Well, there aren’t too many times when you’ll hear me giggle like a schoolgirl. Okay, that might not be exactly accurate, because I giggle a bit more than I should. However, I did it for a full 24 hours this weekend at the LiCkAtHoN, easily the single most enjoyable day of disc golf imagineable. Some back story – the LiCkAtHoN is run by Joe “Lick Me” Proud, and his fascination with licking goes well beyond this tournament. However, he is also the brilliant mastermind who puts together this show every year. Last year was my first year at the tournament and since that final round, I vowed never to miss this tournament, even with its $75 pricetag and hours of driving. If he moved it to Brazil and upped the price, I’d probably still play, and likely not get as many tick bites. And here is the Lick himself driving on the first hole of the day.
Two things of note about my camera – you can click on each picture for a larger version of the picture (because some of them become much cooler when they take up your full screen and save them as your new windows background). Also, the lense had crap on it that I didn’t notice until the next day, so all the pictures seem to have this ethereal glow to them. Makes sense, because LiCkAtHoN is heavenly.
Anyway, the LiCkAtHoN is comprised of 4 rounds at 4 different courses in the same day. The final round is played at Lick’s Links, which is a name for his suburban neighborhood and the course they set up there. That’s right, a suburban neighborhood – you play around houses, over pools (often times in pools), and for the second half of the round, all man-made surfaces are Out of Bounds (that includes sidewalks, roads, driveways, porches, gardens…) Essentially, grass and pools are your only safe landing zones, aside from being in the basket.
But I’m ahead of myself. After getting up at 4:30am, we head out for the first round at Hero’s private disc golf course. As the story goes, Hero (a CT player who most people really didn’t know altogether too well) spent a year in his 25 acre backyard quietly installing a disc golf course without telling a soul. Before you knew it, he was completed, doing the work of a dozen men. The course is a fantastic privately-owned course, and in a few years that course could be absolutely mind-blowing. So we all split up into groups, and here are some of those groups that Jeannie was nice enough to snap some photos of. (Lick goes out of his way to come up with Licknames for everyone, so that’s what you get.
Lickmeforabuc, Didter Lickder, and French Lickpu
Jalick, BigNicklicker, and Git R Licked
Lap Me, Milce, and Carlickwritwoleft
Nevertheless, Heroes was the perfect choice to start to the day. I was playing the course blind, having not had a chance to play any practice holes. I started with a birdie and a slew of pars, so I was actually beating my brother, the four-time champion. Here’s his drive on hole 2.
Bitchlickthunderfanny in a rare moment of trailing Notsofatslick
And here’s why. Look at the form!
That Indians visor is cursed, I swear
So I started strong, and then my putting fell apart at the seams. I ended up only shooting two birdies on a course that had at least a dozen potential birdies (and a few ace runs) out there. It was very disappointing. I did make a 50′ putt through trees, but that was to save a par (another case where I’m gold if it’s a tough par save, but I’m an idiot if it’s an easy birdie opportunity). I ended up shooting a 58 on the course where the leader carded a 51. Being seven strokes out of it after one round was not what I was hoping for. They were paying the top 10 of 35, so I had my work cut out for me. (I was in 13th place at the end of the round)
With that, we headed out in the car to go to Wickham State Park, which is a course that I love but one that always manages to kick my ass. I’ve never beaten a 60 there, and even that isn’t an overwhelmingly good score. So I knew I had to step up my game. The first two holes are two of the easiest birdie holes on the course, and so I managed to not birdie either of them. The third hole I played is a very tough par three. I had a PERFECT long bomb drive, a PERFECT up shot that put me within 10′, and I managed to botch the putt. That completely deflated me, as I then proceeded to 4 the next two holes, and I was already at 60 after 8 holes. *ugh* I did managed to slow the bleeding and ended up with a 62, but that was not a good score by any means (the leader, Mullet, shot a 54). But things were getting interesting to say the least. Cromwell, one of my best buddies in disc golf and the other half of The Faction, is a guy I decided to put a wager on the tournament. We put a dollar on each round, and a dollar overall, so you could feasibly walk away with $5. I beat him by 5 at Heroes, but he beat me by 6 at Wickham (his home course). So we were a wash after 2 rounds financially, but he had me overall by 1 stroke. What was more interesting was that the “bubble” (the line above which people win money) was getting tighter and tighter, with about 5 people all within a stroke of that coveted 10th place spot.
