DGA was established in 1976 as the founding company of disc golf by Ed Headrick in order to form a new international sport and to promote the installation and use of disc golf courses around the world.
The name Disc Golf Association (DGA) was established when Headrick coined the term “Disc Golf” after inventing and patenting the original Disc Pole Hole to be installed in the first formal disc golf course. Headrick had originally wanted to call the device a Frisbee Pole Hole but ran into issues over the Frisbee trademarked belonging to Wham-O.
Prior to founding the sport of disc golf Ed Hedrick worked at Wham-O toys where he served as Executive vice president and General Manager. While at Whan-O, Ed invented the Modern Day Frisbee U.S. Patent #3359678 and was instrumental in organizing contests and tournaments like the World Frisbee Championships at the Rose Bowl.
During the era when Ed started the Disc Golf Association (DGA), Headrick also founded the International Frisbee Association (IFA), the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), and the Recreational Disc Golf Association (RDGA). He standardized the rules and the equipment for the fast-growing sport. Ed released his trademark term “Disc Golf” to the general public and in 1983 Ed opened control and administration of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) to the growing body of disc golf players to continue the promotion of the sport around the world.
“Steady” Ed, the father of disc golf on Johnny Carson showing off toys he created like the Frisbee, the super-ball and the wheely bar. Rare early footage of Ed Headrick the many who invented Disc Golf.
We used to say that Frisbee is really a religion, “Frisbyterians”, we’d call ourselves. When we die, we don’t go to purgatory. We just land up on the roof and lay there.
“Steady” Ed Headrick, died in his sleep early Monday, August 12, 2002, at his home in La Selva Beach. He was 78.
No services were planned, but there was an open house and a party to celebrate his life.
Headrick, who had high blood pressure, had suffered two strokes while attending the Professional Disc Golf Association 2002 Amateur World Championships in Miami.
The strokes left him paralyzed on his left side and weak on the right. Still, he had remained in high spirits even signing autographs on Frisbees from his bed at a Miami hospital. He returned home to California Aug. 6 after doctors determined that physical therapy would not aid his recovery and that his condition would continue to deteriorate.
Headrick’s ashes are molded into a limited number of memorial flying discs. A memorial fund has been be created by the family that was used to establish and found “The Ed Headrick Memorial Museum”.
“The Ed Headrick Memorial Museum”, is home to the Disc Golf Hall of Fame, and showcases many historical items from the early days of our sport.
As per his wishes, his ashes were incorporated into a limited number of discs. The discs were given to friends and family and the limited remaining discs will be sold with all proceeds from the sales going to a nonprofit fund for the “Steady” Ed Memorial Disc Golf Museum at the PDGA International Disc Golf Center in Columbia County, Georgia.
The frisbee world lost it’s founding father today. “Steady” Ed (PDGA #001) Headrick died at 3:30 AM today (12th August 2002). He was surrounded by his loving family and close friends at his home in California. “Steady” ED suffered a stroke while attending the PDGA Amateur Worlds at Kendall Park in Florida. He suffered another stroke while at the hospital.
Although his condition was grave, “Steady” Ed continued to hang on. He still had his sense of humor. However, his condition was starting to deteriorate. The strokes left him paralyzed and unable to speak. It was only a matter of time before he would leave this world.
“Steady” Ed did not want a funeral. He wanted everyone to have a party. To celebrate life.
“Steady” Ed touched the lives of millions of people from around the world. He was the father of frisbee and disc golf. He dedicated his life to spreading the joy and fun of the frisbee game and especially disc golf. His vision, enthusiasm and selflessness has given us a way of life that will endure until we come to the last disc golf hole.
For those of you who are not old timers, “Steady” Ed invented the Wham-O Pro Model frisbee in 1964, founded the IFA in 1969, the WFC Rose Bowl events in 1974, hired Dan “Stork” Roddick in 1975, invented the Disc Pole Hole and created the DGA in 1976. He installed nearly 800 disc golf courses in 20 countries. He was a husband and father of 4 children. He was my friend, my mentor and butt kicker when I needed it. He was our ambassador, our disc golf renaissance man.
We urge everyone who was touched by this great man to hold a moment of silent celebration in his honor and memory. If you can do it, then present your “Steady” Ed Memorial Disc Golf or frisbee event for the world to enjoy. And, never forget the man who gave you the game that you love to play. Play it again for the man you once loved. And then, play it again!
“Steady” Ed said, “Disc Golf will change your life!” It changed mine, big time! We will surely miss him!