Sustainability . . . Disc Golf Courses need to think about it . . . and so do bloggers!

May 8, 2013 · Published in Uncategorized  by Mike Harrington ·

OK everyone, I had thought that this blog was going to be so easy to maintain. When I started out with my writing I intended to write a quick blurb about every course I play. Well then I wanted to keep adding photos of all the cool holes on each course and provide links to other things around the areas I was playing and it got to be too much. I was simply keeping up with writing stories from 2 years prior (since I started writing after playing the game for 2 years). Now I have fallen about 2.5 years behind. I thought I was going to be able to get caught up but that does not look feasible if I maintained my same current amount of play and also the amount of writing I was actually doing. Now I have a disc golf course design business to consider and I am running 1 day of league per week plus being involved in the sport in other ways. Add in my spring rush in the landscape business I own and I have not added a blog entry since January. I was overwhelmed and I could not get back at it effectively so I have decided to take my own advice about SUSTAINABILITY and come up with a blog format that matches my current time availability with my desires for providing the blog. The first step in getting back on track is letting go of the fact that I have played over 200 courses since my trip to Texas. It’s a shame I will have to bypass stories and pictures of some really great courses that I have played, but in order to get back on track I need to just start with my real-time adventures. I might be able to fill in the gaps between January of 2011 and May of 2013 but for now I just need to move forward to make this blog sustainable. I have heard before sometimes to get good results from something you need to blow up the old way of doing things. I guess I am doing this right now. The old  blog is dead. The old stories will remain but this blog entry is the beginning of a new phase for The Disc Golf Experience, where I embrace sustainability in my writing and make sure I can keep up with my pace of play. I am going to begin writing about my quest to have played all of the courses in WI by the end of 2013. I have about 55 of the 222 current courses yet to be played. I know of at least 10 courses in some stage of development right now so I will have some more to play during the course of the season. I might head out of town this weekend which would give me a good opportunity to get back into the writing about my travels.

 

Thanks to everyone for being patient with me as I figured this all out. I had good intentions but then other disc golf things developed and I had to focus more on my business than my blogging. See you soon!

Habeas Corpus Christi January 11th and 12th, 2011

January 15, 2013 · Published in Design, Roadtrips, Technique  by Mike Harrington ·

Habeas Corpus Christi January 11th and 12th, 2011

After spending the night in Houston (and a handful of drinks to help us revisit the “good old days”) with some college friends, we decided to head to Galveston. We spent the night here because we really wanted to see what a town looked like that is in constant threat from hurricane damage. The city was completely destroyed at the turn of the 20th century and has suffered serious blows from hurricanes ever since . . .  . . . check out the history of the city and the Hurricane of 1900 that destroyed the entire city on the wikipedia entry. It had also recently suffered a hit from Hurricane Ike in 2008. We found that the city had been virtually rebuilt . . . but there were still signs that had obviously not been fixed, buildings and stores that remained boarded up, and tarps on many roofs in the area. It was a sad sight to see, but at the same time, it showed the peoples resiliency. I know I wouldn’t be willing to live in a place subject to regular destructive weather events. Would you?

We stopped at the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum to see what an offshore oil drilling rig was like, a pretty unique experience if you ask me. There seems to be plenty to do in Galveston if you want to find a variety of things . . . unfortunately this was the beginning of the realization that the weather was not going to cooperate. It was between 35-50 degrees virtually the entire time we were in the state of Texas. Not what we expected from a mid-winter get-a-way. At least we could still disc golf!

We woke up the next morning and had breakfast at The Original Mexican Café . . . I found the food to be excellent . . . but then again I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD. I could literally eat it for every meal of every day and not get tired of it. Just change up the preparation and play with a few ingredients and it will be different every time.  We headed out of town towards Corpus Christi in hopes the temperatures would increase the further south and west that we went. At least we could still play disc golf!

The temperatures remained very chilly . . . it felt even worse because we expected 60′s the whole time. I don’t think it got above 45 when we were along the coast.

 

Clute Park, Clute, TX

This course was simply the easiest course for us to hit on the way between Galveston and Corpus Christi.

Hole #2 Which way do I go?

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

Hole #3 Lots of trees . . . at least they provide nice shade from the Texas heat.

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

Hole #5 Straight shot?

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

Hole #7 Split the gap or go around?

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

 

The only other thing worth mentioning about this course is the fact that 3 or 4 holes play very close to a fenceline that borders the property line. One the other side of the fence are homes and apartments and one could easily throw into the adjacent property. I am sure the homes came before the disc golf, and likely before the park . . . but that is one scenario I will always avoid if possible. The minute neighbors get upset, disc golf courses could be shut down. Sustainability is key and this type of likely scenario could be detrimental to the long term life of our disc golf courses.

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

We headed out from Clute Southwest towards Corpus Christi. Before playing anymore disc golf we decided to visit the USS Lexington . . . an old retired Naval Ship turned into a museum. Take a look at the Banshee I found while on the USS Lexington.

Thanks to The Disc Golf Experience

Gotcha . . . were you expecting the overstable driver? . . . nope, just a cool plane called a Banshee!

 

Thanks to The Disc Golf Experience

Live Oak Red, Ingleside, TX

After we finished the tour of the USS Lexington, I knew we had time for at least one more course . . . I decided on Live Oak Red because it was short. I had no idea I was in store for such a cool unique property. The Live Oaks are what make this course so much fun. They are not the tallest trees in the world (partly because they take so long to grow) but they are unique in their growth habit. They grow up but also laterally but they leave really clean lines for disc golf while creating ceilings that need to be avoided.

This course is simply put a solid course . . . there aren’t jaw dropping holes, just a lot of decision making and fun and challenging shots. It is unique because it is based on a completely sandy soil and the trees are also a huge factor in the uniqueness. Don’t shy away from this course just because it has the color Red in it . . . and is on the same property as the Gold course. They both have their own merits and are fun and challenging too.

Hole #1 Live Oak Alley

Thanks to The Disc Golf Experience

Hole #3 A nice tight flick shot is required on this hole.

Thanks to The Disc Golf Experience

Hole #4 Disc golfing on the beach

Thanks to The Disc Golf Experience

Hole #14 What trees?

Thanks to The Disc Golf Experience

I had a lot of fun on this course, and as far as I know, this was my first exposure to Tee-signs made by John Houck. His signs really re-define course accessory.

 

Waldron, Corpus Christi, TX

We had time for one more course, and the Gold Course would have simply taken too long, so we decided to head around the bay and play Waldron Park. I had pretty low expectations for this course because I had just played Live Oak Red which I felt was underrated.

Hole #1 Forced water carry to get you all warmed up.

Thanks to DGCR user: jcannon

Hole #4 Flick it straight down the sidewalk and let it fade to the right.

Thanks to DGCR user: jcannon

Hole #4 Basket tucked over the sidewalk and up the hill under the low ceiling.

Thanks to DGCR user: jcannon

Hole #5 I am surrounded!

Thanks to DGCR user: jcannon

Hole #6 Tight shot with the basket perched on the top of a small rise.

Thanks to DGCR user: jcannon

Hole #7 From the beach to the beach.

Thanks to DGCR user: jcannon

Hole #8 Another forced water carry . . . this one has no bailout.

Thanks to DGCR user: jcannon

Boy was I surprised by the design and playability of this course. There was a lot of variety and some unique basket locations . . . what more can you ask for from a 9 hole course. We finished the course as the sun went down, so it was time to stop for some dinner.

We found a restaurant . . . yep another Mexican restaurant . . . called On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, associated with the parent company of Chili’s. I know, we should be supporting the local economy by eating at local places, but we had gift cards to use up from a number of the chain restaurants, it makes it so much easier to eat when on the road to have those gift cards where you get more for your money. Unfortunately for us, I am pretty sure somewhere along the way here, I dropped a $100 gift card. We headed back to the hotel as I fumed about losing $100 basically (well actually $80 since the credit card rewards get us an extra 20%).

 

Live Oak Gold, Ingleside, TX

Because I enjoyed the Red course today so much, we decided to head back to Live Oak Park and I would play the Gold course, while Loriena looked around the park, watched the birds, and snapped some photos.

Here is Loriena feeding some ducks or other birds . . . look at her surprised look when two of the ducks really seemed aggressively seeking our stale bread!

Thanks to The Disc Golf Experience

Hole #1 It is clear this was freshly carved out of this property.

Thanks to DGCR user: Roc1time

Hole #2 What a unique fairway through a grove of young Live Oak trees.

Thanks to DGCR user: Roc1time

Hole #6 Work your way through this fairway to a drainage ditch.

