Disc Golf tips from Jessica Beckett, top-ranked female disc golfer in Maine



Wandering Acker’s Acres, one of Maine’s older disc golf locations, nestled in the backwoods of Bowdoinham, it’s easy to understand the sport’s allure. The two 18-hole courses jump over a pond teeming with turtles and bullfrogs, through pine-carpeted tree stands, and down paths that seem to lead anywhere and everywhere. 

It’s all of the pleasures that Maine has to offer, without quite as much clear-cutting and watering required for “ball” golf. 

And no one seems to enjoy it more than Jessica Beckett, Maine’s top-ranked female touring professional and the caretaker at Acker’s, doing everything from running the clubhouse to mowing the lawn. “I really don’t like to be inside,” she says of why she’s made disc golf her profession. “A lot of the courses are dog-friendly, so it’s a good dog walk. And the people are nice.” Plus, she grew up in the woods north of Farmington, and her father was a Maine Guide, so there was little chance she’d grow into an office job. 

Becket played high school basketball and softball back in the ’90s, but it wasn’t until her travels took her to Montana that she picked up a disc and started throwing it at baskets. Then, about seven years ago, back in Maine, she decided to get serious about it. 

“I was always into sports,” she says, “and my competitive nature just kind of kicked in, like, ‘oh, I’m kind of good at this.’ It’s definitely a personal sport. You can’t blame anyone else but yourself.” 

Lately, she hasn’t had anyone to blame at all. After taking top-20 finishes in the amateur worlds in North Carolina and Pennsylvania in 2017/2018, people started paying attention. Including Millennium Golf Discs, the only female-founded disc-golf company of any size and still more than 50%-owned by women, who asked her to join their squad. 

“Honestly, that’s all I had in my bag,” Beckett says, “so it just kind of fit me pretty good. I didn’t have to change much.”

That, and her continuingly strong performances, upped her into the professional ranks of the Professional Disc Golf Association, where the prize money might not be the same as the “regular” professional golf tour, but where membership is growing rapidly. In 41 sanctioned events since 2017, Beckett has taken home 17 victories; here in 2021, she has one first-place finish and two seconds. Not bad. 

And that first place was among her better wins, she says, taking out a field of 18 pro-ranked women, winning by four shots over two higher-rated players, and earning $555 at the Discmania Presents Welcome to the Jungle VI event in Fitchburg, MA. She’ll be traveling back down there shortly, she says, to provide commentary for the event video, produced to help sell the sport on YouTube and beyond. 

Already, ESPN had the Pro Tour Championship on for the first time this past December, and there’s buzz we’ll be seeing more of the sport on a variety of media in the near future. 

No wonder. Unlike many sports that are relatively inaccessible once you get past your teenage years without taking part, disc golf is something anyone can pick up and enjoy just about immediately, and lends itself to amateurs discovering they love the sport and want to try to work their way up the ranks. Most tournaments are open to just about everyone, and divisions are broken out by age groups, abilities, and gender to give everyone a shot at tasting those sweet victories. 

That’s probably why the pandemic has seen disc golf really explode: With folks looking for outdoor activities, disc golf is a cheap way to get some exercise in a low-stress environment. Maybe even blow off some steam by chucking a disc as far as you can. 

“Last summer was cool,” Beckett says. “We had a lot of families, more moms and kids last summer than I’ve ever seen. The moms might throw a little, the kids might throw a little, and now the weekends here are very busy. They’re creating more parking because it’s been so busy.”

And if you want to try your hand at competition, Acker’s (and most venues; call ahead) runs a tag league where you get paired up against a random competitor on Wednesdays, and a doubles competition, where you get paired up with a random friend, on Fridays. Just show up. 

If you want to bring a little beer and weed, that’s more than fine, too. As long as you practice basic etiquette — it’s a family-friendly environment at most courses — you’ll find most other players on the course will join you for a pop and a puff. 

Beckett says she’s partial to dabbing (that’s how she started her day when we met up for a photo shoot), but doesn’t mind a good flower and isn’t overly picky. On the beer side of things, “I like a good IPA,” she says, with a Geary’s often handy. She’s even dabbled in growing, though calls it, “nothing special.” 

Humility is part of Beckett’s brand, though, so her outdoor is probably straight fire. 

