Year in Review, part 1

With 2015 winding down, there’s not a whole lot left to do except look back and reminisce on the highlights.  As they come to me, I am going to try to put together some short lists of notable moments and things from the past year.  I’ll start today with some course-based lists.

New (to me) courses played

The list is, sadly, a short one to begin with so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to rank them in any kind of order or leave any out.  So I’ll just list them in the order I played them this year.

  1. Cross Farms, Tolland CT – First PDGA of the year for me.  Fun course with a lot of tight, wooded fairways. Didn’t play particularly well, but would definitely go back again, if only for some redemption.
  2. Devils Grove, Lewiston ME – It only took a year and a half for me to finally trek the 10 miles to this one, but as I often say, with a course literally in my backyard, it’s hard to get out to other courses in the area without an excuse.  I finally had one with the Vacationland Open. The course is on the short side, but takes advantage of every bit of elevation change it has to add challenge.
  3. Beacon Glades, Beacon NY – Stopped here to play a round and break up the long drive to PA for the Yetter. Other than a bit of confusion on where to start (a hole was removed and the rest renumbered, which wasn’t noted in the course directory), and a lost disc on hole 17, there wasn’t a whole lot remarkable about the course.
  4. Porcupine Ridge, Vassalboro ME – Another one, like Devils Grove, that it took a few years for me to get around to playing.  Again, a tournament helped get me there. It’s too bad I didn’t play better that day, because the course is fun with a variety of challenges.
  5. Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex Hogback course, North Augusta, SC – A course I’d only seen on video from the National Collegiate Championships, and the videos didn’t really do it justice.  It played a bit shorter than it seemed on the video, but that isn’t a bad thing.  A lot of narrow fairways through the woods that would be a nightmare if they were any longer.  My only regret was that we didn’t have the energy (we certainly had the time) to play the other course on site, Old Glory.  That’s the one with hanging baskets and other tricked up fun that I enjoy and many others scoff at.

I’m hoping that in 2016, I will add more than five new courses to my list.  That will take some concerted effort, perhaps even skipping out on a couple familiar tournaments in favor of something new.

Favorite courses

Tough to distinguish this list from my favorite courses in general, but I’m limiting it to among the 27 courses I’ve played this year in tournaments or for fun. In no particular order, just numbered for organizational purposes.

  1. Tyler State Park, Newtown PA – A sentimental favorite but also one of the best courses I’ve had the privilege of playing. The best part is that it is ever evolving, and always something new every time I go.  This year, six brand new holes were added to bring the grand total to 36.  Though there are multiple pin and/or tee locations on each hole, I usually only get to see it when it is in its longest, toughest set-up for the Yetter, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The front 18 (the East) in all longs plays to a true par 72, and the SSA rating tends to match it.  The back 18 (the West) is a bit softer par-wise, but that’s only due to having more par 3s and fewer par 5s.  It’s every bit as challenging as the East course, though.  Both courses are disc golf as it was meant to be.
  2. Coggshall Park, Fitchburg MA – I thought about not taking how I play the course/tournament into consideration, but I just can’t do it here.  When you play a course particularly well, it’s hard for it not to be a favorite. It’s still a little rough around the edges and could use more/better tee pads, but it seems to treat me pretty well so I can’t find any reason for complaint.
  3. Crane Hill, Wilbraham MA – This one has been growing on me since the first time I played it three years ago.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that I finally played it well in a tournament, or maybe it’s due to getting my one tournament ace of the year there, but something happened this year to raise its esteem in my eyes.  It has a little bit of everything, which is all you can ask for from a course.
  4. Winthrop Gold, Rock Hill SC – I haven’t played a tournament there in close to ten years, and it only makes the cut this year because we happened to stop by on a whim (and actually intended to only play the short Lakefront layout), but it has been a favorite since the first time I played it.  Playing it without the ropes and the spectacle of the USDGC didn’t really diminish the fun factor one bit.  Maybe someday I’ll get to play it again in competition.

Favorite tournaments of the year

To make this a bit more interesting, I’m disqualifying any tournament I had a hand in organizing or helping to run in some way, as well as any tournament I won, from entry on the list.  Sorry Coggshall Fall Finale, Tournament of the Damned, Yetter, Porcupine Ridge, and anything at Dragan Field, this list isn’t for you.  In chronological order…

  1. First Folf and Fort Doubles, Ft McClary, Kittery Point ME – Lumping two events into one since they share the same course…an object course in a small park that was formerly a Revolutionary War era military installation.  Good old-school times with a lot of good people.
  2. Coggshall Spring Fog, Coggshall Park, Fitchburg MA – A little bittersweet to include this tournament on the list, as it took losing in a playoff for it not to be disqualified for being a tournament I won.  Hands down, the second round was the closest and most intensely competitive round I played all year.  After hole 1, I never trailed (until I lost the playoff hole) but I was never more than a single throw in the lead either.  Win or lose, those are the best rounds to be a part of.
  3. Crane Hill Open, Crane Hill, Wilbraham MA – An ace, a top 5 finish, and less than a handful of bogeys on the day.  Can’t really beat that against a deep and talented field of players.  That it doubled as the lone road trip of the year with a good friend made it even better.
  4. Newton Hill Open, Newton Hill, Worcester MA – Nothing like persevering through adversity to make a good finish at a tournament feel like a great one.  And for the second year in a row, the final round was just a tad too short (six holes) for my taste.  🙂

That’s what I have for now.  I intend to put up a second part to the year in review soon.  Maybe I might even come up with enough ideas for a part 3 as well.