Thanks to DGCR user: Roc1time

Hole #6 Here is the more open approach shot with a unique feel because of the sand.

Thanks to DGCR user: Roc1time

Hole #18 Throw to this point out of a tight tunnel and go around the shrub or risk a shot over the water. Great approach for an open hole.

Thanks to DGCR user: Roc1time

This course was carved out of the same type of property as the Red course. It was a lot longer and was most definitely more challenging.  The design effectively uses a drainage-way through the sandy dunes all throughout the course. There are baskets near the ditch and also throws that force you to go over the ditch. This is a unique feature of this course and it truly adds to the character and feel of the course.

 

West Guth, Corpus Christi, TX

We left Live Oak and hoped to play 1 or 2 more courses on the way towards San Antonio. It was very apparent when we pulled in that West Guth is a park-like course. There were some trees sporadically spread around the course, with some rolling undulations a man-made pond and a drainage ditch that comes into play. The unique feel of this course compared to many of the Texas courses is that this course had some elevation change, nothing super dramatic but it was noticeable. As I played this course and after looking back on the course I realized that there was something unique and different on every hole. That is what makes this course so much fun.

Hole #1 Great visual for a hole with the man-made pond on the right and the basket beyond those trees.

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Hole #3 Slight undulations with a couple trees as obstacles.

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Hole #8 Nice down-hill towards the river/drainage-way.

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Hole #9 Over the river and up the hill.

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Hole #10 Another downhill shot into the trees.

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Hole #12 Roll-a-ways might happen here a few times.

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Hole #13 Side-hill with the roll-a-way potential again. Putting is scary here from above the basket.

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Hole #14 Another downhill shot. Keep the disc low.

 

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Veteran Memorial, Beeville, TX

My wife was not feeling great so she stayed in the car and slept while I played this course. It has a big ditch that splits this course in half, but they use the ditch to make you throw across it 4 times at a minimum. There are sporadic trees again and some more densely planted areas. There are only a couple of really tight holes but it makes for a really good mix of holes and shots.

Hole #1 Across the ditch and off to the left. Great hole.

Thanks to DGCR user: Bevo

Hole #3 This hole will be with me forever since it was my first really successful roller. It went 350’ and while I tanked the putt, it gave me a chance at a deuce on a hole much longer than I can normally birdie.

Thanks to DGCR user: ttraut

Hole #9 Straight back across the ditch with plenty of tree branches to knock your disc down.

Thanks to DGCR user: ttraut

Hole #11 Low ceiling with some sidehill thrown in there.

Thanks to DGCR user: Bevo

Hole #18 Nice elevation drop on this hole. Out the tunnel , over the ditch, and slightly back up the hill.

Thanks to DGCR user: Bevo

All in all a decent course with some elevation changes, some forced trouble carries, some open holes, and some tight holes. It wasn’t my favorite on the road-trip, but it was worth the stop.

 

Off to San Antonio!!!!

Hucking Around Houston, January 10th, 2011

January 7, 2013 · Published in Maintenance, Roadtrips  by Mike Harrington ·

Hucking Around Houston, January 10th, 2011

Memorial Park, Houston, TX

This was a short course outside of Memorial Drive Baptist Church. There were only 6 holes but I wasn’t going to let that deter me from the course that was closest to my friend’s house, where we stayed, I guess some of my reasoning was that if I play a 6 hole course, I could very well get in an additional course on the day, but it also looked like a fun short course too.

Hole #1 is one of the longer holes and it throws around the corner of a building . . . fun to throw . . . dangerous for the buildings windows I would assume. To be 100% honest I am shocked the Church was ok with this part of the design. I know I wouldn’t want this hole to come at the expense of broken windows. I know the course was squeezed into a small property but it could have avoided the building with just a small tweak.

Hole #1 Throw around this building! What?

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

The rest of the course had a decent layout. There were a couple more open holes, a couple moderately wooded holes with key trees to avoid and 2 tight dense wooded holes to finish the course. Excellent variety for a 6 hole course if you ask me and one of the reasons I rated the course as high as I did.  I don’t care how many holes are on a property, I evaluate the property based on what is provided not how many holes there are and to have 2 open 2 moderately wooded and 2 tight holes on a property is top notch design if you ask me!

Will most people like this course? NO. But I did so I gave it a rating that reflected the amount of fun and the level of challenge presented . . . plus it fills the need for a beginner friendly course that shows the beginners what to expect at bigger longer and more challenging courses as opposed to just being a wide open park with baskets.

TC Jester, Houston, TX

This was another course located very close to the friends we stayed with. It was a mediocre course overall but it had a couple of decent holes. Unfortunately it was 100% flat, with almost no elevation change on the whole property.

This course had some very mature trees and some pockets of woods that added to the fun and challenge. Even though it was mostly flat it still had obstacles to consider on your throws.

Hole #6 Nice mature trees to work the disc around.

Thanks to DGCR user: Bevo

Hole #8 This is the tightest hole on the course. Trouble on both sides.

Thanks to DGCR user: Bevo

Hole #9 Somewhat of a tunnel with some lateral branches to avoid.

Thanks to DGCR user: 713juggalo

Missouri City, Missouri City, TX

I arranged a meetup with DGCR legend ERicJ. He met us at the course and was happy to show us around even though he said he didn’t get out as much as he used to. This course wasn’t suited to my abilities with it being mostly open and longer than the typical course. It definitely suited Eric as he shot fairly well on the long layout. He even parked and deuced #9 . . . which to me just seems impossible. I hope to one day be able to pick up 50’ but have no idea how some people can throw 2-3 times as far as I can throw at my best. It seems absurd that it is possible. While I am not the most fit person in the world (not the least unfit either I might add) I have always been a good athlete and able to do well at most sports . . . apparently distance disc throwing may be right up there with basketball as one of the things I should never do!

One of the design features of this course was that it seemed like they moved a lot of soil to create the undulations that might not have ever existed before. Almost every basket was around a berm or sculpted turf area. It is really unique because it really makes it feel like you are hitting an approach to a golf green. It doesn’t change your shot that much, but visually it is more appealing to be throwing to a raised area with slopes surrounding the basket. While I do not think this will become a trend in disc golf because of the cost associated with earth moving, it is unique and definitely worth mentioning. Eric said that the undulations were all formed as part of the design process. I have to give it to whoever thought to do this because it definitely is unique.

Hole #1 Golf Green like feel to this and many other basket locations

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

The other thing that seems to have been done here is that they have added a lot of young trees to try and create fairways and obstacles. If the earth was moved there likely was very few trees in this area and everything seems to be fairly young. There is a great cost to moving trees, again something that I do not expect to become a trend with disc golf courses unless they are able to raise money to do so.

Hole #1 New trees with fresh mulch really makes this course look well groomed.

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

 

 

After the round Eric handed a glow mini with a Lego Man carrying a disc . . . (AWESOME . . . did they have these when I was growing up playing with Legos?). Apparently his wife had them made up to give to the guests as a party favor which is really cool.

My first visit to TEXAS where everything is bigger, even their letters, January 8-9th, 2011

January 2, 2013 · Published in Design, Roadtrips  by Mike Harrington ·

My first visit to TEXAS where everything is bigger. . . even their letters, January 8-9th, 2011

We spent the night in Tulsa but were shot from our long day in the wind at The Lodge so we didn’t get out and see the town or anything. We woke up and were headed out to play some more disc golf on our way south. Today I picked my courses based on schedule, knowing we had to get to Houston in 2 days so we planned to spend the night in Tyler, TX. We headed out and the first logical stop was in Eufala, OK.

Eufala, Eufala, OK

This course was only installed in the last 2 years. It was a small town park that added disc golf so it gets thumbs up from me. The challenge was not really present as it was almost completely open. There was water in play but it was essentially a drainage ditch that was a few feet wide. That ditch led into a wetland area which fed into the lake in the park.

Hole #4 Here is the best hole on the course because it presents the most challenge.

Thanks to DGCR user: blair_87

There was one really strange thing here. . . 2 crossing fairways which was completely unnecessary. I do not know why it was designed that way, and while I have learned I don’t always know what a designer was able to do or not do . . . there are alternatives for the tee placement that would have prevented a crossing fairway. My only guess is that they did not want the basket near the road so they angled #6 fairway away from the road and then set the next tee to the right close to the road so it also angled away from the road creating two crossing fairways.