“My best professional advice,” Beckett says for those looking to get a start, “is to just let the bad shots go. Keep a smile on your face and just play your game. Anyone can play.” How good you eventually get? Like most things, she says, “It’s how much you want to practice and how far you want to take it.”

For Beckett, that’s pretty far, indeed.

Where to Play, with a Pop and a Puff

We asked Jessica Beckett for her favorite eight disc golf courses in Maine, then we paired them up with a local brewery and a local dispensary, so you know where to get supplies beforehand. Get out there this summer and enjoy all that Maine has to offer.


Acker’s Acres, 180 Dingley Rd., Bowdoinham

They don’t have a website, but you can call 207-737-2656

Hey! It’s Jessica’s home course. She can’t exactly pass it by. But she believes in the place, too, with it’s well-established courses that are both accessible for beginners and challenging enough for the pros. Plus, it’s got a lot of shade, so it stays cool on hot days when the sun’s out.  


Highbrow (Medical)

49 Topsham Fair Mall Rd., Topsham


Highbrow’s flagship operation, this is a suburban dream come true: Stop in at Hannaford, grab a sandwich at Panera, and hit your favorite weed shop, all without having to change parking places. Right now, everyone’s clamoring for their THC beverages. The lemonade packs a punch. 


Sea Dog Brewing

1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Topsham


Of all the Sea Dog locations, it’s hard to find one prettier than this. The old mill building sits right on the water and it’s the perfect spot for an outdoor breeze this summer. If you’re looking to get adventurous, try the Hazelnut Porter with a hearty meal — it’ll stick to the ribs. 


CR Farms, 702 Lewiston Rd., Gardiner

They don’t have a website, but you can call 207-215-9508

Like a number of courses in Maine, CR features 21 holes — a full 18, plus a few in the middle to keep things interesting for those who like to mix and match their 18. Beckett loves the people who run the place, including Cathy McDevitt, who also competes at the professional level, and says the clubhouse is one of the better-stocked in Maine. 


The Bud Bar

325 Water St., Gardiner


Right in Gardiner’s quaint downtown, this is a great spot for exploring the town common, walking along the river, and maybe hitting a pub or two (we recommend the Blind Pig). They’ve always got a good flower selection, but on a recent visit we spotted a Cannagar Thai Stick. Watch out.  


Bateau Brewing

149 Water St., Gardiner


Nah, they ain’t got no website. 

They already had frequent live music and a great selection of taps right on the water. Now they’ve got a game room with pinball machines? Sign us up. The 220 is the flagship and it’s a hell of an IPA, by all accounts.   


Devil’s Grove, 455 Grove St., Lewiston

Becketts says she appreciates how much work Devil’s has been putting into their courses. The original, “The Demon,” has a ton of elevation changes and requires some technical throwing. Their new 18-holer, “The Devil,” has three different tee-box locations on each hole, making it versatile enough to keep you coming back for new and differert experiences. 


Gritty McDuff’s

68 Main St., Auburn


Everyone knows the Portland location, but the Auburn location is kind of sneaky low-key. The back deck, hanging out over the Androscoggin, is one of the best spots in Auburn in the summer, and you’ll never sad you ordered a bitter, one of the few you’ll find in Maine. 


The Healing Community MedCo (Medical)

40 Lisbon St., Lewiston


This is the “downtown” location and it’s where things are happening in Lewiston, not far from Baxter Brewery and some great dining spots like Mother India and Boba. It’s a good opportunity to try a hard candy, do a little shopping, and work up an appetite for a killer meal. 


Pineland Farms, 15 Farmview Dr., New Gloucester

Beckett says, sure, the courses are great here, but don’t miss out on the food! The farm store is brilliant. Plus, this is a legitimate championship-style course layout, with a “big-boy, big-girl course” that can take three hours to hike and amazing atmosphere, from the cows by the course to the bicyclers and runners blazing past. 



437 Lewiston Rd., New Gloucester


An isolated spot on a backroad known mostly for truckers using it to avoid tolls, Nu is something of an oasis, with a great sideyard that features solo sets from the likes of Toby McAllister and Andi Fawcett and a fried chicken food truck that always seems to be around. You might find a cornhold tournament, too. 



