Devil of a start

Saturday marked the official start of my 2016 season, playing the C-tier DGDG Open at Devils Grove in Lewiston ME. It is a fun little course with a lot of elevation but not a lot of distance.  I didn’t even bother to carry any drivers in my bag, it’s that short.

The first round started off slow and steady until a string of birdie twos on holes 6-9. The back nine is where it got interesting.  And by interesting, I mean frustratingly average.  I had a string of six or seven holes in a row where my drive was clean and hit the exact line I wanted each time.  The only problem was that the disc carried past the basket by anywhere from 25-45+ feet each time, leaving me with few good chances at and therefore no birdies for my efforts.

The end result for the first round was a middle of the pack 51.  Not the greatest of rounds but certainly not a disaster either.  I was within striking distance of the leaders and the cut line for the final 9.

The second round didn’t start off so well, with fours on three of the first four holes, including one where I took a two in the first round.  I recovered with four birdie twos in a row to get myself back on track, then really got in a groove with six deuces in seven holes before finishing the round with an ugly four on hole 2.

I joked after I hit first available on that last hole that I had just cost myself a chance at the final nine.  I was nearly right, but instead of being just out of the running, I was in a giant six-way tie for the final spot.  Just making it was no longer enough to assure getting paid out.

Of the nine holes, only one was different than anything we’d played all day, and that was the first one.  We teed off from hole one but played to basket two.  Finally, a need for a driver.  It went well and I carded a three on the hole (arguably a birdie).  From there it was a matter of playing steady and smart as everyone else pressed and fell apart.  I finished the nine with a 25 and ultimately sole possession of 9th place.

Overall, it was a fair showing for my first singles event of the year.  Nothing truly disastrous happened all day, and my putting was very good.  The big difference maker was not giving myself enough opportunities to convert birdies even on relatively clean drives.

Next tournament for me is on May 7 at Coggshall Park.  Really looking forward to that one.  The course was already a fun one, but the club has reportedly made some dramatic improvements since last summer.  Can’t wait.


Start of season, finally

Four+ months passed by fast and I’ve neglected the blog. Whoops.

Fortunately, not a whole lot has happened over the winter.  Most of my time was spent keeping our course playable in the snowy conditions.  I ran three doubles tournaments over the course of the winter, each one better attended than the one before.  Registration opened and quickly closed on my June B-tier DDGC16 when it filled in about four days.

Since the snow’s been gone, I’ve been busy getting the course into shape for the spring.  I’ve already cleaned up a few fairways, cut a few trees to widen others, and a couple holes have gotten brand new long pin locations.  Work’s never done on that front.

But the biggest impetus to get back to blogging is my tournament season finally gets under way for real this weekend.  It’s a bit later into the spring than I usually get started, but tournaments are filling faster and faster these days and I’ve missed out on a couple merely due to bad timing.  Oh well.

My 2016 tour kicks off on Saturday just down the road at Devils Grove in Lewiston and the DGDG Open.  I played there last year as part of the Vacationland Open event.  This time they’re running a stand alone tournament.  It’s a fun little course that doesn’t call for much in the way of drivers.  Lots of holes drive-able with a putter.  My favorite kind of course, really.

After DGDG, it’s a week off before I head back to what I’ve affectionately come to call my personal ATM, Coggshall Park in Fitchburg MA.  Four starts there yielding three wins and a playoff loss.  Hoping to make it four wins on May 7, but it’s going to be a tough field to do it against.

I’m following that event with a full month off to focus entirely on preparing for the DDGC.  So much to do, so little time to do it in, and I expect to enjoy every minute of it.

Now to get back to putting practice on my Dynamic Discs Marksman. Best investment I’ve made for my game in a long time…just a great practice target for a reasonable price.

Year in Review, part 2

Continuing in the spirit of part 1 and putting together some short lists of highlights from the past year.  This time a little more disc/throw-centric…

New additions to the bag

As this is my second year being sponsored and completely re-forming my disc lineup, my bag continues to be a work in progress.  I’ve thrown lots of really good discs in the process of finding the perfect set-up for my game, but a few have stood out.  Here are the most significant additions since the end of last season.