Hole #6 and #7 Crossing Fairway

Thanks to DGCR user: blair_87

Walker Park, Paris, TX

This was a pretty beat up course in need of some volunteers. The neighborhood looked pretty run down but I didn’t feel unsafe. The tee posts were tipping sideways, the baskets were really beat up, the ground was sandy and loose with all sorts of rodent holes all over the place so you never knew what kind of footing you were going to have. It was mostly open with some trees on the front 9, but the back 9 had a few more trees in play. There were a few dangerous areas (for non disc golfers) with lots of sidewalks in play and even throwing over them in a few places. Despite all of these issues I still enjoyed myself here because it was another new state for me to play in and it was starting to get warmer. Sure I had plans to hit 20-30 more courses in TX in the next 2 weeks but this was my first in the state.

Hole #5 Tight short shot

Thanks to DGCR user: CloudKoF

Hole #7 Unique basket placement between a split tree

Thanks to DGCR user: CloudKoF

Hole #11 The beginning of the more wooded section of the course

Thanks to DGCR user: CloudKoF

Van City, Van, TX

I chose this courses because of how short it was. I knew my wife would enjoy a shorter course while I ran for aces and drop in deuces. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this course since there were reviews giving this course 2.5/5.0 discs and one that even rated it a zero. Courses like this that can be the gems of a long road-trip, courses that you expect to be terrible or not fun at all but turn out to be extremely fun or unique. I found out that this one was so volatile because it has so much potential to be a lot of fun, but the lack of maintenance makes the course frustrating to play. If I could spend a week out there I could have that place in great shape, playable, easy to navigate, and it would be much improved. However, I could also tell that this course would be under water at times and I think it had recently experienced a flood but the water had completely receded.

Check out the hole distances on DGCR . . . you would think this would be a good course to shoot the elusive -18 . . . not even a chance! It is so tight and dense any slight miscalculation will have you scrambling to save par or bogey. This course is all about the recovery shot. I wish I had some pictures of my own but here are a few from DGCR.

Hole #2 Into the woods we go

Thanks to DGCR user: sananda3

Hole #12 Flooded hole makes for an interesting shot

Thanks to DGCR user: sananda3

Hole #13 From the woods to a small clearing

Thanks to DGCR user: sananda3

Hole #14 Tight S Curve

Thanks to DGCR user: sananda3

Hole #16 A forgiving fairway

Thanks to DGCR user: sananda3

A worthwhile stop after all was said and done because it shows me how bad a course can become due to lack of maintenance. The potential is here, the just need someone willing to spend some time with a chainsaw or loppers to cut down some of the invasive stuff. I’d offer my help but I am over 1000 miles away.

Eastham-Thomason, Huntsville, TX

We had some “time to kill” before the Texas Prison Museum opened up so we stopped here, had a snack and played a quick 9 hole round. This was a fun course with some variety. Water definitely could come into play on a couple shots. There were enough trees to be challenging and it was a pretty well maintained park.

Hole #2 Massive drainageway to the left

Thanks to DGCR user: chuckading

Hole #3 Drainageway continues and is more in play on this hole than the last

Thanks to DGCR user: chuckading

Hole #4 Nice basket location tucked into the edge of a wooded area

Thanks to DGCR user: chuckading

Hole #6 I split the uprights on this tree on #6

Thanks to DGCR user: chuckading

After the round we headed to the Texas Prison Museum to see what it was all about. We saw some unique items carved and made by the prisoners like a chess set made out of soap, a wood boat made out of paper scraps of wood, but the most unique item was were able to see was “Old Sparky” The electric chair that was used many times in the past. It’s a little eery to stand there and look at something that ended so many lives, but Texas is a different place with a different set of rules, so it is unfair for me to judge.

Old Sparky

Thanks to Loriena Harrington

Shawshank, Huntsville, TX

We arrived at Shawshank and were brought into the house by Steve’s family. They welcomed us into their house despite knowing nothing about us. Steve was out somewhere if I remember correctly but he showed up shortly after we arrived. He gave us a brief rundown of the course, the history, and sent us on our way.

This looked like it was going to be an interesting round with holes named after prisons, laws, and other similar themes. We arrived at Hole #4 called jail . . . and it was truly jail. Somehow both my wife and I threw really good drives getting down the lane (My wifes went straight down the middle lane while mine flexed to the right in the middle of the woods and I still had a look at the basket). We both ended up with pars on a pretty tough hole.

Hole #2 Overseeded green area

Thanks to DGCR user: EricJ

Hole #10 Big downhill to the pond

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

Hole #13 Dead Man Walking

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

Hole #18 Platform basket area with extreme risk of a 3 putt if you go long

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

Hole #23 Tin Cup style hole, throw until you are on the island.

Thanks to DGCR user: ERicJ

My 5th throw finally made it onto the island . . . with a nice kick off of Steve’s truck which well off to the right of the island.

 

What a nice way to end a day with another great course. There were a couple goofy holes that will stick in my mind, but Steve sure tried to do things a little differently, capped off by his amazing amount of effort to go out and over-seed with ryegrass for the fall/winter season. That shows he really cares about his course. It was well worth the cost of the round but I also bought a disc I to help support his course.

On the road to Texas . . Milwaukee, WI to Pawhuska, OK January 6th and 7th, 2011

December 29, 2012 · Published in Design, Roadtrips  by Mike Harrington ·

On the road to Texas . . . Milwaukee, WI to Pawhuska, OK January 6th and 7th, 2011

We decided to alter our normal route to Florida which we have done for the previous 4 or 5 years. We settled on a trip to Texas which took us through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Iowa. This road-trip helped me play in 3 new states (OK, TX, KS) bringing my total states up to 18 played. I added 41 new courses on this road trip in just 18 days bringing my courses played up to 253. I am not going to be able to put all 41 courses into one blog entry so I will try to break them up into logical sections of the road-trip.

First off I will start with our first few days of travel ending with two of my favorite courses at the Lodge in Pawhuska, OK. We headed out with some rain/freezing rain in the forecast. I remember the roads being really slick and seeing many cars in the ditch once we got past Beloit and into Illinois. I guess that is what you get when you travel thousands of miles in the beginning of January.

 

Illinois Valley Community College – Oglesby, IL

Our first stop of the day saw Loriena wanting to continue sleeping. In fairness she did have wet hair still . . . and had said . . . “I don’t want to play disc golf until we get to warmer weather”.  Being the sweetheart that she is, she didn’t mind catching some additional sleep while I played the course.

I was welcomed with something I had never seen before after I approached the #1 basket. This basket was elevated on a mound, which was completely visible from the tee. However, what I could not see is that the mound had been created by excavating out behind the berm. This doubled as functional for the raising of the basket, but it also made a 10’ putt pretty tough because that means you were 10’ away and 6’ below the basket. I will have to consider this in the future designs I plan to do . . . I think it is a quick and simple way to make a boring open hole a little more interesting.

Hole #1 Raised Basket and Bunker area

Thanks to DGCR User: GoodDriveBadPutt

The rest of the course was average. There were mostly open holes with a handful of key trees to avoid. It wasn’t the most scenic course in the world, but it was still fun to throw. One of the best features of this course is that it only took me 17 minutes to play. We were right back on the road and headed to Springfield, IL.

I also had a near death experience on this course when a massive flock of blackbirds had swarmed and circled over my head. I thought for sure that it was a sign of the Apocalypse and thought the birds were going to just die and fall out of the air.

Speaking of birds . . . I found a cool story about this disc golf course on the College’s website. Apparently some Bald Eagles decided to nest on the course somewhere, and they returned the following year too. Check out their (the college not the eagles!) website and the story about the eagles as well as a little of the course history.

 

Lincoln Park South – Springfield, IL

Our second stop for the day was at a property with two courses. I chose to play the higher rated one but really wished we could have played both courses. This course was moderately under construction. They had modified a few holes to accommodate some changes in the park. Unfortunately, a few of the holes they had to add to the layout made it a little bit awkward. This was a 3.7 rated course before I played it and to see an 80’ virtually impossible fairway through the woods incorporated into this challenging and long course just left a sour taste in my mouth. There were also some other holes that seemed to be added into the layout that were simply just repetitive and back and forth.

Hole #3 (SORRY THIS HOLE WAS REPLACED WITH AN 80’ JUMP PUTT THROUGH DENSE WOODS)

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

Despite my disappointment for Hole #3, we played on knowing this was a nice park with all sorts of good features. One of the key features on this course is the undulations of the terrain. There are not many level holes out here and Hole #14 best represents what this course looks like. It is a typical park course with mature trees, lush turf, and a somewhat open feel with key trees to avoid.

I think the number on this hole has changed with the re-design, but I do not remember which hole it is numbered as right now.

Hole #14 Rolling terrain consistent in this park

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

If I remember correctly this hole # was also different when I played the course. The tee you are seeing here is the championship tee and it is a really long carry to go clear over the entire pond if you choose to go straight at the basket. This is exactly the reason I still play the middle to forward tees when I travel . . . this would have led to a lost disc or two and perhaps a broken windshield.