435 Maine St., Poland


Gray-New Gloucester is a weed desert, without even a medical spot, so your best bet here is to hike up 26 and hit Hi-Lo, a perfectly nice single story building on the side of the road, just at the bottom of the hill from the gun shop, and one of the first rec joints in Maine. Mud season hit their driveway hard, but you don’t have ruts in the driveway if you don’t have customers. It’s a family operation with particularly knowledgeable staff. 


DR Disc Golf, 28 Tupper Dr., Orrington

“The Bangor boys are a good crowd,” says Beckett, and it’s a good thing: With three full courses, you can spend the entire day here, just 10 miles from downtown Bangor, and not play the same hole twice. Considering unlimited golf is $12, and disc rentals are just $1, you can entertain yourself quite well on the cheap. And if you’re just getting started, or with small children, the 9-hole family course is a great option.  


Brothers Cannabis

469 Stillwater Ave., Bangor


We’re not sure what it is, but Brothers is doing something right in getting the local TV stations down to the shop. They were early on the THC beverages and seem to be really hitting the Bangor market well. 


Geaghan Bros Brewing

34 Abbot St., Brewer


The Slots are back, now that we’re post-pandemic, so might as well hit Geaghan Bros while you’re there. Nothing makes a night of losing money feel better like a fresh pint and well-cooked burger. Both are staples here. 


Bittersweet Ridge, 383 Gray Rd., North Yarmouth

They don’t have a website, but you can call 207-346-1477

Owner Bill MacKinnon is a true supporter of the sport statewide, well-known for his well-run tournaments. Maybe better known is course cat, Bob. “He’s an icon,” says Beckett. This is a challenging course that’s close to Portland so often fairly crowded. MacKinnon takes advantage with a big selection in the clubhouse, both of discs and snacks. 


Elevate Maine (Medical)

50 Downeast Dr., Yarmouth


Since they’re known for their strong delivery service, it wouldn’t be TOO crazy to see if they’d cruise by the course and drop off some $6 pre-rolls for the back nine. And maybe a lemonade to wash it down with. The opportunities seem pretty endless, with one of the bigger menus you’ll find.   


Brickyard Hollow Brewing Company

236 Main St., Yarmouth 


This joint is doing something right, as they’re rapidly expanding, with new locations in Freeport and Portland open by summertime. But this is the original spot, where you get a bit of local history, can swing by the library when you’re done, and maybe in the winter even catch an ice-skate.  


Quaker Hill Disc Golf, 146 Middle Rd., Fairfield

Another course with 21 holes, Beckett recommends the variety of landscapes here, with woodlands opening up into wide open fields. The three “optional” holes, known as A, B, and C, offer variety and allow you to add length to your game as you learn to open up your throws and extend out your drives. They’re persistent, too, open 8 a.m. to sunset every day of the year. 


Waterville Brewing Company

10 Water St., Waterville


How niche is this place? When you click on the “about us” page of their web site, there’s just one guy, Ryan Flaherty. A team of his own. But he’s put together an interesting selection of brews, from a 3% ABV sour to an oatmeal stout, which we’ll always be up to try. Find them open Thursday through Saturday.  


Maple Valley Pharms

279 Main St., Waterville


Order ahead and they’ll have your package waiting to take up to the course. It might be a good idea to try their house-made chocolate chip cookies for a little sugar rush if you’re playing a post-lunch weekend round, but they have a wide-range of partner-produced edible products, along with a big flower selection. 


Burnsboro Disc Golf, Burns Rd., Vassalboro

They don’t have a website, but you can call 207-458-5932

Family-owned and run by patriarch Rick Burns, Beckett says this course is unique due to the home-made baskets, which have a little more wiggle in them than your standard commercial fare. “Sometimes,” she says, “you throw it too hard and it bounces out and you get Burnsboro’d!” This is a great spot for those just starting out, as the holes also tend to be relatively short.  


Cushnoc Brewing Company

40 Front St., Augusta


Make sure you hit the tap room here as you swing through on your way up to Vassalboro from Augusta. They’ve always got an interesting selection of house brews, and their labeling is particularly well done, themed and sharp. Their Purple Rain Belgian Tripel and Cooler if You Did Imperial IPA give you a flavor of their general cultural taste. 


The Green Alchemist

260 China Rd., Winslow


These folks are a trip. They love their flower, produce some seriously high-quality buds, and have a distinctive aesthetic appeal, to boot. Maybe it makes sense they’re also one of the few women-owned shops in Maine? This is a place that cares about the details, for sure.

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