I was competing in a PDGA sanctioned disc golf tournament on a warm day with mild winds during the summer of 1999. The event was held at Cold Brook Park, located in Climax, Michigan, between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.
At that time, organizers commonly added six alternate baskets to the 18-hole layout, in order to accommodate a larger field of players. The first new basket in this expanded 24-hole format followed the 16th hole, and was a short birdie opportunity along the edge of Portage Lake.
Everything seemed fine as our group approached the tee pad. The wind was calm and there weren’t any trees as obstacles, only a water hazard to avoid along the right edge of the fairway.
And then, it happened.
From out of nowhere, a small gaggle of geese flew closely overhead at a high rate of speed! They couldn’t have been more than 10-feet above the ground, riding the leading edge of a weather system. We all ducked, rising again only to be immediately greeted by headwinds of approx. 30 miles per hour, sustained for the remainder of the tournament.
So much for an easy shot – now, the water loomed large.