The Young Old-Guy Tour: King of the Lake

What, did you seriously think you wouldn’t get a recap of this year’s King of the Lake? Like I did in 2017? And 2016? And 2014? And 2011? And 2010? And 2009? And 2008? You get the point. As I pointed out in last year’s recap, I shoot the King very well in even numbered years. Would that continue?

ROUND 1: TAHOE VISTA

I’m going to eschew my normal hole-by-hole recap because, let’s be honest, nobody reads all that crap. My back did not feel great but I was well rested and rearing to go. I start on hole 1 with a great card of people I like playing with.  And the course is set up TO SCORE WELL (the hot round would come in at a 48, or -10).

Remember in my pre-tourney blog, I mentioned my putter had gone cold of late? I start off on hole 1 (a must-deuce) and throw it 25′ left. Not ideal, but it’s a tester. And I throw a terrible putt that sneaks in the right corner for a no-chains birdie. I actually really needed that, something to build on and not have a feeling of “oh no, here comes the bad putting again!” Hole 2 I clip some cabbage and leave myself 50′ short. I MAKE that big putt. Okay, hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.

I throw 3 pars and then start to click. I nearly ace hole 6, settling for a drop-in deuce. I birdie the very easy par-4 hole 7, followed by an easy birdie on 8. Hole 9 I throw what I think is a park-job, only to see I’m 20′ short on a pretty sharp uphill lie. No matter, I BANG I…. no, I miss. Just short. That’s something that happened a LOT this weekend – a shot that I really thought I made did not go in.

I birdie 10, 11 (with a sick 50+ putt), and 13. Followed with a par. I get the tough hole 15 (in fact, we had a star frame – all of us birdied – on it!) and a drop-in on 16. Hole 17, I take the cheaty-thumber route and it hits 5′ from the basket! Only I get a lousy role and have a 30+ foot putt, which I just miss low (I also thought I made that one). Par to finish.

That put me at a… would you look at that? 48! Did I forget to mention I was one of the people who threw the hot round? It certainly didn’t feel like it, especially since I missed a short putt and had a really bad break. It CERTAINLY didn’t feel like a 1021-rated round, which it currently is. Scary to know that, with those two breaks and a better 3rd throw on hole 18, I could have thrown a 1050+ rated round.

So that put me in…

FIRST PLACE?!?!?! Really? I was playing against Robert Bainbridge in my division, a 1001-rated golfer who I fully expected to run away with this thing. Okay, so I’m leading after 1 round. Okay.

ROUND 2: BIJOU

I take some more Alleve as my back is really starting to bother me. We start on hole 11 (old guys start on later holes than the young pros). I throw a great drive and have a 25′ death putt. Robert is looking at a likely bogey, so I decide to play safe and not go for it. Robert cans his par and I look like an idiot for not trying to make the putt, especially since my putter was great up until this point. Then I throw a bogey on the difficult hole 12 and miss the stupidly easy hole 13. The bogey on 12 was my first of the tournament.

Ummm, not how I’d draw up the start of round 2.

I take a drop-in par on 14 and then NEARLY ace the 420′ downhill hole 15 (it must have just hyzered in front). Birdie, par, par, par. Ending up even to par after those holes is okay, but definitely not great.

I birdie 1, par 2 and 3. Hole 4 is a new position I’ve never seen, labelled as 400+ feet. I crush my katana on a great line, but it hits a guardian – normally I need ALL of my distance to try to get over 400′, even on a downhill hole. I give an audible show of frustration. But the tree actually stops the disc well and it curls around the basket for an easy birdie. So yeah, that hole is mis-labelled (I’d estimate it at 350′, a little downhill). I have a great par save on hole 5, a near birdie on the tough six (I thought it was in, but it was just high), a good birdie on 7, and a very nearly great putt on 8 (another one I thought was in – it hit top link, off the cage, and out). I hit a long putt on 9 for birdie and finish with a par.

Zephyr is an interesting course. You can shoot well there, but there aren’t many GIMME birdies (like at Vista or the other KotL course, Bijou). You have to earn them, and you have to limit the bleeding. I had one bogey and five birdies. The -4 ended up being more than solid (unofficially 990 rated!) The problem is, Robert did what Robert does: shot a -9, giving him a 4-stroke lead going into the final round.

OVERNIGHT

This is important. I’m in second, only 4 strokes off the lead in my division of 19. One guy is 3 strokes behind me, but I have a 7-stroke cushion over 4th place. I just need a good night’s sleep and there’s an off chance I could win this thing, since Bijou’s a course I can string some good holes together. At the very worst, I am looking at an unprecedented top 3 finish

I go to bed at 9:30. And basically toss and turn the entire night. I did briefly dream, meaning I did briefly sleep, but I’d estimate I got somewhere between 1-2 hours. NO! I never play well when I’m tired!

Also, I had to take a pain pill because I was so tired. Even though I felt relaxed, I didn’t sleep. Worse yet, when I woke up, my back was ON FIRE, and not in an EN FUEGO way. But hey, at least not in the literal way either.

FINAL ROUND: BIJOU

This is a monster 30-hole layout and it’s set up medium. Which still means PLENTY of birdie opportunities. I straggle in, dead tired and hoping the adrenaline of competing on top card (and a 5-hour energy drink) help me finish strong. Lots of stretching and we’re off, starting on hole 9.

Now my goal is to keep top 3, especially knowing the back issues, the lack of sleep issues, and the personal issues I’m trying very hard to ignore during the round. In the first dozen holes or so, I definitely lose strokes to Tony (who was only 3 behind me at the start) and Nate (who was 7 behind but closing). I’m about even with Robert for the round (and still 4 back for the tourney). Serge, who unfortunately had a rough round, became a non-issue early. In that span I did hit 4 birdies in a row (12, 12a, 12b, and 13) but still lost ground to Nate and Tony.

Then I proceed to play pretty okay golf. At around the halfway point, I realize Robert still has me by about 4, and I’m probably tied with Tony or close to it. But I’m hanging in there. And I willed myself to overcome my fatigue and my back. If I don’t win this, I want it to be because I was too aggressive, not because I was too careful.

The middle of the round I throw a few more birdies and am starting to gain ground on Robert, with Tony also hanging around. Nate falls back because of some bad lack. By the time we hit hole 27, I think it’s pretty close to a 3-way tie. I am the only one to birdie hole 27 (on a SICK crush that did see a little bit of luck come my way). Best yet, my putter was BACK. During the round I missed 4 or 5 putts from 40-60′, but ALL of them were barely misses, most of which I thought I made when they left my hand. I stopped missing altogether from inside the 33′ circle.

At this point, I’m playing VERY well, so I stop looking just to get top 3 (which is all but guaranteed) and try to actually win this thing, Bainbridge or no Bainbridge. He birdies hole 1, but I’m the only one to hit hole 2. Hole 3 is a star frame (all birdies). Holes 4 and 5 are both par-frames. Hole 6 I throw a very good drive but SLIGHTLY low – I hit the LAST sagebrush (1′ higher on my throw and I’m probably very close to parked – instead I have a 60′ putt). I don’t know exactly where we all stand in terms of total score, but I know it’s close. I figure I have to make the putt. WHICH I DO. Putter EN FUEGO (the good kind).

Robert and Tony also birdie (Tony’s putt was only a few inches closer than mine). Hole 7 I start out with a PARK JOB (less than 3′ from basket). But so does Tony. Robert throws it wide, he’ll have a 30′ par putt. Long story short, that’s another star frame.