After lunch, we blitz up to Panthorn, a relatively new 9-hole course. With the schedule running a bit late, we unfortunately had to cut the round short and only play the course once, as opposed to two laps of the 9 holes. So that cut out 9 holes where I could mount a comeback. Panthorn was more of the same – I played okay, but couldn’t putt to save my life. I ended up with a 31, which was right in the middle of the pack, actually. I tied Cromwell, meaning we were still financially pushing but he still had me overall by one stroke. Better yet, the bubble had now crept to about 10 or 12 people who were within a stroke or two of cashing. Mitch and Dussaultlicksreallytastegood were battling for the top spot for the second straight year, with the Master of Crass Scott Howhardtolick trailing them by a few. There were injuries, by this point. Jeannie was nice enough to use my camera to document some of them:
Cause: barbed wire
So we headed to Lick’s Links, which is the reason you come to LiCkAtHoN, really. There, we met the Bubs, or his neighborhood of volunteers and spectators, many of which gave their time and effort to help the show run smoothly, and offer many free beverages. (MAJOR props go to the best hole in disc golf, which I call the Jello-shot hole – more on that later). Here are two of the very helpful Jr. Bubs -
Very fortunately, Cromwell and I got put in the final group together, so we knew we were in for a good time. Here was our final card:
Notsofatslick, Milce, McHalick (Cromwell), and Jalick
The way Lick’s Links work is that it is a loop of 10 holes that you play twice. The first round, everything is inbounds. The second round, all man-made surfaces are Out of Bounds. Not to mention there are some distractions along the way such as free beer, free Jello shots, free Margaritas, and free Long Island Iced Teas. Needless to say, it’s a test of endurance after 3 grueling rounds. I was ready.
Cromwell started out strong, putting the hurt on me, though we were both playing pretty solidly overall. I felt good. My putting was abysmal still (Cromwell gave me more than one “Oh Fats…” after a dinked putt.) We even got to see some very pretty surroundings. On one of the new holes, we snapped this endearing photo of Cromwell.
This was, of course, after our drive. Cromwell put it three feet from the basket and I still had a 30′ above ground pool I had to putt over. I take out my putter and TURBO PUTT it – BAM! In. No stroke for Cromwell. Things were pretty smooth and even until a brand-new hole which wasn’t there last year.
Unfortunately, you can’t make this photo bigger, but the V-shaped tree is actually a double-mando, meaning you need to throw a disc BETWEEN those trees before you can go to the basket, which is placed 90 degrees to the right, and about 100′ away. Needless to say, I didn’t get through them until my third shot. I ended up taking a 6 on the hole, which gave Cromwell a sizeable lead. I didn’t want to owe him money, and worse yet, I didn’t want to have to fetch his beer all night (there was also a beer-bitch bet going on). On our last hole of the first time around, we step up to the famed Jello Shot hole. We were joking how last year Didter Lickder put his drive on the roof and I laughing how that’s REALLY hard to do. Well guess what? I did the same thing. And then one of the Bubs and I had this conversation.
ME. Any chance of me getting up there?
BUB. As long as you know I’m not liable for anything.
ME. Sure. You have a ladder?
And that resulted in my greatest memory to date from LiCkAtHoN (make sure to click this pic)
The basket is on the left side of the patio inside the white fence, on the ridge of the pool. You can see the chains on the bigger picture. I hit the basket but missed the putt. Still carded a 3 and had two celebratory Jello shots.