  1. Westside Harp, VIP – technically I acquired this one in November of last year when it was first released, but it didn’t really make the lineup until after a few test rounds in the winter. But it’s stuck in there now because if there is something that has always been a staple in my bag (at least since they’ve been available), it’s been a premium plastic, overstable driving putter.  For years, it was a CE Rhyno.  For years to come, I expect it to be the Harp.
  2. Latitude64 Spike, Zero Hard – another that was technically in my collection prior to the calendar change, it was also in the “trying it out” category through the winter.  It was a revelation from the moment I started throwing it though. Its glide and under-stability are uncanny even when brand new, which made it a perfect compliment as a driving putter to the Harp.
  3. Dynamic Discs Evidence, Fuzion – The 2015 Trilogy Challenge mid-range.  So glad that this was PDGA approved even before the Trilogy Challenge season began, because I got mine early and loved it from the first throw. It’s marketed as under-stable, but it’s only a touch so, which makes it ideal for my mid-range game.  All of the mids I’d tried in that spot — Truth, Claymore, Fugitive, Warship — were stable and straight enough, but didn’t quite give me the initial flip from a hyzer release I was looking for.
  4. Westside Seer, TP – under-stable fairway driver that isn’t too under-stable.  The Seer will turn out of a slight hyzer release and hold the turn for a good long time before fading out ever so slightly.  Just what a lefty backhander is looking for on the ever-present right-to-left “righty” holes in the 280-350 range.
  5. Westside Bard, TP – over-stable mid-range with some glide.  This was the slot in my bag that had been filled by the Suspect, but I found the Bard was more high-speed stable and wouldn’t flatten out too much when thrown hard the way the Suspect often did.  I love the Suspect, but between the Bard and the Harp, it just didn’t have a purpose for me anymore.

There have been other discs that have come and gone and even come back again in my bag, but those have been the steady “keepers” since they initially found a place.

Best holes of the year

This one is about my best played holes this year.  Sometimes it was one great throw, sometimes more than one, but the bottom line is that it was a sequence of events memorable enough for me to recall months later.  Listing in chronological order rather than trying to rank them.

  1. Tourney 54, Round 2, Hole 9 at Buffumville Lake – This one began with a terrible drive that turned over hopelessly OB only to get not one but two fortuitous bounces off the rip-rap rocks.  The second bounce caused the disc to glide at least 100 feet to land safely in-bounds.  The second throw got held up a bit by the headwind to land about 40 feet short of the basket.  The third throw began as a lay-up attempt but at the last second, I realized that the wind had died down to nothing so I gave it a run and made the putt for my first and to date only birdie three on the hole.
  2. Greater Hartford Disc Golf Open, Round 1, Hole 11 – 700+ footer with an OB wall and a strategically placed tree on the left side of the fairway, and everything sloping gently down to the right and away from the basket.  Best way for me to attack it was with a roller followed by another roller.  That got me to about 60 feet where I canned a jump putt for the birdie three.
  3. Crane Hill Open, Round 1, Hole 14 in the A position – Goes without saying that aces belong on the list. It’s doubtful this hole can make a list like this one if it isn’t an ace.  The throw was a slight turnover with a Warden that drifted a bit from right to left but held the line all the way in.
  4. Coggshall Fall Finale, Rounds 1 & 2, Hole 6 – Can’t really distinguish between the two rounds so I might as well count them together.  Both involved long drives on the hole which landed within the same 5-8 foot area (round 2 being closer to the basket).  Both involved hitting a putt from outside the 10-meter circle to convert the deuce. Both together probably accounted for about half my margin of victory on the day.
  5. Tournament of the Damned, Round 4, Hole 10 at West Thompson Lake – One of the more not-so-lefty-friendly holes around.   OB to the right, dense trees to the left.  I threw one of my best rollers through the bottleneck at 270ish feet and ended up at least 400 feet from the tee and within reasonable reach of the green.  My approach throw was an anhyzer over the OB riprap that got to the ground before it could fade out and slid into the pole for an easy birdie 3.  Not only the first and easiest birdie I’ll likely ever get on the hole, but it pretty much iced my victory in the tournament.

I’m sure there were plenty of other well played holes, not to mention plenty of poorly played holes, but they all start to run together after a while.

That’s all I’ve got for now. There may be a part 3 if I can come up with more ideas.  I’ll take suggestions too.

A Disc Golf Life