As is commonplace at many courses, there are oftentimes a few folks on hand who sell discs, either new or found. Here, “Johnny B.” was known for fishing discs out of the canal, a stagnant waterway which changed color to a deepening shade of green throughout the summer. Anyway, the deals were good and one day I purchased a Roc golf disc for a fair price.
Sometime later, my friend Mike Milne and I set out to play other courses in the area, winding up on this particular day at a (now closed) disc golf course in Chandler, Arizona, called Hoopes.
My drive on the first hole finished 35 feet short of the basket, with a slightly downhill putt remaining. I drew chains but missed the putt. Just for fun, I decided to take a second shot with the recently purchased Roc which I’d brought along.
I missed again (#@&!) – the shot hit the tray and immediately shattered into a dozen pieces! It was shocking to see, as that isn’t supposed to happen (I never miss twice, lol).
I later learned that that Roc wasn’t found in the canal. Rather, it was discovered on the rooftop of a building adjacent to Vista Del Camino, where it had likely baked in the Arizona sun for a couple of years. Hence, the brittle state.
Johnny and I had a good laugh, and he gave me a replacement golf disc for free.
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Although I had played frisbee golf at various times throughout the 1980’s, it wasn’t until 1993 when I learned about disc golf and purchased my first disc – a 181 gram Marauder by Discraft.
In 1994, I discovered that there were actual baskets used in the sport, and different discs had different flight characteristics. A variety of literature became available and oftentimes provided useful information.
Not always, however. I can recall on two occasions when descriptive text wasn’t quite up to par.
One particular disc, for instance, had the description; “it goes where you throw it”. Of course it does, I thought – how else could it get there?
Another disc sought to lend credibility to its performance in windy conditions, thought fell woefully short by stating; “it handles the wind like a breeze”.
Walking to the tee pad on “Hole B”, we observed several novice players foraging about in the tall grass off of the fairway for an errant throw. Signaling that we’d like to play through, they waved us on.
At 330′, I was quite pleased when my sidearm drive landed only ten feet shy of the basket. So to was Jim, as his backhand drive bettered mine by two feet. Both great shots!
As we walked ahead, the other players could be heard talking amongst themselves, suggesting that we must be professional disc golfers. Not an unreasonable assumption, given our two drives. And, it sure sounded good at the time.
Nevertheless, when we arrived at our thrown discs, we each proceeded to miss short putts. At that moment, reality came crashing down and it sounded a lot like amateur…
Between rounds on the first day as lunch was being served, I spotted her and said hello. I knew who she was – the 1998 Women’s Disc Golf Professional World Champion (later, to win that title 5 times) – and she was kind enough to sit with myself and a friend, Mike Milne, to eat and talk.
A random draw doubles event was scheduled, which, to my surprise, was hosted by none other than Juliana Bower. As I recall, she had just switched sponsors from Innova to Discraft and was in the area to promote the tournament.
I drew Mark Ellis as a teammate and the two of us played well enough to win a prize disc each, as payout. I selected a chartreuse colored, maximum weight 176 gram Discraft “Cyclone”. It had a double-stamp, featuring the Discraft Doubles Series logo printed twice; once in blue sparkle, with a full-spectrum stamp offset on top
Given that this was a doubles event, and that my prize disc read “Discraft Doubles Series” – and was a double-stamp, I asked Juliana if she would sign it twice. She smiled, and laughed as she signed her second autograph on my souvenir.
Either basket is as dangerous as the other, where the water is concerned. Photographed at a friend’s disc golf course – Wessel Pines – this pond has a well deserved reputation for drawing plastic into its silty depths. If you’d like a poster, t-shirt, coffee mug, etc., of this vintage photograph, stop by my gallery at Redbubble.