Hole #17 Water shot over large pond

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

 

A couple of the unique features of the amenities on this course were the Distances were painted on the corner of the concrete teepad to help the thrower decide how much disc they need on a hole. Vandalism would be tough and pointless, so hopefully it is a deterrent. They also have a unique basket locking mechanism that also indicates where the next tee is. I sure hope that whoever moves basket understands what they are looking at or it will really confuse people on where to walk next.

Next Tee arrow and Theft protection

Next tee arrow and locking mechanism

I still enjoyed this course despite the negatives I raise in my review. It is a wonderful property with rolling undulations as well as lots of mature and healthy trees. Throw in some moderate elevation and a nice pond shot (if you dare) and it is a solid course. I would return and I hope to play the North course also. We headed out and decided to make a stop at Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb. It was a unique building and an interesting piece of history of an incredible man.

Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb

A great great man!

UIS – Springfield, IL

We made another stop in Springfield for a 9 hole course at the University of Illinois, Springfield. We found a parking spot that we assumed we would not be ticketed and went to play the course quickly. It is always tough to know what the parking rules are on a school property, so sometimes we just take a risk of getting a ticket.

We got the ball rolling with a couple of short simple hole and then a nice long tunnel shot (maybe 30’ wide). It is a tough hole if you end up in the evergreens so I recommend not worrying about distance and just throw a couple of straight mid ranges and get yourself close for a decent putt.

Hole #3 Nice narrow lane through mature evergreens

Thanks to DGCR user: Martin Dewgarita

Hole #7 is a unique hole because there is a concrete structure (artwork) of a fallen pillar of some sort.

Thanks to DGCR user: Martin Dewgarita

 

Apparently this course has been updated to 18 holes since we were there to play it. The distance is really decent overall and the back 9 apparently adds a whole bunch of distance diversity. I might have to give this course a second visit to see where they added the new holes. I wouldn’t bypass this course if I was in town for a weekend, but I wouldn’t likely return if I had other options, but with the added 9 holes I am always game to visit a course to play new holes.

 

Oak Grove – Springfield, MO

The DGCR page says that this was possibly the oldest course in Missouri. It was designed by Steady Ed Headrick and it even had some very old Mach 1 baskets. It was a park behind a school and it is fenced in on all sides and surrounded by homes. Nothing like getting the day going by waking up the locals at about 7:00AM . . .yeah that was me . . . I bent down to pick up a penny from the ground and accidentally set off my car alarm. I apologize for the early morning wake up! Oh well . . . off I go.

I imagine this is a crowded place for people to play disc golf. I also imagine that the neighbors take issue with the course from time of time because the proximity to the properties along the edge is close at times . . .  unfortunately, the design incorporated those areas into the design or there just wouldn’t have been much room here. However, I suppose when this course went in . . . the discs didn’t travel as far either. Perhaps a re-design could remove a couple of holes (or even just use some different angles and still provide a good course on such a small property.

This course is mostly flat, it has key mature trees to avoid (mostly Oak), hence the name Oak Grove. It is tight and creates a couple of strange walks and dangerous areas, but it does still have a little bit of challenge and it provides and adequate amount of fun. Here are two of the holes that I enjoyed.

Hole #2 Typical looking hole on this course

Thanks to DGCR user: dudiablo

Hole #7 The longest hole on the course

 

Thanks to DGCR user: dudiablo

I imagine this is a crowded place for people to play disc golf. I also imagine that the neighbors take issue with the course from time of time because the proximity to the properties along the edge is close at times . ..  unfortunately, the design incorporated those areas into the design or there just wouldn’t have been much room here. However, I suppose when this course went in . . . the discs didn’t travel as far either. Perhaps a re-design could remove a couple of holes (or even just use some different angles and still provide a good course on such a small property.

 

Now we were off for two of the major destination courses on this entire trip. In preparation for this trip  I had sent a message through the Lodge at Taylor Ranch website and arranged to be able to play the courses when we passed through town. I didn’t know a whole lot about the history of the Ranch, how the owner was connected to the game of disc golf, or much other than the two courses had received some high ratings from DGCR users and there were two courses there. We arrive in Pawhuska in the morning after a few hours drive from Springfield, MO. I followed the GPS coordinates and it didn’t want to take me to the right place. We approached the GPS location and it didn’t at all look like there was a disc golf course around. It was a lot of pasture and farms. I called Jim (the owner) on the phone and fortunately he was able to direct me to the location. He wasn’t home at the time so he told me to just head out and he would meet up with us somewhere along the way, which I thought was very trusting, since I was expecting to have to pay in advance of playing the course.

The Lodge-Island Course – Pawhuska, OK

We were greeted in the parking lot by their dog (later I found out his name was Joe).

Joe the friendly guide dog

Thanks to DGCR user: Heathen

He was very friendly and looked excited to have a visitor. I was excited to have a friendly dog and a guide for the course and he was always within a couple hundred feet of us for the first 9 holes . . . which is where Jim and his wife met up with us. They had driven the truck on the far end of the property at the top of the hill. We talked for a few minutes about then went on our way to finish the Island course. He went on his way back to his office while we finished our round.

Hole #8 One of the tight wooded holes on this long and technical course.

Thanks to DGCR user: Heathen

Hole #9 Great hole with a challenging uphill shot to a rock formation.

 

Thanks to DGCR user: Heathen

Hole #15 Nice hole over some water again

Thanks to DGCR user: Heathen

The most memorable hole is also the namesake of the course . . . Hole #17 The Island Hole. The thing I find very intriguing about this hole is that it plays so much like the Island Hole #17 at TPC Sawgrass . . . one of the most famous holes in the game of golf. This is one feature I am going to have to use in the future when I try to market disc golf to existing golf courses, making the correlation to golf in the context of disc golf.

Hole #17 Disc Golf’s version of TPC Sawgrass #17 Island Hole

Thanks to DGCR user: Greg Layton

After the round on the Island course we met up with him in the clubhouse. We talked for a few minutes and he decided he would come along on Moccassin Creek for at least some of the course.

 

The Lodge-Moccassin Creek – Pawhuska, OK

We headed to the first tee. I allowed Jim the honors as the host and he lined up on the teepad and let the disc fly with no warm-up. The wind was howling, his disc elevated . . . and it ended up going about 60’ backwards . . . WELCOME to Oklahoma folks! I now knew I needed to keep my driver low to fight through the wind, and I felt bad letting Jim throw first now.

We played along, chatting as we went, enjoying his awesome property and just being outside throwing discs around. This truly felt like a place I could live. Not only was the disc golf incredible, the host was very welcoming and friendly, and I thoroughly enjoyed our round. There were some really interesting and challenging shots and some good stories to go along with the few hours we spent on the course together. My personal favorite story was how the hill off to the west of the course was rumored to have been where robbers would hang out back in the days of wagon travel. They would watch for when people were passing by and they would swoop in and rob the stagecoaches and wagons. There could be a bunch of treasures and such on the northwest portion of his course if anything ever got dropped or left behind. There also is a lot of rocky terrain so it could be a wonderful place for people to hide their treasures. What a great story to add to the mystique of this course.

I cannot describe how cool this course is in words . . . rarely am I unable to put my thoughts into text. This is simply put an incredibly unique property with incredible disc golf, incredible hospitality, and a lot of wind to mess with every shot. Here are the highlights of my day, in terms of natural beauty, disc golf challenge, unique ideas and features, and just a little bit of the fun I had . . . A huge thank you to my wife for talking so many pictures to remember this course. I have also included a couple of very short videos too, the quality isn’t the best but they are fun to watch.

 Hole #1 It was hard not to laugh a little.

Joe enjoying a scratch while Jim went backward to retrieve his disc.

Hole #2 Metal tanks create some unique obstacles

Thanks to DGCR user: Heathen

Hole #4 Jim watching me throw

Look at my expression!

Hole #4 Me watching Jim throw . . .. crack

Prelude to a crack.

Hole #4 Jim proudly shows off his newly cracked plastic

 

Jim Proudly showing his newly cracked disc

Hole #5 Tee showing the landing area.

Thanks to DGCR user: Heathen

Hole #5 Approach up over this rock formation.

Thanks to DGCR user: Heathen

Hole #7 Boulderdash

Look at how high that disc is!

Hole #7 Getting an incredible bounce off the backboard on film . . .

Priceless!

Hole #11 Forced water carry (was just sludge in winter when I was there)

Thanks to DGCR user: Heathen

Hole #12 Hanging Basket

I missed!

Hole #13 Long approach from the top of the hill

Hands in the air like you just don’t care!