So after the first 10, I was playing well, but still losing to Cromwell, and still in doubt about cashing.
Then I started to pull it together, only going out of bounds twice on the first 7 holes of the second time around, which is impressive. I hit some birdies, and knew I was playing pretty well. With three holes left, we decided to snap this photo, in the exact same spot we had snapped a photo the year before.
We were tied for the round, but he still had me by one with only three holes left. We both par the birdie-able hole 1, and with two holes left, it doesn’t look good for Fats. That’s when Cromwell goes OB and I put my drive 30′ from the basket. With so much dangerous OB around it, I layup and take my par, while he takes a 5. The tide had turned. I was winning the round by two, and overall by one (we didn’t know that at the time) with one hole left, the Jello shot hole.
Cromwell sallies his drive before the pool and I land it on the patio behind (which is in bounds because patios WHERE BASKETS ARE are good to play). I take my birdie, he takes a par, and we have a two-time beer-bitch champion.
Good for the side-bets, but what happened with the tournament? Well, even though my 65 was the best score on my card and it was above-average, it was NOT QUITE enough to put me into the cash. I was only one stroke from 10th place, which took home $50. That is my fifth time missing cash by one place so far in my life, and I don’t think I like that title. Who won the tournament?
5-peat Champion Bitchlickthunderfanny
With the actual disc golf now done, it was time to eat a scrumptious dinner, prepared expertly by Lick’s wife, Mary Me. Then we had a concert in the driveway, a few fireworks, and onto the Texas Hold’em tournament. I was the reigning champion from last year, so I had a little more riding on it. There were 14 or 16 players, I forget. Anyway, before long, we were down to the final table. I was playing pretty solidly, considering I had been awake since 4am and drinking since around 3pm (and it was closing in on midnight at this point) Fourth place was last cash, and I was running low on chips, so I went all in and lost, but won my money back in the tournament. Good for me. Dan Howhardtolick (the organizer of the poker) won the tournament, so I’m going to accuse him of cheating at some point).
Then, a smaller $10 buy-in game broke out, and I found myself the DOMINANT chip leader very quickly. Soon, it was down to me and Liz, a girl who had deceptive wiles about her, I could tell. What proceeded to happen was what I’m going to affectionally call “the worst rap I’ve ever gotten in poker”. With the spectators getting tired of watching, they started upping blinds more or less at random, so it was all-in every hand for the most part. And I managed to lose about 6 straight hands. I was probably a 10-1 chip leader at the start, and Liz ended up taking the second crown. I did, however, make $20 and came out ahead on poker for the day.
At some point around 4:30am (having been up over 24 hours) I managed to find myself in a tent full of people I didn’t know (and SaxMikeLick if I remember correctly), so I opted instead to get up and find a couch to crash on and get my 5 hours of beauty sleep. A 3 hour drive later, and I was home, taking a nap before going to a party being thrown for the Mullet.
LiCkAtHoN is hands-down the best tournament of the year. I’m hoping next year I can organize a fleet of videographers, because really this event needs to be captured on film. My words and pictures do no justice. Lick and his family are amazing hosts and insane in their own right (Mary Me prepared all the food for probably in excess of 50 people). The Bubs’ were gracious and great sports, even the one who had his window shattered (he kindly gave the shatterer a piece of glass as a consolation prize). Lickmeforabuc took home my coveted “Most Pools” award of a CD and some discs (He hit 12 pools. By comparison, I hit 3 and Mitch hit 1). I will not ever miss the LiCkAtHoN. If I only, for some reason, can play one tournament next year, that will assuredly be the one I sign up for. I counted at least a half dozen people telling me this was their favorite tournament of all time. In fact, there was someone from Florida who came up to play based on word-of-mouth, and we convince Ihavelickmaerz to make it up from Pennsylvania for the event) If Suburban Golf can make a surge to the forefront of the disc golf world, we’ll know who we have to thank: Mr. Lick himself. Wow, what a weekend. I can’t wait until next year.