So our last hole is hole 8. I know me, Robert, and Tony are all within a stroke or two, but I’m not sure exactly where. Hole 8 is a very easy hyzer hole (at least easy to put yourself in the circle and in no danger of going out-of-bounds – it’s a little trickier to park it). I SHOULD have looked at the scorecard, but I was playing so aggressively and well that I figured I needed a birdie no matter what, so I go for the tighter park-job. And I hit an early tree, leaving myself a 60′. Robert puts his drive within 25′, Tony within 15.

Okay, now I gotta look at the scorecard, see if I should run the 60′ putt (with OB behind the basket – probably not in play, but it could be if I skipped off the top of the basket). Turns out I was tied with Robert going into the hole, and 2 ahead of Tony overall. So now the whole tourney comes down to this putt. I need to make it to force a push (I assume Robert will make his 25′ putt, as he rarely missed from there).

I run it, but alas, come up just short. Robert hits his for the win. Tony hits his for 3rd place, one stroke behind me.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So, another even year, another good showing. No, not good. This was the best tournament of my life, by far. I threw 27 birdies, 38 pars, and one bogey. My drives were great, my scrambles, the few I had at any rate, were top notch, and I rarely had any trouble. My putting was well above average, although it wasn’t quite as lights-out as Robert would have you believe. It was a weapon, though, and not a liability.

I missed being KING of my division by 1 stroke. In fact, if I was still playing Open, I would have also tied for 2nd there (being only 2 strokes behind the best score of the entire tournament). Of course, that means I would have made more prize money had I played Open. D’oh!

I honestly can’t complain. I averaged a 1005-rating for the three rounds (I think I’ve only ever averaged a touch above 980 for an entire tournament once). My up shots were easy. My putts were reliable. And more importantly, I had fun. I had no expectations going in given my current life situation; I just wanted to have fun. Shooting lights out helps, but I did just enjoy myself.

This also bought me some more tournaments. I was considering hanging up the discs for the year, but this extra spending cash bought me some peace of mind. I’ll be back at Bijou in 3 weeks. Hopefully my back will have healed up by then.

Thoughts on King of the Lake

I tend to do a write-up every year around this time, all jazzed for King of the Lake. This pseudo-annual event has gone through so many permutations and each year someone seems to have a problem with the newest incarnation. I’m always psyched because it’s just such a wonderful event.

This year, I’m not so pumped. Why? Well, it really has nothing to do with the event itself. It’s only three rounds at three courses, which has little to do with why I’m not stoked. It will still feature 66 holes of golf. It will not feature Sierra College (bit of a downer) or Truckee (major plus), instead favoring traditional courses Tahoe Vista, Zephyr, and Bijou.

But I’m having trouble getting excited for this one. As you know, I’m in the midst of a divorce, and as much as I think it won’t affect my game, my relationship issues have clearly impacted my scores all year. I’ve played 12 PDGA rounds this year and I’ve only beaten my modest 966 rating in 4 of them. My last round was unofficially rated 912, my worst round in almost a year. What’s going wrong?

I like to think it’s not my mental game, though I’m sure that’s a major portion of it. Put simply, my game has reverted to the game of 5 years ago. My up-shots are abysmal once again. Off the tee I’ve been pretty consistent, but my putter has reverted to shaky at best. At the last tournament, I made maybe two putts in the [10 meter] circle the whole weekend but I missed probably more than a dozen inside, including at least 5 within 20’. Just totally unacceptable.

Poor sleep patterns probably account for much of this. I haven’t slept well, understandably, in quite some time. I don’t foresee that happening this weekend either, but hey, I’ve been wrong before. There are plenty of statistics on my side. From memory I feel like I play all three of these courses pretty well (I even shot 1000-rated rounds at all three of them in the last two years). I’m the 6th-highest rated Masters player in a field of 18. I’ve been driving further this year than I have in the past few. My back has felt, well, playable this year.

But those were the case for the other tournaments I played this year, and I’ve been mediocrely bad this at every event.

So I’m going to go and try to have fun. Not worry about score, not worry about money, not worry about that first 20’ putt I miss. I want to enjoy myself. If I don’t (as I haven’t much of this year), I might just hang up my discs for the rest of the year and concentrate on getting my life righted and planning a 40th birthday party. Perhaps the expectations I set on myself in my first year of Masters have been more of a hindrance than a motivator.

Young Old Guy Tour – What Just Happened

Gonna try a new format for my final round wrap-up. To find out how I got here, click HERE to read about the rise of Fats, and here to read about the coasting of Fats.

WHY I SHOULD HAVE CASHED

  • It was not the strongest of fields. Based on rating alone, I was on the cash line to start, and three rounds of, quite frankly, mediocre golf would have earned me some cash. (960 golf was last cash)
  • My scrambles. Not that you ever really want to hang your hat on the ability to scramble on a course where nearly every hole is deucable, but I did managed quite the short game. My ability to scramble and my up-shots in general were a strength this weekend. Many of my 80′ up shots (which have been problematic in the past) were no-brainers, and I saved a lot of strokes with some well timed scrambles, particularly with my forehand.
  • My putts. Sure, I missed a few in the circle (I’d estimate about 5 for the weekend), but none inside 20′, and I made a BUNCH outside the circle, probably 7 or 8. I didn’t really feel it today, and it showed (one missed putt in the circle, none from outside), but my putter definitely saved me a bunch.

WHY I DIDN’T CASH

  • That’s right, somehow I went from 10th place to 13th to 19th (they paid top 18). What went wrong? A bunch of things. First: altitude. I never shoot amazingly at sea level, but I just couldn’t seem to get off the tee without my disc behaving in some weird way I didn’t expect. Add to that I had trouble off the tee in general and it led to a long weekend.
  • My inability to throw an anhyzer drive. See the previous entry, but it was most readily evident off the tee. If I had to throw a long anhyzer, you could bet that I was going to griplock it into the woods off to the right. On hole 5 alone it cost me 3 strokes (would have been four were it not for an amazing scramble during round 1). Anhyzers have never been my strength, but they’ve never been this glaring a weakness before.
  • Luck. I hate to attribute a bad round to luck, but there was no denying my bad breaks this weekend, specifically the final round. From my first throw of the day where I NICKED a tree that turned a drop-in deuce to a 70′ birdie bid, it didn’t get better. On hole five, I found some terrible trouble, but could get away with a bogey if I managed to execute a really tough deep-woods hyzer. And I nailed it perfectly (throwing it into some low branches and long grass). Somehow, it misses all of that and does a 30′ flare skip past the basket and into more brush, leaving me with no real putt for a bogey. Hole eight, my card all cheered for me on my drive, only to find it go OB. Three holes later, on another scramble, I throw the perfect skip shot across the hill to give me the tap in, only I get a NEGATIVE skip, leaving me a 35′, which I dink off the top. Hole 15, I throw a great drive and end up in a 4′ creek 300 feet down the fairway. I had six OBs for the tournament, and only 2 of them were the result of bad throws.
  • My Ape. This was the disc I threw great on holes 5, 8, and 11, each one of which got some weird funky result, and each cost me a stroke.
  • My putter. It’s not like it went dead, I only missed one putt in the circle all round, but it stopped saving me like it had on Friday and Saturday.
  • Deucing holes. This may sound weird, since you WANT deuces. I got 14 on the tournament, which wasn’t nearly enough. (Even if I threw bogey-free the whole weekend, I would have only come in 6th). But what I did immediately after those 14 bogeys was a travesty. Not ONE birdie (meaning I didn’t throw back to back birdies the entire weekend), 4 bogeys, and a double-bogey. I just couldn’t sustain anything.
  • I had to not suck today, and I sucked.