Hole #13 Parked Approach off the basket

Parkjob!

Hole #16

Beautiful Photo . . . if only I wasn’t in the picture!

Robbers Hill

Watch out behind you they might come snatch your discs.

 

After the round we went back into the clubhouse and Jim showed us pictures, we talked shop, we shared stories, and simply put had a wonderful conversation. It felt like we were old friends just catching up, not that I had just met him a few hours earlier or that I was paying him to play his disc golf courses. After writing this blog entry and seeing the photos again, I am dead set on hitting this course up again next winter. Maybe I can make it a road trip out to the Memorial at the end of February with a nice weekend stay in the cabin on the property. I could easily play a couple of rounds per day out here and enjoy sitting down with a cocktail and chit chatting with Jim and his wife in the clubhouse in the evening.

I highly suggest hitting up The Lodge if you ever get the chance. You will not regret it. It may not be the most polished course in the world (since it has a lot of rough terrain) but it is as much about the experience as it is about the disc golf when you come here. DO NOT MISS IT!

Alternatour Ace Race at Tendick January 2nd, 2011

December 16, 2012 · Published in ACES, My Home Course Valley View Park, Technique, Tournaments  by Mike Harrington ·

Coming off my poor showing at the Match Play event from yesterday and my excitement about the Ace I did hit yesterday, I was excited about the possibilities at the Ace Race at Tendick Nature Park held by Alternatour. This is a group of disc golfers who run tournaments outside the norm of PDGA sanctioned tournaments. These are supposed to be fun and unique and I respect that these guys are doing what makes them happy in the sport. For an idea of the types of events they run, you should really check out the Alternatour website. I love their tagline though . . . “Come join the professional rec. division”. It seems to be more about the fun than the competition . . . something I have grown to really appreciate in the last year or so.

I had arranged to play my round with Jason Shephard Hoffman (DGCR user: jhgonzo)(who designed LTC in Cleveland), because we had been trying to meet up for a round for at least a year and it never seemed to work out. He also had brought his son Hunter along so I was excited to get to play with the two of them.

I also was hoping to meet up with Matt (DGCR user: Mashnut) because he had been playing a massive number of courses in the past year and a half. He had passed me on the courses played list at this point, so I wanted to know who was more addicted to playing new courses than I was. Obviously, that was something I had been doing a lot of also so I wanted to meet a kindred spirit. We met briefly but he and/or his girlfriend/wife were also suffering from a cold so they left immediately following the tournament. We didn’t get much of a chance to visit, but at least I got to meet him. The three of us traded our DGCR Travel Tags and completely messed up the whole system by doing so. It was at that point I decided I no longer needed to buy a travel tag. I would rather just meet the people and play a round with them than feel obligated to swap tags. It isn’t like the travel tags brought us together, I would have wanted to play with them anyways.

And now on to the action of the day. The tournament was 2 rounds of 10 holes of very short but technical holes. Both rounds you were allowed 3 shots at every hole with your own discs so essentially we had 60 chances to get an ace and hit metals. I remember taking my Star Spider, Star Mako, and a Star Gator . . . my three midranges I rely heavily on for my upshots.  It was 3 points for a metal (basket and above), 5 points for an ace . . . but there were two or three holes played from the normal tee making those much longer holes than the rest. Those holes were worth double the points so 6 for a metal and 10 for an ace. I remember doing pretty well in the first round but I do not remember exactly when my metals and aces were hit so I am going to combine them all into one commentary.

I know I hit metal on one of the standard holes (actually Hole #3 on the normal course) which was worth 6 points.

Hole #3

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

I remember specifically hitting an ace and a metal on another hole which played to Hole #15’s basket for 8 points in one round.

Hole #15

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

I also know I hit an ace on a short shot (almost a jump putt) on what is Hole #2. It couldn’t have been much more than 75’. I remember Josh Hamm (from the group in front of me) making some comment after hitting that ace about wondering if I slept (or maybe asking if I was born) at Valley View or something to that effect. I laughed at the comment. Valley View is a short technical course and I have been playing it since I began the game. The short ace race holes were very similar to many of the shots there so it was as if I had a home course advantage.

Those three holes bring my total up to 19 points. I finished with 28 points so I had 3 more metals, but I honestly do not remember which holes they were on. I was excited about my total but always second guessing if it was going to be enough. My group thought it was for sure going to get me in the money because they were all amazed at the dead aim I had taken during the tourney. You have to understand that I rarely “go for” aces. Normally I am all about parking my upshot under the basket. In fact . . . it is around this time that I decided to change my job on Facebook to Parking Upshots. I also came up with the name Mr. Upshot . .  a little bit self inflating to name yourself something, but I was just having some fun. A good friend of mine Scott Slauson has also often times referred to my approach shots as 1000 rated. I almost always seem to put the mid-ranges underneath the basket for a tap in. If only I could drive as well as I throw my upshots.

Anyways, they were going through the awards and the final cash spot was Josh Hamm who had 13 points, then there was a 5 way tie at 14 points which included the two guys from Acetime, Matt and J.P. If you have never seen their youtube videos you need to check them out. They are just  guys who are all about having fun with this game . . . even if it isn’t PDGA tourneys. I remember encountering them many times on different disc golf courses in 2009 and 2010 as I travelled around hitting new courses . . .with their homemade wooden framed camera on a tripod. They set the camera up near the basket and just throw to record aces. Two of the classic videos are here:

Matt and JP both throw and JP aces #5 at Abendschein, Matt and JP run to the basket to celebrate and the hilarity ensues.

 

Matt and JP both ace #8 at Abendschein at the same time. The elusive Double Ace!

Acetime Baby Woot!

Well anyways, why do I include them in this blog entry? Because they are clearly some pretty good disc golfers with the ability to hit a lot of aces . . . since they get so much practice at it. In the 2010 Ace Race JP won the event with 13 points and Matt tied for second (losing in a playoff however to end in 3rd) by getting 9 points. In this years event (2011) Matt and JP were both in the tie at 14 points. I was unable to make the 2012 event but Matt ended up in the money one more time. In 2011, I was pretty proud to have won this event with players like these two and to have done so by double the points of the next highest score was pretty exciting. I was ecstatic and I surely went home with a smile on my face . . . and $104 cash, a trophy, and some discs donated by Widye. Not bad for a day of just having some fun!

Here are the results from the 2011 Ace Race at Tendick.

2011 Beginning the Year with a Bang 1/1/2011

July 4, 2012 · Published in ACES, Tournaments  by Mike Harrington ·

2011 Beginning the Year with a Bang 1/1/2011

Terry Miller decided to throw together a small get-together to try out a match play event. The weather was extremely cold and windy, I would guess somewhere near single digits when we arrived at the course and the wind was blowing at least 15-20 MPH. The idea to do this small match play event was somewhat spur of the moment so we only ended up with 7 people. Terry Miller, Mike Harrington, Dane Miller, Ben Habanek, Ben Lynch, Jason SanFilippo, and Jennifer Brandt. Jennifer offered to just sit out the matches and just play along for the fun of it. I think that was the first time that Jason and J.B. had played Valley View also.

We had random draws for who each person played and we all agreed to quick 9 hole matches. It was freezing cold and 3 rounds of 18 would have taken way too long. I drew Ben Habanek for Round #1.This was bound to be a good match. Ben and I had both been playing about the same in leagues for quite a while. We started out on the front 9 with this first match. Ben birdied #1 after I was unable to throw in a long putt so he went 1 Up. Then I ended up 3 putting on #2 while Ben safely took a 3 getting him to 2 Up. We pushed #3 with pars, and despite me birdying 4, 5, and 6, Ben was able to tie me on each of those holes and again tying me on 7, 8, and 9 with pars. So Ben won the match on 8 winning 2 and 1.

I ended up drawing Jason in the second match. I was fairly confident I could handle Jason . . . since it was his first time at Valley View compared to the 250 rounds I had played here in the last 2 years. We began the second round matches on the back 9 and we both parred #10 but I birdied #11 to go 1 Up. Then Jason bogied #12 while I took a par taking me to 2 Up. We somehow both bogies #13 but I bogied #14 and #15 while Jason parred taking us back to All Square and I missed a fairly simple putt on #18 for par and Jason won the hole and the match 1Up. I literally cannot think of the last time I had 4 bogies on an entire round at Valley View let alone just the back 9.

We re-sorted the third round by each persons record. Dane Miller and I both had 2 losses so we were playing for 5th place. Ben Lynch and Jason San Filippo were each 1-1 and playing for 3rd place while Ben Habanek and Terry Miller were 2-0 so they were playing for 1st place.

