Tournament season has come, officially. Got my first PDGA tourney of the year under my belt this past weekend, the Cross Farms Open presented by Westside Discs in Tolland, CT. I’d never been to Cross Farms, but if Westside saw fit to sponsor it, how can I say no?
Preceded the tournament with a stop at Maple Hill the day before to play some doubles with friends. We played the Blue course, one that I don’t think I’ve played in a long time if ever. Certainly a good layout to get the flavor of the place. I’ve got at least one tournament coming up with a round there, possibly two and perhaps three depending on how things go over the next couple months, so getting the flavor was definitely worth the stop (winning money from friends helps too).
The flip side of playing at Maple Hill was that I sacrificed my original plan of going to Cross Farms to scout things out in advance of the tournament. Turns out I wouldn’t have been able to play the course anyway since the lower am side (Int & below) of the tournament was taking place, but I might have been able to walk around to see the place and try to stay out of everyone’s way.
No matter, since all I had to do was give myself an extra 30 minutes on Sunday morning in order to have plenty of time to do that walking around then. I was able to walk the whole course and get some first impressions on how to attack the holes. Turns out some of those first impressions were dead on the money.
I felt really good about the way I was getting off the tee, especially considering it was the first time I was playing any of these holes and a bunch of them were tightly wooded with hard to find fairways (they were there, just not easily discernible from the tee). In fact, the only times I wasn’t enamored with my tee shots in round 1 were when I went against those aforementioned first impressions and “tried something”. Even that only happened twice.
The story of the round, unfortunately, wasn’t the good tee shots. It was the abysmal putting. I try not to exaggerate these kinds of things, but there were easily six putts that were in make-able range (15-20 feet) that I missed in a eight-hole stretch. I turned a deuce chance into a four, a couple three chances into fours, and one three chance into a six. It was not pretty.
On the plus side for the first round, I was grouped with Team64’s Matt Berube. It was nice to get to meet and play with a new teammate, especially on one of his home courses. He made some great shots, including a big throw-in for deuce on hole 17, and put himself in good position to place in the money.
After a lengthy lunch break (the curse of being the first group finished) and some extra putting practice to figure out the glitch (I didn’t but it went away), round two got off to an unfortunate start with a dead-center pole spit-out on the first putt. The way I looked at it though, is at least the putt was on line as opposed to all the blatant misses from round one.
On the next hole I grooved a 25 footer to save par and I was on my way. No more bad/missed putts, but a few more missed fairways and scrambles for three than in round one. I finished very strongly, deucing holes 18, 1, and 2 (with a CTP winning drive) in succession and nearly acing hole 3 but overthrowing the basket by 30 feet and settling for a three to end the day. The net result was a five throw improvement on round one and moving up four places in the standings. Not good enough to cash, but enough to not feel like the whole day was a waste.
Cross Farms was a fun course. It has a reputation for being a locals course due to the tight wooded nature of the fairways and the seeming need for “local” knowledge to find the best routes.
For me, that’s my kind of course even if I’m not a local. I felt really good about the way I read the fairways and found my lines just by walking the holes instead of throwing them. I might have gotten lucky in finding a less than obvious gap on a couple holes, but I countered those with a couple poor and generally over-aggressive choices off some tees.
Definitely one of those courses that I probably wouldn’t have gone out of my way to play were it not for a tournament, but now that I have, I want to go back and play it again some day, tournament or not.
The tournament staff was top-notch and kept things running smoothly all day. Particularly smooth to do the ace-pot throw-off and pay out the CTP prizes before all the scores were officially tallied and playoffs finished. That enabled those with a long drive home, like me, to get on the road and get home at a decent hour…doubly important for a Sunday tourney. So kudos to The Disc Hut staff and TD Mike Zorovich. I will be back.
Next weekend, another Sunday tournament, but this time an event I have some history with on a course I already know (and occasionally play well): the Eastern MA Championships at Pye Brook Park in Topsfield, MA.