I’m really disappointed right now and am replaying that final round in my head over and over again. The fact is I played poorly off the tee, got some unfortunate breaks, and dropped myself out of the cash in my first tournament as a Masters player. And really, I didn’t deserve to cash, not after the final half of the tournament.

TYOGT (The Yogurt Tour) – Day 2

It was the second day in a row where I just could not maintain momentum. Like yesterday, I had flashed of brilliance that were almost immediately offset by moments of pure stupidity. Like yesterday, my tee-shots were not my strength, but I was scrambling really well and putting very solidly. Yesterday I had seven birdies and four bogeys, resulting in my decent -3 finish. Today, I had only five birdies and four bogeys, although I would also say luck was not on my side this round for the most part.

To break it down:

I had a dumb par on the first hole. Hole 2 features a large pyramid which means if you’re outside about 30′, you lay up so you don’t take a big score. I felt good about my putt after yesterday, so I tried from 40′ away and nailed it dead center. Good start. I took a somewhat lucky par on 3 (could have gone OB but I hit a tree and it got knocked down), made a 20+ footer for par. Hole four was my bit of luck – my driving was sliding toward OB but hit a log and stayed safe. Another 20+ footer for birdie.

Hole 5, the super tough par 3, I didn’t have a great drive but it could have been fine if I didn’t find the 4′ wide OB river (my disc was dry but it was in the roped-off area). Bogey, followed by a STUPID bogey on 6 – bad drive, good up but got smacked down by this tiny tiny branch, missed putt). Great drive on 7 but alas only a par. 8, long look for birdie but I was okay with a par there.

9 is a roller hole, and I put the angle down perfectly. However, it hit the only guardian tree and squirreled off to the right. All I had for an upshot was a kneeling forehand under a low-hanging branch, which I executed great and it left me a 25′ par putt, which I made.

Stupid par on 10, excellent birdie on 11 (perfect drive didn’t slide forward like I expected, so I had to bang a 25+ putt). Bad drive par on 12, good scramble par on 13.

Then we go to the temp holes, and I go into safe mode. A, boring par. B – missed a 40′ putt for birdie. C, which is the toughest par 3 on the course, and I made a 20′ for par. On D, I get another bad break, skipping off the OB pavement INTO the hillside (which would have been fine), only to skip off the grass and onto another hazard area. I missed the 30′ for par, so I took a bogey. Hole E, made a 35′ putt for par. Hole F, the very tough par 4, saw me take a par, but only after a great forehand roller 3rd shot and a solid save putt. G was an ace run, had to settle for a drop in birdie. Naturally, I followed that up with a bogey, as was my wont this weekend.

Okay, I’m boring myself with this recap. You kinda get the idea. Moments of brilliance offset by moments of stupidity. My putter was a godsend again, and even though I missed a couple of 30 footers, I banged more than that from outside the circle. My forehands were great on my scrambles, but lousy off the tee. My rollers were really unlucky but solid.

I find myself right on the cash line at -4. If I play solid tomorrow, I’ll be okay. One of my unofficial goals was to throw under par each round, and so far I’ve done that, even if I walked away from today’s round disappointed.

TYOGT – St. Patty’s Day 1

See my ramblings from yesterday, which I forgot to link.

After a night of surprisingly good sleep (thank goodness for earplugs!), I took my ibuprofin (a Masters-division tradition) and headed out to the course. I warmed up for a while and, while I wan’t really getting huge shots, I was feeling pretty good. Here we go.

The first few holes are ones you want to get one or two of them, but I started with three pars (no real danger but only one look at a birdie, which I airballed). Hole four found my first birdie with a 25′ putt. And hole 5 was where my round was defined.

It’s a very tough par three with a long anhyzer fairway and an OB river. Well, I tried to get all the way there and ended up shanking it, nearly hitting 6s tee. It’s a NIGHTMARE over there. I was about 160′ away with nothing but a tiny forehand gap 60′ in front of me. I pured the gap and found myself about 50′ away (it was a pretty spectacular out). BAM, made the putt.

And that can sum up my round. Disappointing driving, scrambling like a mofo, and a great putt. I threw in my next upshot for a 60+ foot birdie and I was off to the races. Until hole 8 where I threw my drive OB and took a bogey.

Followed up with a par on a tough hole and a 40′ putt for birdie on hole 10, which I banged. Then, as was the case most of the round, bogeys were followed by birdies and birdies were followed by bogeys. I SHANKED my forehand drive on 11 and took a somewhat-impressive bogey from where I ended up. Then hole 12 saw me banging another 40′ birdie.

So, to sum up, halfway through the 27-hole layout, I carded 4 birdies but 2 bogeys. That took us to the temp 9 holes, which are fair holes but pretty difficult. In that stretch I had 4 birdies and 2 bogeys, but my drives were starting to come around. One of my bogeys was a bad upshot and the other was a tough-luck OB stroke. So with only the last four “normal” holes left, I was -4, hoping to get to -5.

I had a very impressive par on 15 (bad drive, great scramble and putt). 16 saw an easy par. 17 was really my one regret. It was a decent drive, leaving myself about an 80′ hyzer upshot. Which I throw 30′ short and then miss the putt. NO BUENO. I finished the round with a bad drive, good scramble, good putt (sound familiar?)

That puts me at -3. My goal was to shoot under par each round. I obviously would have liked a -4 or -5, but this was totally acceptable. Using last year’s rounds as a barometer, it was a 970 rated round, and it felt like that. Solid if unspectacular golf. I was 6 strokes off Robert Bainbridge, one of the two or three favorites to win my division. I’ll take that.

But man, that putter saved my butt today. I hit 3-4 outside the circle and only missed one or two inside the circle. My upshots and scrambles were on point, which made up for a somewhat disappointing day off the tee.

I won’t know where I am until later, but I imagine that round kept me around the 4th card, or just ahead of the cash line. Now time to rest the back and do as little as possible until going to bed tonight.

 

UPDATE: With all the scores in I’m in a tie for 10th place! Mind you, three people are tied for 1st at -9, but I’m only two strokes off of 5th place (and only 1 stroke ahead of the cash line – there’s a lot of clumping, is what I’m saying.)

The Young Old Guy Tour – Saint Patrick’s Classic

The PDGA season begins tomorrow (for me, at any rate) in the form of the Saint Patrick’s Classic at Shady Oaks in Sacramento. This course was home to my highest-rated round of all time, which was sadly 8 years ago. What does that mean for the tournament this weekend? In the words of Spaceballs, absolutely nothing.

I did get out to play the course today, including the nine temp holes, and I probably shot somewhere around par. Hard to tell as I was trying various lines, all while wondering why the hell I can’t turn any of my discs over (for the non-players, playing at sea level like I am here makes discs turn over far more than I would at Tahoe). Either way, aside from an extremely sore back, I’m rearing to go.

And that’s part of the weird thing – I’m really feeling good about this. Maybe it’s because I’m joining guys who are closer to my skill level, but I drove down here just feeling at peace and that a good finish is within me. Naturally, much of that went away after one round where everything is hurting my old man bones.

Either way, I’m glad to be out playing somewhere I haven’t been in a while. I’m looking forward to a good year.

Disc Golf Goals – 2018

It’s time once again to set forth my aspirations for the coming year. This year is a pretty special year, in which I will finally be able to play in the division my decrepit body has belonged in for years – Masters. This is for people who are turning 40 (I turn in August), and it will greatly open up some opportunities for me to walk away with a little extra cash I hope. Then again, I’ve had years where I expected brilliance and gotten a bucket of suck.

I’m upping my game by having TWENTY goals to hit. What’s more, there aren’t a whole lot of gimmes here; this year will be nigh impossible to get a clean sweep. Without further ado, here we go.