In the third round we started back on #1 again. I bogied #2 to give Dane the first lead of the match at 1 Up. Then Dane birdied #5 and #6 giving him a 3 Up lead and when we push #7 he ended with the win 3 and 2 so I took 6th place out of 6 people. OUCH!

I kept playing along watching the finals match between Ben H. and Terry. I also decided I would be running for an ace on #8 and #9 because we had all agreed to pay out on an ace. I didn’t do well on #8 and ended with a par, but when I stepped up to #9 I called my shot.

In the picture the basket is on the far left side of the shot not in the red circle (alternate position). It is a straight shot with jail beyond and to the left of the basket, so if you miss the ace you will be in trouble.

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

I said I was going to kiss the right side of the tree 5’ in front of the basket, while I missed my line by an inch on an absolute bee-line, I did not miss the basket and I had myself another Valley View Ace. This was my 6th ace overall 1st of the year on the 1st of the year, and I ended up with $30 from the group. The funny thing is that I won more on that ace than Ben Habanek did for winning the whole Match play. He got paid $20 and Terry ended up with $10 for their first and second place finishes.

 

This was a really fun event and something I plan to make bigger someday. I have played a lot of match play in golf and it is absolutely a true test of will and determination as opposed to just skill. It is a very mental type of competition and really gets the adrenaline flowing. Writing this blog entry is enough to make me go layout a format for a match play tournament right now. Look forward to a tourney later on in 2012!

2010 Revisited (Statistically speaking)

July 4, 2012 · Published in Statistics  by Mike Harrington ·

2010 Revisited (Statistically speaking)

This blog entry is all about my 2010 statistics . . . and also some comparison to my 2009 statistics. I want to show some measurements of my improvement and also quantify just how addicted I am to this game by showing you more statistics. Some of you may be completely bored by this information, but I will thoroughly enjoy looking at it and analyzing it, because that is just how I am and how my mind works.

 

Courses Played

2010: 83 (maintaining 100 new courses per year average). 2009: 132 (including a couple Temp. courses).

The most courses I played in 1 day in 2010 was 7 courses, which resulted in 102 different holes being played (1 more than I had achieved in 2009). I also played 120 holes in one day but that included a round where I played a round from the short tees and a round from the long tees).

Days Played

2010: 191 out of 365.                                                                            2009: 160/365

Rounds Played

2010: 416                                                                                                  2009: 371

Holes Played

2010: 6709                                                                                                2009: 5797

Miles Walked

2010: 330.84                                                                                            2009: 266.28

# of Throws

2010: 19058                                                                                              2009: 18488

Putts taken

2010: 7541                                                                                                2009: 6840

Average Putts Per Hole

2010: 1.12 Putts Per Hole                                                                   2009 1.18 Putts Per Hole

This brought my average putts per holes down to 1.15 for my 2 year career.

Longest Streak Playing

2010: 30 (December 26th-January 24th)                                          2009: 8

Longest Streak Not Playing

2010: 9 (Dec. 4-12 because of a terrible knee)                          2009: 8

Most Days Played in a Month

2010: 21 (March)                                                                                   2009: 21 (December)

Least Days Played in a Month

2010: 11 (July)                                                                                         2009: 6 (August)

Aces

2010: 3                                                                                                       2009: 2

My first ace took 156 rounds to achieve and my first ace at Valley View took 157 rounds which I find to be strangely similar.

Most Holes Played in a Month

844 (January)

Fewest Holes Played in a Month

325 (July)

The average holes played in a month is 559 (approximately 18.38 holes per day in 2010 bringing my average for the 2 years up to 17.13). This number will be important at a later date.

 

In 2010 I had 134 throw-ins or putts from outside the circle resulting in 6294’ of shots made outside the circle with an average of 46.9’. Compare this to 2009 when I only had 55 throw-ins or putts outside the circle for a total of 2782’ for an average of 50.5’. I topped my longest throw-in in 2010 hitting from 210’. 155’ was my prior best from 2009.

PDGA Ratings

I ended 2009 with an 846 rating (up from 791(my only other rating)), although I hadn’t played a tourney after May of 2009. My first update in March of 2010 I went up to 873, then 902, 904, 908, and ending the year at 915. I was hopeful to achieve 925-930 by the end of the 2011 to continue my improvement.

 

That was my 2010 in a nutshell . . . playing more disc golf, playing better disc golf, and getting more involved. I am looking forward to more of everything in 2011.

 

2010 Valley View Statistics and MORE!

July 4, 2012 · Published in ACES, Design, My Home Course Valley View Park, Statistics, Technique  by Mike Harrington ·

2010 Valley View Statistics and MORE!

This blog entry is all about Valley View Park in new Berlin, WI. This is my most played course by far . . . I mean I probably play 4-5 rounds here for every other round I play. It is short, it is quick, but it is technical, and it is close to home so it is an easy sell for me. It became my home course by default because it is not my favorite course, but for multiple reasons it is the course I play most frequently.

My first year at Valley View was discussed in this blog entry, which was mostly about statistics and scores. This new entry is about The Elusive Valley View Ace, my statistics from 2010 , becoming the Assistant League Director and Statistician, and most importantly the changes I made to the course and my first real involvement in disc golf course design. I am going to start with my statistics.

 

The Elusive Valley View Ace

I kept playing locally and hadn’t played in a tournament since May. I was enjoying getting out a few nights a week after work including my standard leagues. One thing I had begun to notice was that the best discs I had for a couple specific holes at Valley View, were either too understable or too overstable and was looking for something more neutral. For Hole #5 and Hole #8 I needed something that was going to hold a line more and not cut out to the left at the end. My Spider was cutting out too quickly, but my Stingray was turning over too much on both of these holes. I had picked up a Mako sometime earlier this summer but hadn’t thrown it a whole lot. I decided by looking at the flight numbers that this could be a good disc for those gentle anhyzers at Valley View, so I threw it in the side pouch of my bag which is where I put discs I normally do not throw but want to try out some shots. Well I was correct, no more than a week after putting the disc into my side pouch of my bag for occasional practice throws I had finally gotten my first ace at Valley View on 8/25/2010. Hole #8 at Valley View is only 181’ and is a tight little fairway that requires a nice anhyzer for a RHBH player. I have since learned to flick this hole quite well, but the anhyzer was my first shot of choice there. It took me 156 rounds which is bordering on ridiculous for how short this course is, but I think it points to the fact that more aces go in when you are unfamiliar with a hole than if you are out trying to park them all for drop in deuces.

Here is a picture of the hole so you don’t have to imagine what it looks like. Hole #8

Thanks to DGCR founder: timg

 

2010 Valley View Statistics

2010 Valley View League Scores (-6.96 average for 2010 leagues)

Spring 10 weeks -3, -3, -7, -7, -7, -3, -5, -9, -10, -5 (-5.9 average)

Summer 10 weeks -4, -9, -7, -11, -6, -10, -11, -5, -4, -10 (-7.7 average)

Fall 8 weeks -10, -4, -5, -8, -10, -10, -6, -6 (-7.375 average)

 

Overall 2010 Valley View Statistics

141 rounds total

2010 Average score (47.00) which is -7 which was about 3 strokes better than 2009

Best Round -13         Worst round -1

I am excited when I compare 2009 to 2010!

Overall 2009 Valley View Statistics

51 rounds

2009 Average score (49.82) which is just better than -4 per round.

Best round -9

Worst round +3

 

My score progression and some personal bests.

3/6 First time in double digits under par (-10) after dozens of 45’s (-9).

3/7 (-12 (Personal Best)      4/6 (-10)

5/19 (-9) on 2 disc night w/ Spider and SL Ties my best league round

5/26 (-10) 2 weeks in a row of my best league round

7/7 2 disc night Spider and SL (-11)

7/13 (-12) after recently picking up a Champ Rhyno from Scott Slauson

7/21 (-10 & -11)   7/28 (-11)  7/31 (-11)  8/17 (-11)   8/18 (-10)   8/25 (-10 and -10)  9/22 (-10)    9/29 (-13)

I had shot my best ever round in a practice round before league (9/29) which still remains my best score at VV. I have done it a few times since, but never topped -13.

You get the picture with these scores, my game had improved at Valley View and I finally had shaken whatever it was holding me back here. I improved my league average dramatically and began to shoot double digits with more regularity, sure there were still those tough rounds, but I knew my potential had elevated.

 

Assistant League Director (Self Titled; I did all statistics and ran the league when Terry was gone)

I started keeping all of the scores from every person for all league rounds in 2010 to prevent sandbaggers and people wanting to play in a lower division just to win more money. Little did I know how big of a frustration this would eventually become, but for the time being it gave me reasoning to make people play in an appropriate division.

