his score for playing the round stays the same.
Unlike proper golf, throwing a DVD out of sand or the rough is not a great penalty but there are still out of bounds for the golfers to watch out for. The only stipulation is that players may not clean their DVDs when playing a hole, even if they are covered in sand or soil. Each player is accompanied by a stance judge who ensures that the golfer does not throw the DVD from a place in advance of where it landed. There are also two new terms to use, Thunderbird and Roc. A thunderbird is when a player plays a hole in four shots under par after deductions and a roc is when a player plays a hole in 5 under par. An example of a Thunderbird was in the 2004 Portuguese Championships at Albufeira when Darren McGinty landed his DVD on top of the flag at the par 4 15th hole with his third shot
Rocs are very rare and the only one recorded in a competitive tournament was in the 1988 Estoril Classic when Julian Davies landed his DVD on the flag at the 673-yard par 5 7th hole with his third shot. Davies admitted luck played a part: “I was just trying to get the thing close to the pin but I misjudged the wind and it went higher than I expected, but the distance turned out perfectly right and you could have knocked me down with a feather when it stayed on the flag. I sprinted to the green to make sure I took the DVD off the flag myself as is indicated in the rules. It was a special moment although I had to pay for a round of drinks at the end of the round.” Davies didn’t win the tournament as he damaged his hamstring when running to the green.
The most successful player in DVD Golf history is Billy “Tweet” Bird, who has won each tournament on the circuit at least twice; his favourite tournament is the Faro Masters, which he has won eight times including a hat-trick between 1998 – 2000. Bird commented: “I can just read the wind at that course so well, especially playing into the wind when you can really fly the DVD straight at the flag and land it close. It’s the only course where you can really roll the DVD on the downwind shots too as the grass is very dry.”