1) Gain enough PDGA points to qualify for Masters Worlds in 2019.

While I did achieve this last year (and quite handily, amassing 740 of the requisite 600 points to qualify), it was actually easier then than it will be this year. Pro fields were generally larger than Masters fields last year so I was able to beat more players by playing the same caliber of game. For example, let’s look at King of the Lake. In Open, I came in tied for 31 out of 46 people. Since I get 7.5 points for every person I tie or beat, I walked away with 120 points. In Masters I would have come in a better percentage (top 52% vs. 67%) yet beaten less people. Add to that Masters only get 6 points in a B-Tier event for each person beaten or tied and I would have walked away with ~84 points. So in 2018 this will be doable, but not easy. I’ll need some big finishes in tournaments with large fields.

2) Cash in 2/3 of my events.

In Open last year I managed to cash in nearly half my events. While cashing in Masters will theoretically be easier, cashing in 2/3 of the events won’t be simple. It’ll require consistent golf, something that tends to elude me at times.

3) Cash in every PDGA event.

Why not make a lofty goal then an even loftier goal? This is one that will epitomize the need for consistency. But really, this year will be best chance to do it as I’ll likely be one of the youngest guys in Masters, and as the years tick by, not only will I not get any better, but more “youngsters” will be bumping up (down?) to my division. So, why not now?

4) Cash in an A-Tier event.

I know what you’re thinking – both of you – I’ve cashed in almost half the A-tier events I’ve played in my professional life as a bottom-feeder Pro. Why shouldn’t I be able to cash in an A-tier in the easier Masters field? Well, mainly because I’ll probably only play in one or possibly two A-tiers. I mean, I’m scheduled for one in March, so I got that one booked (and my rating puts me right around the cash line), but I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to travel to play others. They’re on my radar, but it may not be in the cards this year without recouping a significant percentage of my expenditures. Speaking of which:

5) Win enough cash to pay for my entry fees.

It’s simple – win enough during tournaments and doubles (and ace-pots and side-bets) to cover the cost of paying for every tournament, doubles, and side-pot. I am *not* including other expenditures here yet, just entry fees. Why, you ask? Calm down, hoppity; you’re so impatient.

6) Win enough cash to pay for ALL my disc golf expenditures.

Sure, this is a pie-in-the-sky kind of objective. Not only does it include all entry fees, but it includes food, gas, lodging, clothing (I have already spent almost $240 on new disc golf shoes, inserts, and specialized socks to reduce the chance of blood blisters), PDGA membership, and discs if I happen to need those. On super rough estimates, last year I conservatively spent about $1,500 on disc golf. I made something like $570 in tournaments, maybe another $150-$200 in everything else. I’ll need to play my arse off, or at least sign up for more tournaments than I normally do and cash in the big ones.

7) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. 

16 years into this sport and this is one achievement I’m proud of, but one that becomes harder with every ache and pain. Hopefully working out at the gym this year and maintaining a slightly better diet will help me out. And the aforementioned good shoes. And, who knows, maybe I’ll get crazy and actually practice.

8) Never finish in the bottom third of a tournament.

The natural extension of not finishing a tournament (which would automatically be a last-place finish), I don’t want to even come in the bottom third. Last year I would have done so twice out of 11 tournaments. Next year? Not if I have anything to say about it.

9) Don’t ever take myself out of contention in the first round.

Ah, it just wouldn’t be a goals column without one goal that is subjective. As was evident in my wrap-up article last year, I tended to shoot my worst round to start a tournament. How bad is “needs improvement” and how bad is “out of contention”? Well, last year I finished a tournament with a 1012 rated round and still didn’t cash (Finals at Tahoe Vista). I would say more than 6 strokes off the cash-line (with 2 rounds remaining) would qualify as out of contention. So that’s our criteria. In fact, no, let’s make it tougher. No more than 5 strokes off cash line after 1 round (or no more than 3 strokes if a 2-round tournament).

10) Don’t lose a playoff in a PDGA event.

I’m optimistically thinking I’ll be vying for trophies this year, which could mean having some playoffs. In my PDGA career, I’ve done pretty well with playoffs, having won three and lost one. (One of my wins featured me playing with my opponent’s discs because I was too lazy to walk back to my car to get my own.) So if I find myself in a playoff, I don’t want to lose it.

Notice the sneaky wording on this – if I don’t actually have a playoff in any event, I SUCCEED! I’m not counting doubles here because I have been playing with L as my partner, so any ties result in basically a handicap closest-to-the-pin contest.

And now a word from our sponsor, wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11) Throw three or more 1000-rated rounds. 

Last year was the first time since 2009 that I achieved this (I got four), so I think it’ll be a challenging goal for this year, too. Hell, I’ve only hit two 1000-rated rounds in one calendar year 4 times: 2006, 2009, 2013, and 2017. If the patterns holds up, it looks like 2022 will be my next due date.

12) Throw at least 1 round over 1010.

I’ve only done this four times in my 13 years as a pro, and three of them inexplicably happened last year. But you know what they say about 1011+ rated rounds, don’t you? They’re bad ways to start a cliché.

13) Beat my all-time highest-rated round of 1025.

Somehow this is a goal I’ve never set for myself. Sure this one is a long-shot, but as I proved last year with two 1020+ rated rounds (one of which involving a missed 25’ putt), it’s possible.

14) No rounds below a 930 rating.

In 2015, I had 3 of these rounds. In 2016, 3. Last year a whopping 4. I didn’t want to go back further than this because it makes me sad. *sigh* Okay, I did go back and found that I’ve never actually done this. The closest I came was in 2011 where my first tournament round of the year was a 920-rated round but after that I never threw anything worse than a 956 (which I threw three times).

15) Have more rounds over my rating than below my rating.

This one seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? You should always be above your rating about as often as you’re below, because the worse you do, the lower your rating goes, making it easier to shoot above your rating. It’s maths! But it doesn’t always shake out like that.

2017: 14 rounds above, 16 rounds below (1 was exactly my rating)

2016: 10 above, 13 below

2015: 8 above, 12 below

2014: 9 above, 12 below (1 exact)

In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2013 to find the last time I achieved this goal. I had 14 above, 11 below that year. I think the conclusion to be drawn here is that I tend to shoot a little below my rating, but when I am above, I crush it.

16) Have my rating be over 970 for one or more ratings updates in 2018.

At the time of this writing, my player rating has been between 958 and 969 for 39 straight updates spanning back to September of 2012. The time to break that trend (in the RIGHT direction) is NOW.

17) Hit a tournament ace or eagle.

I got a dubs ace last year. I want more, only in a more high-profile situation. I thought I did this more often than I really did. I had a tournament ace in 2008, but then my next one didn’t happen until 2012, followed by one in each of the next two years. Then nothing since. No tournament aces since 2014! Yeegads!

18) Hit metal on hole that’s more than 300’.

Most of my aces are on shorter holes, with only three of my 13 aces coming on holes over 300’. Since it would be a tall order to specify wanting an ace on a long hole, I’ll call it good if I tickle the chains or hit cage/number plate. Pole on the flight is acceptable, not on a skip.

NOTE: I already likely did this in 2018 on hole 2 at Dayton, but since it wasn’t totally obvious (I skipped off the guardian branch and then the disc just stopped, so we think it hit cage), I’ll say it doesn’t count.

19) Play at least 25 “casual” rounds.

That’s only two a month, so it sounds doable, right? Well, we’re early on in February and I’ve played 3, so I’m pretty much on track. But I tend to play less casual rounds late in the year, especially in the final few months of the year. I consider dubs, tags, or anything like that casual. But playing warm-up holes the morning of a tournament, even if I happen to play 18, doesn’t count.