We had 4 regular league players averaging better than 44 (-10) every week. There were more than 20 regulars who were averaging between 46-50 (-4 to -8) every week, and another 15 or more averaging between 50-54 (Even to -4). This covers the majority of players at Valley View, at least in terms of leagues. The people shooting over par simply were not regular enough attendees, so often times the people playing in the Am division were alone or maybe competing against another player or two. The women virtually all averaged above par so we kept them in their own division, but the average range was anywhere between 54-70 (Even to +16), but the ladies much preferred playing with each other as opposed to being lumped in with the corresponding men’s divisions.

The bottom line was . . . if your average fell in a particular scoring range, then there is a particular division in which you would play. If you didn’t want to play there . . . your other choice was to go home. Now I didn’t do this to piss people off and make them want to leave the league, but in the end Terry and I, and anyone who was appropriately placed in a division, were fed up with people coming into league and saying they were worse than they actually were, winning money every week and when they were asked to move up they would stop coming to league. They stopped coming because the only reason they were there was to win funny money. It is really sad to think people would do this, but it is that sense of entitlement that so many disc golfers have that I think is causing a lot of the problems that we have in this sport. Whatever happened to competing for the fun of it and trying to beat the course . . . instead our sport is all about beating the guy next to you so you can go home with $10 worth of plastic. Don’t get me wrong competition is good and I love it as much as the next guy, but I also am friendly with my competitors. One day they might beat me and I will congratulate them, the next I might win and I hope they would reciprocate.

This greedy entitlement is sad and I am doing everything I can to rid our leagues of those people. No offense, we just don’t need people there that act this way. We want people who love the sport, enjoy friendly competition, but are ok when they don’t walk away with something tangible. I have since made even more adjustment to the payouts of league because we felt like if we flatten the payout and give out more prizes for CTP’s and fun games that less people will be able to “sandbag” just to win funny money. There is basically less incentive to dominate a division and everyone would be eligible for these other prizes, not just the top 3 best players in each division. You can probably tell this works me up, well it does, and if/when I run my own league I will find a solution for this.

 

My first actual involvement in disc golf course design

I had noticed that there were a few of the alternate sleeves (set in concrete) laying around the course, so I decided to snag them and find some alternate positions for them. I also know there were a couple of placements still in the ground that were not used anymore (#4 because it would be a stupid hole with all of the small trees in the way, and #13 because it was a dangerous spot coming within just a few feet of the #14 tee). I ended up with 4 extra sleeves and I had picked out a few spots that I liked for alternate positions. I consulted with Terry “T-Dogg” “The Disc Golf Guy” Miller and he felt like my additions would be acceptable.

A few weeks prior to doing this work, I had brought the sleeves (with the concrete still on them) up to the top of the hill and hid them in the woods behind the shed on the property, so I went up there with my truck, picked them up and went to work. I had all the tools needed to dig the holes for the sleeves and also the tools to pack the soil back around the sleeves. This was different than just pouring concrete around a brand new sleeve because of the need for back-filling. When you pour concrete into a hole it fills all the gaps and it also is adjacent to undisturbed soil which is solid and compact. When you are placing the concreted sleeves back into the ground you are basically backfilling with topsoil which is nearly impossible to get the soil packed in as firm as it was before digging the hole. With the vandalism that occurs here along with the loose rich organic peat soil I felt the need to get these packed in as firmly as possible. The last thing I wanted to have happen was a sleeve being loose and attractive to the vandals or thieves.

I had settled on the 4 best pin positions and I will go over each basket below.

 

Hole #3

The first location was on Hole #3 longer (280’) and to the right of the short basket. There was a couple more guardian trees protecting this basket, but it also had undergrowth beyond and around the two sides of the baskets. There also were a dozen or so stones about 15’ short of the basket that would stop skip shots from getting underneath the basket, or having a chance to be an ace. I felt like this was just a natural position because it suited my eyes. I cut a few of the lower limbs off some trees including a few hanging branches that were not only a safety issue, but also blocking what would be a good shot. There were also a few branches beyond the basket that would make the ability to straddle out with a putt too difficult. There was however one fallen tree that created a really nice frame for the basket. It was about waist high and it created an interesting obstacle in my mind, so I left it in place. I also cut down any buckthorn or honeysuckle that was within about 15-20’ of the basket making what I felt was a really nice looking green area.

There are a few desired shots on this hole. You can throw a soft hyzer out over the box-car derby track and either let it stall down towards the basket (about 15’ below the track) or you can skip it off the track. There also is a straight to slight anhyzer shot that goes right up the fairway inside of one guardian tree on the left (which also guards the right side of the short position). You will want it to land short of the basket or risk being in an area where you will not have a putt. Short is better no matter how you come into this basket.

Hole #7

I headed on to the next spot, #7. I decided to throw in a long position here that would really put some challenge into this course. It isn’t long enough to be a par 4, but I bet there are a lot of bogies here from overturned drives, or drives that stall out and end up in the rough unmaintained area to the left of the new basket. There is a walking path that is barely used by walkers, but has a nice buildup of mulch creating a natural fairway off to the right of the short basket. I decided to take advantage of that already created lane and tucking the new basket just off to the side of that pathway. This hole also plays approximately 280’ but is a completely different shot than #3 so I felt good about how this pin position would increase the variety on this course. There were also two issues I had with this basket. The first issue was that the #5 basket is just over a creekbed (underwater in spring but dry in summer). A turned over drive might miss all of the guardian trees along the creek and end up getting close to the #5 basket. My thought however was that if we wanted the basket on #7 to be in the long position, we could always move the #5 basket to the left when using the long position on #7 (although in the end this sleeve was damaged by a truck and unusable, forcing a dangerous area). The other issue with this basket location was that it goes away from the walkway to the next hole which ends up creating a little bit of a congested area as the people on the tee wait for the group in front to walk back across the fairway. I didn’t feel like this was enough reason to avoid this basket location, but these were the two things that factored into my mind from a design standpoint.

If you stand on the tee it is virtually a straight shot, but you want to throw more of an anhyzer 9r left to right shot, because there is more trouble to the right with the creekbed and the shrubs guarding the inside corner of the slight dogleg. A lot of people will turn their disc over too quickly and a lot will let their disc stall out at the bend ending up in the underbrush. There is some underbrush beyond the basket and to the left so you really need to hit the fairway up the center and leave your disc short for the best putt at the basket.

Hole #10

Hole #10 once had a long basket that was concreted into an old stump, which was about 25-35’ past and to the right of the short basket. I decided to return the new sleeve back to this general area but place the basket back in the soil instead of a stump, since the stump had gotten destroyed. This hole was interesting because there isn’t a completely defined fairway like most of these wooded holes. The fairway exists for the first 140-150’ but then after that point there are a few smaller trees at approximately 25-30’ from the basket that you need to avoid. The green is also small because there are numerous trees surrounding the basket on the sides and deep. This “ring” of trees is avoidable with a straddle putt and only about 15’ away from the basket. Outside of that 15’ ring, you will have a tougher decision on how to attack the putt. I think it is a great green and while most people disagree with me about there being a good shot into this basket, I think it is a good hole. It again raised the difficulty on this course (which is generally too easy for many people). One other benefit to placing the basket back in the old area was that I didn’t have to do anything to the surrounding area to make this green playable.

I seem to birdie this position about as frequently as I par the hole now. I play a low flat shot that hits the ground at about 150’ and slides under the basket. While I may hit one of those guardian trees my disc will slide along the ground to either side and then probably hit another tree trunk and stop. That should leave me with no more than a 20-30’ putt at the basket. If you are to use the airway . . .you risk the chance of kicking hard off of one of these guardian trees. If you stay elevated here you would end up twice as far away as the 20-30’ if you keep your shot low. I think this subtle feature of this hole is underestimated and I think it is what makes this position a good green area. Some people do not think the risk/reward side of this hole out and end up disgruntled because they rarely birdie it and sometimes may even walk off with a bogey. I for one play the safest way, but I also think it is the easiest way to park the hole, which to me sounds like a win/win or a low risk/high reward type of hole.

Hole #15

The final position I had decided on was on one of the more open holes #15. I wanted to get away from the constant right hand baskets so I extended #15 about 50’ but also made it a straighter shot. It was also up the entire hill and the basket was placed on the flat ground towards the parking lot. This basket position did not last long because sometime the next summer this basket was stolen (perhaps a consequence I should have thought more about because it made the basket much more visible to people in the parking lot). Fortunately, we got the basket returned after we pulled the course and threatened the course would remain out until it was returned. When the thieves brought the basket back, the must have kept the concrete and sleeve so we just returned the basket to its only placement on #15.

