Disc Golf Stories, No. 7

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”.

Disc Golf Stories, No. 6

It was roughly fifteen years ago on a sunny summer day at Hudson Mills Metropark. I was shooting a round of disc golf on the Original Course with a friend, Jim Daniels, and we had just completed the first of six alternate holes.

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

 

Disc Golf Stories, No. 5

I first met Juliana Bower (now, Juliana Korver PDGA #7438) in 1998 at the Fountain Hills Thrills disc golf tournament held at Fountain Hills, Arizona, directed by Dan Ginnelly.

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.

Fast forward to the year 2000. I was at the ‘Toboggan’ disc golf course at Kensington Metro Park, in Milford, Michigan, a newly designed course created to accommodate a large field of players registered for the upcoming 2000 PDGA Disc Golf World Championships.

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.

Continue reading “Disc Golf Stories, No. 5”

The Water Holes

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.

Disc Golf Basket iPhone Case

 

If you enjoy the sport of disc golf, consider treating yourself to this colorful iPhone case featuring the silhouette of a basket. Available for a variety of different models, it’s extremely durable (shatterproof) and allows full access to all device ports. It’s super-bright colors are embedded directly into the case for a long life. Select between Snap or Tough styles.

Disc Golf Stories, No. 4

Following four hours in the car from Ann Arbor, myself and two disc golfing buddies stopped near Ludington to enjoy a relaxing swim in Lake Michigan. It was a sunny summer day on the Friday before the 1999 Michigan Disc Golf Organization (MDGO) Championships, and, after 45 restful minutes in the water, we made our way to the Mason County Park in time to participate in a late-afternoon Mace Man doubles event.

Many players had gathered to pay $10 for a chance to play in the random draw team competition. I’d personally been looking forward to this weekend for some time and was excited to be in Ludington, having played the courses only once before. Several folks were complaining, however, expressing concern that, with the newly crowned disc golf world champion, Ron Russell, in attendance, that the deck was stacked and that their entry fees were simply a donation.

That didn’t bother me at the time. If anything, I hoped that he might be part of our group so that I could watch and learn from his skillful play. He wasn’t, but his presence at the event was clearly a point of contention for my teammate. Nevertheless.

From the starting hole, I threw first for our team, launching a monster hyzer out to the right and back left again around the tree line. My shot drew metal, skipping off of the top of the basket. My teammate’s shot finished closer, though, and I made our putt for a birdie. It was a good sign of things to come.

When it was over, we finished at -13 through 18 holes and won the event! It was great to win, especially given that the caliber of competition was so formidable, and we each received a nice payout in merchandise.

The MDGO tournament itself was scheduled for two rounds on Saturday, with a final round on Sunday. I played in the Am-1 division, rather poorly as I recall.

Anyway. Following play on Sunday, it became apparent that no one had claimed the $160 ace pool. In making preparations to conclude the event, the Tournament Director (TD) announced that ace pool monies would be awarded to whomever could make a jumbo putt, to be held shortly on basket number 18 on the “Beast” course.

For those unfamiliar with the phrase jumbo putt, everyone basically lines up with their putter in a wide circle around the basket, and, when the signal is given, putts all at the same time.

Given that I wouldn’t be collecting any prizes at ‘tournament central’, I made my way up the hill to the basket where we’d be putting. For approximately 20 minutes, I set up at various points around the basket and putt my blue 174 gram Aviar small bead putter.

Occasionally, players would pass by the area, joking with me that it was pointless to spend so much time practicing from 80′, suggesting that only a lucky shot would win.

Though I understood this, I did manage to find the spot from which I was most comfortable shooting, given the direction of the prevailing breeze.

When the time came, everybody stormed up the hill and found a spot around the crudely formed circle established by the TD. I had my spot. When set, he called out, ‘On the count of 3, 2, 1, SHOOT!‘, and we all launched our putters to the center at the basket.

With colorful plastic all over the sky, it wasn’t easy to visually follow my shot, but I could see a blue disc in the air which I believed was mine, and it looked as if it was headed straight at the chains…if only it didn’t get knocked down in a mid-air collision with another putter.

As the shots came to rest, the TD and all of the players raced toward the basket to collect their missed putts from off of the grass. I did as well, though, along with another player from Indiana, had the pleasure of retrieving my putter from inside of the basket, and subsequently received my $80 share.

Continue reading “Disc Golf Stories, No. 4”