20) Play at least two courses I’ve never played before.

I needed a 20th. So now I have one.

 

In the immortal words of Mr. Stick himself, I’m going to spend this year “throwing plastic at metal”. Hopefully in not a lot of throws.

 

 

EDIT:

21) Win 1 tournament.

I can’t believe I forgot this one. This was literally the main goal I had in mind for this year when I sat down to compose this absurdly long post. Last year I *would have* won three Masters events (assuming an awful lot of factors). So it would seem like I’m really dropping my goal unnecessarily, right? Well, not necessarily at it turns out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll see above that I’ve only ever won three tournaments as a member of the PDGA. Since 2004. Let’s go over those wins. Hell, let’s even add that 4th win I had back before I was officially a PDGA member.

Jersey Jam – 2003White Division. Remember that year they tried to break the divisions up in weird color-oriented subset that everyone hated? No? Good for you. Well, I sandbagged my first tournament (this was probably equivalent to the rec division) and even then only tied for first. I did win the playoff though. My first win under my belt in maybe my second ever PDGA tournament? Well, what can I say, I was a sandbagger.

Animalfest V – 2004 – This one I was proud of, and really to this day the only win I feel I truly earned. It was in the Advanced division, but lest you think I sandbagged, I was definitely not a frontrunner to win it all. I wasn’t even a 900-rated player yet (I was 896) and I beat probably ten people better than me, including a kid with a 950 rating. It was mainly on the strength of a round with MISERABLE rain and mud conditions. Either way, I’m very proud of this win. I was 3 ahead of 2nd place and 7 ahead of 3rd place. Hard to tell how I would have stacked up in a different division as they played different courses/layouts.

Jersey Jam – 2005 – I got a thing for this tournament, don’t I? Well, just in case you think I must have played lights out, I have to bring up a few things. This tournament was held the same weekend as Worlds, meaning the turnout was, how you say, light? There were only 5 players in Advanced and I was the highest-rated going in. I averaged only 937-rated rounds. I mean, I won this, but it was more that no one else bothered to beat me.

Then I turned pro. Let’s see when that other win happened.

Rumble at the Ranch, 2013 – 8 YEARS LATER! This was my only Open division win and there’s a few things rolled up with this. First off, like the last win, this was a really light field – only five players. I was in the middle of the pack, but other than Joe there weren’t too many strong players. Halfway through the first round, I got called on an OB penalty when I did NOT think I missed the mando (and it’s still the worst mando in disc golf because it’s something like 150′ from the pin – how can you tell!?) I argued but lost. That cost me two strokes on that hole, then two more strokes on the next two holes as I steamed.

At lunch, I was in last place, four strokes off the lead.

I played decently to start the second round, but it was about halfway through the round that the hurricane came. I’m not being exactly literal, but you could actually watch the approaching storm come. Huge downpour and horrendous wind gusts over 50 mph (that lasted about 20-30 minutes). It was so bad that some people stopped, but we never heard a whistle so we kept playing. And I made up so many strokes in those holes (I ended up coming in first by 5 strokes). It’s the only tournament where I beat every other player regardless of division.

So anyway, I have 4 wins to my name, only one (1 and a half?) of them was truly an achievement. So, let’s go for win 5 this year. Then 6, 7, 8. But for the sake of this goal, just 5.

Disc golf goal realized without even trying

For years, I’ve made it a goal to beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round, and every year I’ve fallen short. When I kill it, so does he. When he falters, I falter more. It looked like a goal I would never fulfill. (In fact, in this year’s wrap-up I gave myself credit for this because I beat James Procter, who is probably an overall better player, but I never actually battled Jere).

Well, it turns out I did beat Jere in a round. 7 years  ago!

Proof!

 

So, I guess this means I’ll need to get creative this year. Maybe I’ll beat Patrick Brown in a round? Ken Climo? Ricky Wysocki? The sky’s the limit!

Or, you know, my back. That’s probably my limit.

2017 Disc Golf RESULTS SHOW!!!!

Trigger warning: this is really long. If really long things give you fits, move right along.

That’s right my regular viewer(s), it’s time for the Disc Golf results show. I do it every year and then assess how I did overall. In 2016 I made goals so low you could belly-crawl over them and hit an impressive 9 out of 15. So this year I resolved to step my game up by making more lofty goals. This was impressive, because as you’ll remember IN THE INITIAL POST, this was my last year in the regular “pro” division before I get to play with all the old folks (the year you turn 40 you get to play “masters”, which is a significantly easier division to hit the cash line each time).

But we’re not there yet. All the tournaments have been added as official to the PDGA website (well, almost all of them, more on that later), so it’s time to start the self-reflection/self-congratulation/self-flagellation. And awaaaaaaaay we go.

1) Gain enough PDGA points to qualify for Masters Worlds in 2018. 

First off, I’m going under the assumption I will need 600 points to qualify for Masters Worlds (which will be in Kansas City and there’s a very very good chance I won’t be able to go anyway). Whatever. It turns out I did make enough points, 725 in total (not counting the one tournament which isn’t scored yet, which I’ll talk about later). Not only should that be enough, it’s 7th most in the state on NV. Should be good enough to receive (and likely ignore) one of those awesome invite letters.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

2) Break the odd-year curse by cashing in at least 1/4 of my events. 

And how. I played in 10 events and cashed in HALF of them, not counting the one I’ll get to later. And these were not flukes, well, most of them weren’t flukes. I earned them in a very strangely patterned fashion. More on that later as well.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

3) Cash at King of the Lake

This one was both surprising and also not surprising at the same time. As I chronicled in this also-lengthy write-up after the tournament, I tend to suck at KotL in odd-numbered years. This year was no different. In fact, King was probably my worst tournament of the year. I was battling a bad back, but really, I just didn’t play well. No excuses, I just sucked. There’s always next year, an even year.

VERDICT: FAIL

4) “Make” more than $700 in Masters

Somewhat surprisingly, I almost made $700 in pro, coming in at $575 for the year in tournament play (this doesn’t count dubs and ace pots, where I certainly would have raked in the requisite seven bills). To calculate what I would have made in Masters, I have to make several assumptions. First, I have to assume I would have played the exact same way against different competition. Second, in the “actual” tallies, there were ties and I only know how much they both received which were split pots. If I were to add myself in there, I’ll have to sort of estimate how much I would have made coming in a place ahead/behind the people whose cash I knew. Lastly, I have to assume how much the purse size would have grown with me in there. Essentially, these are wild guesses.

Anyway, how would I have done with the old farts? Welcome to my good friend, Excel Spreadsheets, Esq.

That’s right, not only would I have WON three tournaments in Masters (I’ve only ever one won pro tournament), I would have more than tripled my income. I mean, taxes-declaring stuff right there.

VERDICT: MAJOR SUCCESS

5) Play every event at the Sierra Series FINALLY.

Another answer that I can start with “not only did I…” I did finally play all seven events of the series. What’s more, due to a few regulars not playing the whole thing, I managed to “cash” in the series. Only two places actually got cash as far as I know and I came in third. But my prize there was actually something I’ve always wanted but never gotten – a metal mini-basket. It’s super sweet. I just eked out a good player around my rating who played great all year too.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

We’ll be back to our programming, my fine viewers, after a word from our sponsor.

6) No DFL (dead f’n last) finishes.

I sure tried my best to fail this one. I played my first tournament at Auburn, a course I really hate and one I tend to suck at. I just barely got by without being bottom of the barrel. Then I also tried to play a blind course at sea level in east coast humidity with brand new shoes. I lost to players with 910 ratings, but I did not come in last.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

7) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round.