The basic shot on this new position was to throw a big spike flick shot or a dead straight up the hill shot. A hyzer risks catching the tree on the right (which overhangs the short basket) so that really isn’t a desirable route.

 

My statistics on the new pin positions

It was November 6th, 2010 that I put in the new alternate pin positions on these four holes.

In my first round, I shot (-7) birdying #10 and bogeying #7. I birdied #10 in the second and fourth rounds and got #15 in the third round. I finally got #3 and #7 on my 6th round of playing those holes. I rarely birdie #7 and sometimes may walk away with a bogey because it is the hardest shot to pull off in my opinion. #3 is duecable more frequently for me because I can play that skip shot off the road or throw the gentle anhyzer or straight shot depending on the wind conditions. I have more options on this hole than any of the other new positions. Hole #10 is probably my most frequently deuced new position because I really trust that low sliding shot on this hole. Hole #15 was not in the ground long enough for me to really know how it played, but it was at the end of my distance ability so I would say I rarely birdied it, but almost always got a par on it because it was wide open and straight.

These new longer positions were a lot of fun to install because it gave us options we had for course layout that we hadn’t had before. I would also venture to guess that overall these positions play at least 50% harder than the original positions, and can definitely lead to bogies on 3 of the 4 holes (#15 was a simple par at worst). I have since done a few more hole improvements but I will save that for another blog entry.

 

 

 

Cold Turkey 11/28/2010 The First PDGA tournament held at Fox River Park – Grey Fox in Silver Lake, WI

July 2, 2012 · Published in Technique, Tournaments  by Mike Harrington ·

Cold Turkey V 11/28/2010 First PDGA tournament at Fox River Park-Grey Fox in Silver Lake, WI

Back in March I had walked the course with one of the designers after the layout had all but been completely finalized. I had asked if I could come along because I already had begun to appreciate course design and I wanted to see what a course looked like before it even had the tees or baskets in. We tweaked a few tees on this walk through but for the most part, the layout was already set. This course opened in May of 2010 and my first rounds were actually on my birthday 6/11/2010. If I remember right the holes were virtually all in the short positions which would explain my decent scores of 57 (+3), and two 59’s (+5). I also came back two more weekends that summer and shot rounds of 62, 58, 57, 62, and 58. I do not recall the setup for those rounds either, but the long setup can play many strokes harder than the all short placements. I imagine that those rounds were on a medium to long setup.

I also decided to make one more trip out there mid-week before the tournament . . . this was possibly a really bad decision since I ended up playing 27 holes (front 9 and the entire 18) and ended up shooting a 75 (+21) on the 18 hole round. This round was with all of the pin positions in their longest settings, but I also had 10 two putts inside the circle. That is by far the worst putting round I had ever had since playing this game. I do not remember what I was doing wrong but I remember really letting it get to me the entire round. I didn’t have a single birdie on that round and I had a lot of bogies, 3 double bogies, 1 triple bogey, and even a quadruple bogey on a 250’ hole of all holes! I am sure one or two of those strokes were from frustration but they were still strokes I threw. That is really not the type of round I wanted to have going into a tournament, even if it was the first time I had played all the long positions.

With this being Thanksgiving week, I also attended my high school buddies annual Turkey Bowl (Flag . . . yeah right moderate tackle football) . . . I did this knowing my knee had been hurting slightly lately, I think due in part to overuse during disc golf, but also from a couple days a week of racquetball with two of my disc golf buddies Terry Miller and Dustin Falkenberg. I think I had been planting hard on my right knee and putting too much torque on the ligaments. Why I decided to still play in the Turkey Bowl I do not know but when I play sports I always give my 100% effort. I remember breaking away on a screen and literally swatting away three defenders . . . I think they were afraid of me running them over or hurting them as opposed to being afraid of my speed. While I am a big guy, I am “sneaky fast” as an old buddy used to refer to it. I played soccer for 10 years and I have extremely strong legs and a low center of gravity so it might look like I am slow and easily catchable, but often times I am underestimated. I am not fast by any means . . . but I am faster than people think I am. Anyways, I remember going home after this game and feeling like I was dying. We were getting together later in the evening for a game of cards (also customary with my high school buddies) and I could barely walk at that point, yet I had a tournament the next day. Oops!

The first round of the tournament was going to be with the baskets in all of the long positions, just like my practice round the other day. I started out on Hole #2 a relatively simple straight shot about 280’-290’ with no trees in the way only a road on the right side of the fairway . . . well guess what . . . I turned over my money driver DX Destroyer and ended up OB. Nice way to start the tournament with an OB penalty stroke.

Thanks to DGCR user: src23093

Fortunately I bounced right back with a birdie 3 on the tough long placement on #3.

Thanks to DGCR user: src23093

I was playing pretty average until I got to #9 and I ended up taking a 5 on the short tunnel shot which turns left once you are out of the woods.

Thanks to DGCR user: src23093

I played pretty well the rest of the way with only one slip-up on #17 taking a 6 with a terrible drive and a terrible roll-a-way on my uphill putt. If you have never played this hole, you need to see these pictures to understand how tough it can be. The drive needs to be about 280’-290’ and threaded down a 20’ wide fairway.

Thanks to DGCR user: src23093

Ideally you will have a look at the basket which is uphill about 150’-175’and protected by a handful of mature trees.

Thanks to DGCR user: src23093

I managed to shoot a 67 (+13), which was rated 893, on the all long layout which I think can be argued is actually a legitimate Par 57-59.

 

After round 1, I was tied for 13th out of 21 people. The leader was only 6 strokes better than me and I knew I could have played better. My knee was really throbbing at this point and it didn’t get any better after sitting down for an hour at lunch. It even started to lock up. I ended up throwing virtually all of my drives in the second round from a standstill to reduce the stress on my knee.

My second round was much better than my first round when I shot a 55 (+1) which was rated 913 (higher than my rating) with all holes in the short positions (except for 8, 13, and 16). #8 remained long because the short sleeve was damaged, #13 remained long because the island hole is just too cool, and #16 remained long because the right position is just a goofy hole.

One of the highlights of this round was duecing #7 which is a tough tunnel shot with the basket tucked to the right protected by underbrush.

Thanks to DGCR user: src23093

Another highlight was a birdie on the Island Hole #13 with a great putt from the other side of the road.

Thanks to DGCR user: gabe32

While I only moved up one position from round 1 to round 2, I was pretty happy with my performance to shoot only 5 points under my rating on average. That is not even a full stroke on this tough layout, and I know my knee cost me at least 2 or 3 strokes physically and probably another stroke or 2 mentally. This was the first time I had to deal with an injury and while it may have been initially caused by disc golf it was aggravated by football and also racquetball. This tournament was a learning experience on multiple levels.

Here are the entire tournament results and the results of just the Intermediate Division.

Intermediate (21)

Hide Round Ratings

Place

Points

Name

PDGA#

Rating

Rd1

Rd2

Total

Prize

1

84

Todd   Farnham

46092

61

946

50

970

111

2

80

Brad   Weber

40418

921

61

946

51

959

112

3

76

Teegen   Meyer

41865

921

63

928

50

970

113

4

72

Sang   Park

32663

924

62

937

52

947

114

5

68

Anthony   Sartorelli

38909

907

65

911

51

959

116

5

68

Michael   Kutella

18867

934

61

946

55

913

116

7

60

Roman   Korol

37504

898

64

919

53

936

117

7

60

Jared   Bronikowski

39887

904

65

911

52

947

117

9

52

Matthew   Buttliere

63

55

118

9

52

Paul   Johnson

46049

64

919

54

925

118

11

44

Richard   Rudzena

37371

889

62

937

59

867

121

12

40

Mike   Harrington

38024

908

67

893

55

913

122

13

36

Justin   Lammers

37852

920

71

857

52

947

123

14

32

Mike   Kaufmann

69

56

125

15

28

Brian   Beall

67

59

126

15

28

Brandon   Burbach

45933

67

893

59

867

126

17

20

Joshua   Babcock

40949

881

66

902

63

821

129

18

16

Jason   Sanfilippo

38830

880

68

884

62

833

130

19

12

Steve   Walczyk

45947

69

875

62

833

131

20

8

Jerron   Olson

39350

881

74

830

60

856

134

21

4

Dominick   Mowry

70

65

135

 

I ended up playing a few casual rounds the days following this tournament and then I realized it was time to take a break. This break ended up being the longest period of time I had ever gone without playing a round in 2 years of playing, and another year and a half since this happened. That break was 11 days . . . it seemed like an eternity for me who was used to playing a few rounds every week at the very least.