Although this was the year I finally managed to check some of these long-standing goals of mine off the checklist, this wasn’t one. I didn’t actually play in any events with Jere (who turned Masters this year, so I imagine I will have more opportunities in future years).

However, I did manage to beat James Proctor, the 23rd highest rated player IN THE WORLD, in a round at King of the Lake. I also bested a 992-rated Masters player and 2x World Champion Jim Oates in an entire tournament. So you know, I won’t N/A this one, I’m gonna go full-out success on it. That won’t stop me from making this goal next year, methinks.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

8) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. 

Not much to say about this one other than I did it. No real close calls either, though I had enough blood blisters to shellac a walrus, if that was the sort of thing that blood blisters did.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

9) Throw two or more 1000-rated rounds. 

In a year where I alternated historic with mediocre, I managed to blaze into uncharted territory here. With only four tournaments left, I had a single 1000-rated round to my name on the year. But I managed to quadruple that number before the year was done. That’s right, somehow I churned out a record four 1000-rated rounds in 2017. I’ll get into this in greater depth in the RANDOM FACTS section at the end.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

10) At least 1 round over 1010.

I have set this goal every year since around 2012, two years after my record setting 1025-rated round at Shady Oaks. Not only had I never achieved it, I rarely came close, having only thrown one round over 1004 since then. Somehow, and believe me I’m not quite sure how, I managed to do it three times this year. I threw a pair of 1021-rated rounds as well as a 1014. I’ll be talking about these more later as well.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

11) No more than 3 rounds below 940. 

So you know that round I keep referencing that I’ll talk about in greater detail later? Well, I built up that suspense because I thought that mystery round would single-handedly decide the fate of this goal. But it won’t. I had 5 rounds that were below 940. One of them was thrown in that east coast humidity-ridden round described above, and it would have been either the worst or second worst (a ~906 rated round), but for some reason the TD never turned the report in and, as of today, November 15, it is not an official round. So it never happened. But yeah, doesn’t matter, I still blew this one. My five crappy rounds were in five different tournaments at five different courses to boot. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

VERDICT: FAIL

12) Have my rating go over 965 at some point this year during an update.

For one precious ratings update spanning just over a month, my rating was 966. Man, I don’t even really want to count this one, but I guess I did accomplish my goal.

VERDICT: SUCCESS, but an uglier color

13) Hit an ace or an eagle. 

Yes! Not only did I hit an ace, but I managed to do it during doubles when the ace pot was over $100! I gave my partner some of the winnings but still managed to take home an $80 payday, easily my largest for an ace. (Previously, I only had one pot-ace, and it was for a whopping $17.)

VERDICT: SUCCESS

14) Play more casual golf, either alone or with the boys. 

Every year I say I won’t make vague, hard-to-quantify goals, and every year I do. This is one of them. I will say I did get out with my 8 year old a few times to play doubles, something he really enjoyed. But if I were to objectively look at my year, I really didn’t practice much. Like most years, I played quite a bit in the early months, but then tailed off. While it wasn’t the stop-playing-after-King-of-the-Lake of years past, it was definitely not what I’d envisioned. Hopefully I play more next year to get my body ready for serious competition. Hopefully I don’t make this same goal next year. Stupid ambiguity.

VERDICT: FAIL

15) No missed putts within 15?.

This one is sorta objective too, but I definitely remember missing a short putt in my very first tournament and thinking “well, there goes that goal”, so apparently I didn’t do it. I’d probably guess I missed a handful of absolutely-should-have-made putts this year. My putting experienced some incredibly high highs (three of my top four putting rounds of all time were this year). But yeah, definitely missed a few dinkers.

VERDICT: FAIL

16ish? It’s an odd numbered year so I want to break my ridiculous streak of sucking in these years, both skill-wise and goal-wise.

This was an unofficial one, but it’s how I ended my blog, so I’m going to include it. This was one of my best years financially and included four of my best rounds to date (my 2nd highest rated round of ALL time, my third, my fourth, and my 8th). But the lows were pretty darn low. It may have seemed like I excelled all around, but it was a roller-coaster. I still have to say overall it was a success. The highs were just too high to ignore.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

THE END!

Well, I ended up at an impressive 12 – 4 this year, a year with low expectations. I’m pretty excited about that. It’ll be interesting to see what 2018 brings me in a new division with a whole lot on my plate off the course.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, you didn’t think this was the actual end, did you?

BONUS ROUND: THE STATS!

Because it just wouldn’t be a disc golf blog without stats. As impressive as my four high rated rounds were, they were also so statistically similar that it was kinda creepy. Each of them came in the third and final round of a tournament. Each of them were preceded by two terribly mediocre rounds. Each of them catapulted me from despair into the cash. Here’s another fun Excel spreadsheet breaking it down.

I mean, that sort of erratic consistency is almost downright amazing. What’s more, that trend, of playing badly early on and excelling later on, was pretty steady the entire year.

Round 1 average rating: 952.5, about .86 strokes below my rating per round

Round 2 average: 953.8, about .74 strokes below my rating per round

Round 3 average: 988, about 2.25 strokes above my rating per round

Howzabout individual courses? I said earlier I hated Auburn, and that’s true. Not only do I not enjoy the course, I have the numbers to back it up. 6 tournament rounds there, only one round above 951 (and even then it was only 5 points above my rating). All six rounds average about 22 points below my rating, between 2 and 3 strokes below average PER ROUND. If I ever tell you I’m signing up to play a tournament there, I give you permission to slap me.

And let’s be fair, I don’t just hate courses because I suck at them. I love Sierra College even though I suck at it. I have 12 tournament rounds there, only four of which are above my rating (for a TOTAL above rating score of 22 points). Contrast that with the 8 rounds below my rating (230 points below my rating) and you have an average of 17.3 points below my rating, nearly 2 strokes.

On the other end of the spectrum, how about Turtle Rock, home of one of my 1021 rated rounds? I have 17 rounds there, which does dilute the numbers a bit, but only six are below my rating. I average just over a full stroke above my rating each round there.

I’d include Zephyr Cove, but my scores are all over the map. My 23 rounds run the gamut from a 901 rated round to a 1021. Hell, this year alone I vacillated 105 points at Zephyr.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR IN MASTERS!

Nevada State Championships recap

I recently wrote about the Mountain Mayhem, which was a very bizarre tournament. Here were the summaries of the three rounds:

Round 1: My putter was stone cold and I couldn’t throw an up-shot to save my life (all three bogeys were caused by mis-executed up shots followed by missed putts). I wasn’t pissed off, but I definitely was disappointed. It was “mediocre” as I put it later that night. After one round, I was right in the middle of the pack (they were paying 6 out of 15 and I was in 7th).

Round 2: This round seemed more disappointing, though really, it was equally mediocre (both rated in the mid 950s, or roughly one stroke worse than my ‘average’ round). So yeah, Mediocre City.

Round 3: When all is said and done, I ended up shooting a 50, eight under par. It felt great, and sure enough, it was the hot round of the day (there were a couple of 51s). That round is unofficially rated a 1019, my second-highest ever. I propelled me from 9th to 5th, and in the cash.

You may wonder why I’m summarizing a tournament from two months ago, especially when the one I played yesterday was on a different course and under totally different circumstances. Well, because the results were almost exactly identical. Frighteningly so. Let’s break it down.

NEVADA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Zephyr Cove is a course I like – it’s a top half course no doubt. My historical ratings are all over the map, everything from a 1004 rated round to a 910 rated round. My back was doing okay, though I’ve been dealing with a head cold for 3 weeks and I slept poorly because of the pups. And off we go to—

Round 1: I popped a 5-hour energy drink and tried to start off strong. And I did, kinda. I was -3 with 4 holes left to go, which would have been pretty good. My putter was failing me, though, and I ended up missing 6 putts from between 20-50’. Then I hit the tricky holes 12 and 13 and bogeyed them both. That put me at a mediocre -1 for the round. (My first round at Kirkwood is unofficially rated 955. The first round at Zephyr is temporarily rated 956).

Round 2: Same course, slightly harder layout (about 1/2 a stroke harder). I was feeling quite tired so I popped another 5 hour energy drink and headed out. I started on the tough holes 2-6 and bogeyed two holes in a row again (holes 3 and 4 this time). Both drives were not horrible shots but got back kicks. Then I proceeded to stay the course, shooting 3 birdies, and having a nearly identical round. Much like the Mayhem, I had two identical rounds that featured the exact same score. (The ratings were again nearly identical: Mayhem 2nd round 957, here 962).

After two rounds at the Mayhem, I was in 9th out of 15 people, 4 strokes off the cash line and 10 off the leader. At the NV Championships, I was in 9th out of 15 people, 4 off the cash line and 8 off the leader. Spooky, isn’t it?

I started again on the tough stretch of holes, 2-6. I had a 40’ severely uphill birdie putt on 2 (easily the best drive I’ve ever thrown on that hole). Putt was on line but missed short. Parred hole 3 easily. Had a 50’ birdie putt on hole 4 (easily the best drive I’ve ever thrown there). Putt online but missed short. Parred 5 and 6 with no real problem. Then I hit birdie row. I mean, literally, I hit ‘em all. I birdied 7 (20’ putt), 8 (drop-in), 9 (20’ putt), 10 (25’ putt), and 11 (drop-in). Then I came to the difficult holes 12 and 13. On twelve I took a par and on 13 I found the first trouble of the round, hitting early wood and bouncing backwards. I spent five minutes lining up different shots (probably to my group’s dismay) and opted for a tight high hyzer line through a million trees for about 150’ to the pin. I missed my line by just a bit, wrapped around the tree I meant to cut in front of, and ended up UNDER the basket. Sick up for the  par. I parred the difficult hole 14, birdied the touchy hole 15 (35’ putt) and then got 16 too (park job). My final three holes all left me with long jump putts (~50’, ~60’, ~45’ respectively), all three of which I ran but just came up short on each.

Where did that put me? Well, like at the Mayhem, it left me with the hot round. At the Mayhem it was a bogey-free -8. Here it was a bogey-free -7. There, the hot round by one stroke, here, the hot round by two. Then it was a 1019-rated round (my second best of all time), at Zephyr it was a 1021-rated round (my new second-best ever). Then I jumped from 9th to 5th and in the cash. Here, from 9th to 4th. I would have come from behind and won Masters at the Mayhem by 1 stroke. I would have won Masters at Zephyr by 3.

Essentially it was the same story. It felt good to crush it both times and take home a couple of shekels. Let’s hope for starting out of the gate a little stronger at my last tournament in 3 weeks.

King of the Lake (post-script)

It’s been several weeks, and you might have assumed (correctly) that I sucked for King of the Lake, so I didn’t bother posting about the rest of it. And that is largely correct.

But I did want to talk quickly about two things. 1) My incredibly bizarre round at Tahoe Vista. 2) Weird trends with King of the Lake.

Let’s begin.

Image result for #1My weird round.

I’ve described Vista as my do-or-die course, in that I either crush it or get crushed. It’s kinda rare that I just shoot an okay round there. During 2017’s King incarnation, I managed to do both.

After day 1 I was floundering in the bottom half, probably a handful of strokes off the cash line (Zephyr really killed me).

Hole 6: So I start on hole 6, the EASIEST HOLE on the course, and I probably average a three on (a very rare birdie, a very rare bogey). I’d say pros average 2.2 on that hole. Whatever. I FINALLY throw a good drive right up the gut, fly over the basket, but skip up the hill a bit. No problem, maybe a 20′ putt. Except I’m behind three branches. I have to release my putt near the ground (under the first branch), go OVER the second branch, and come down before the guardian branch. And it’s all down a 30 degree slope. Probably the most convoluted 20′ putt I’ve ever had. And I just missed low. Par.

Hole 7: An easy par four. I throw a pretty bad drive but follow it up with a good up. But NO! I somehow skipped 40′ past (on a course that really doesn’t allow for skips). No matter, I bang the putt. Birdie.

Hole 8: A gimme hole that I rarely seem to get. I got it handily. Two birdies in a row.

Hole 9: A really really tough hole that I four as often as I three. I played a “safe” hyzer shot that was supposed to bail out and hopefully give me a 50′ level putt and also take the OB out of the question. I’m a little short of where I wanted, leaving me about 50 uphill with my foot in a bush. BANG! YES! Extra birdie, and for a turkey!

Hole 10: I didn’t have the right disc in my bag to try to deuce this difficult par 3, so I just played a “safe” flick shot, threw a 70′ up shot, and tapped in a par.

Hole 11: A pretty difficult 370′ hole but, for whatever reason, one I play really well. Threw the perfect drive and found myself 2′ from the pin, just long. ACE RUN! Still a birdie.

Hole 12: So at this point, I’m -4 through 6, which is pretty darn good. I step up to hole 12, the second easiest hole on the course. This is a gimme, and what’s more, it’s my bread-and-butter hole. Except I throw my drive into the one pine right in front of me. No matter, the disc slides down and I have a clear up shot. Which I saw off and leave myself no look for par. Okay, settle down. A little touch forehand upshot will give me a slim chance for par but an easy bogey. But I gack it and it hits the guardian trees and slides 20′ down the hill. Whatever, bogey. BUT – I hit the cage and it rolls back 35′. And I miss that. A six. A TRIPLE BOGEY ON THE SECOND EASIEST HOLE ON THE COURSE. WHEN I WAS HAVING A KILLER ROUND! How… what… how does that even happen?

Hole 13: I par. I was really shaken by that six. How do you go from killing a course to blowing up in one hole?

Hole 14: A really tough 3. I throw a pretty good drive but hit the guardian 200′ down the fairway, leaving me a tough high hyzer window to hit. Which I don’t. At all. Still thinking of that 6. I proceed to kick deep into the woods, leaving me nothing but a total 1 in a million desperation forehand roller. And I HIT MY LINE! Only hit the last possible object before curling around toward the pin. Upshot, putt. Double bogey. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I go from -4 to +1 in three holes? Holy bejeezus.

Hole 15: A pretty easy birdie hole, but I par it. My drive was okay but I didn’t convert the 45′ putt on an elevated basket.

Hole 16: Another must-get. I actually hit the post. Drop-in birdie.

Hole 17: Scenic downhill tunnel shot unless you thumb the hole. I do, which usually gives me anywhere from a long look to a gimme. I leave it early and have a 70′ blind hyzer putt. And damn near make it, but no, settle for a par.

Hole 18: I grip my drive just a touch and it leaves it wide. Should be okay but no, it actually doesn’t quite stay in the dogleg left fairway. In fact, I’m neck-high in a bush. I only have a pitch out, which I throw too far into the other fringe. I pump a terrific third shot, giving me a 60′ save for par over a tree, which I just barely miss low, giving me a straight up bogey.

Hole 1: Now I’m plus 1. WTF happened? This is a pretty easy hole but one I rarely get. I park it for the bird. Okay, at least I’m back to par.

Hole 2: I throw a decent shot and end up at circle’s edge with an uphill putt. Chain out right, settle for par. Grrr.

Hole 3: MY NEMESIS. I swear, I average 4.8 on this par 3. I throw a decent drive, giving me a pretty easy up and down. Only I saw off my up, leaving me a 30′ downhill putt. Actually make the par. Screw you, hole 3.

Hole 4: A really tough par 3, and I throw the drive of my life and put it about 15′ away. Another rare birdie.

Hole 5: A deceptively tricky par 4, and one I’ve had trouble with in the past. I throw a mediocre drive (flipped up in the wind more than I expected) but threw a great second shot, leaving me a 25′ cleanup putt for birdie, which I make.

I finished the round shaking my head. I had eight birdies, probably the most I’d had on this course in one tournament round (I crushed three great rounds there in 2013, but even then I’m not sure I had 8 birdies in any of those rounds). But I had a bogey, a double bogey, and a triple bogey. I probably average even on those three holes, maybe even below. But let’s say I were to have shot a disappointing +1 on them, my round goes from a mediocre rating (unofficially 963) to one of the best of my life (1012).

Needless to say, between that disappointment and my body which was not doing so hot after three rounds of golf, I tanked my final round at Sierra College. I’ve still yet to play an actual good round of golf there. Sucks because I enjoy the course, I just stink at it.

Image result for #2Even/Odd splits

As I detailed here last year, I tend to suck at King of the Lake during odd-numbered years. And that did not change in 2017. My best odd-year finish was way back in 2009, when I came in T13th out of 29 (45% percentile).

2011: T45th out of 59 (76th percentile)

2013: They didn’t have it, which I suppose is fortunate.

2015: 25th out of 36 (69th percentile)

2017: T31 out of 46 (67th percentile) – bear in mind 5 players didn’t even finish the tournament, so I might have done even worse if they had. Worse yet, I can often fall back on “well, I did crappy in open but would have taken 5th in Masters) – nope, wouldn’t have cashed there either.

Contrast that with even years, where I cashed 3 out of the 4 years (two of which were A-tier events) and the fourth year I got injured in my final round.

Next year, I’m playing in an even year, playing Masters, and hopefully get back to my odd (even) ways.

King of the Lake (Day 1)

This seems to be a tournament I recap pretty regularly, so let’s get to it, shall we? I slept very poorly last night, which sounds like the norm, but really I’ve been sleeping well for most tournaments. HOWEVER, I’ve slept like crap all week, so that seemed to continue.

Also, I’m going to give a warning – I’m gonna be talking about diarrhea. Not metaphorically. Skip it if you want.

Round 1 – Bijou

We started round one at Bijou, a course I have seemed to play very well lately. It was set pretty short. And my stomach was just unsettled. Not sure why. It could have been a) I’m battling something, b) I didn’t sleep much, c) I ate crap for dinner – CostCo chimichangas, or d) I had two glasses of wine. Whatever the reason, I had two trips to the bathroom before the round began. And another halfway through the round. And then played the last 9 holes (of a 27 hole layout) trying desperately not to crap my pants. Literally.

What did that mean for the round? Oddly, I played pretty well. My drives were solid, although my putter took quite a while to get going (I missed three putts in the circle in my first 9 holes). It took me about that long to get my first birdie, but I ended up throwing a bogey-free 10 down. While that sounds awesome, and it was identical to my first round during the South Lake event last month, it was barely above my rating. Don’t know what today’s round is, it’s not updated. But the leader shot -18, so my -10 will probably be around my rating. Sigh.

After the round I was on 4th card out of 9 (just in the cash if it were only a one-round tournament). A couple more trips to the bathroom and barely any lunch and I drove to Zephyr Cove, a course I am inconsistent with – everything from a 1004 rated round to a 901.

Because of my wonky stomach, I decided not to have a 2nd 5-hr energy drink. I was really tired, but didn’t want to upset anything further. When the round started, I actually felt decent.

Round 2 – Zephyr Cove

I started parring the very difficult hole 4, but bogeyed 5 (drive slipped out and I air-balled a 20′ putt after a great upshot). Birdied hole 6 which I’ve never reached before (I threw the perfect drive and put me 33′ short, and I made the putt). Few pars (just off on my aim) and then a near-ace birdie. Followed by a bogey when I let my drive out early. (You’ll see a pattern… for a while).

Par followed by a near-ace on the really difficult hole 12 (I made the 40′ comebacker) to put me -1. As per usual, I followed it up with a bogey (drive slipped out early). In fact, hole 12 was my last good drive of the round.

I finished on holes 15-18, 1-3 (most are birdie-able) hoping to get one or two and find myself a stroke or two down for the round. But fatigue took over and I griplocked just about everything. Hole 15 griplock and REALLY bad break, giving me no real upshot; bogey. Hole 16, griplock, tough flick up that I didn’t execute and a literally impossible putt. Two bogeys. Followed by two pars (mainly because of a great up on 18). Then bogey on 1 (griplock drive, griplock upshot), par on 2 (hole is too far for me), and then bogey on three (griplock drive, griplock flick up, missed putt).

Man, nothing really worked. Aside from a couple of sick ace runs, the round just sucked. I don’t know where I am in terms of placement (I’m guessing around 28 out of 46 – and they’ll pay 18 or 19) or rating (I’m guessing 970, 930).

My body is craving decent food, so I stopped and bought some salads and am chowing down, washing down my muscle relaxer.

I need sleep and a body that behaves. I can still cash, but I gotta get my head out of my arse, and poop out of my arse too.

Mountain Mayhem recap

It’s been a while, so it’s time to do a brief run-down from this weekend’s tournament. You’ll see by the end why I’m picking this one to review Heh heh.

Round 1 – Kirkwood – I’d only played Kirkwood once, two weeks ago. I shot a par then (one birdie, one bogey, a crapton of pars). In fact, I feel the course is largely a par course. There are birdies to get, but only a few of them are really must-deuce holes. A few holes are tough threes, but certainly not par 3.5s. It’s a par course. So how did I do in round 1? Why, par of course! I shot three birdies and three bogeys. My putter was stone cold and I couldn’t throw an up-shot to save my life (all three bogeys were caused by mis-executed up shots followed by missed putts). I wasn’t pissed off, but I definitely was disappointed. It was “mediocre” as I put it later that night. After one round, I was right in the middle of the pack (they were paying 6 out of 15 and I was in 7th).

Round 2 – Kirkwood – My back started seizing up at lunch, so I downed a pain pill and a 5-hour energy and headed out to Round 2. It was basically a carbon copy of round 1, only more roller-coastery. I managed to snag five birdies on the 19-hole layout, but also took five bogeys. Of those bogeys, three were caused by mis-executed up-shots followed up by not converting my putts. I now have a fear of 100′ approach shots. If there’s a person there, I can put the disc right next to them every time. As soon as it’s a basket? I throw it 30′ short. Huh.

This round seemed more disappointing, though really, it was equally mediocre (both rated in the mid 950s, or roughly one stroke worse than my ‘average’ round). So yeah, Mediocre City.

After round 2, my back was in bad shape. I rode home, took a muscle relaxer, then had trouble sleeping. I managed probably about five hours, but not the full eight I was hoping for.

I show up and see I’m in 9th place, only two strokes from the cash line but also only two strokes from 13th out of 15. We played Turtle Rock, my favorite course out west and one I realized I tend to shoot pretty well at (I average two strokes over my rating a round there).

Round 3 – Turtle Rock – I started out with an anti-inflammatory, a pain pill, and a five-hour energy drink. In practice, I’m feeling pretty good. Let’s hope it translates. I start out with a drop-in deuce on hole 3, a par (on the tough hole 4), and then two tough-luck pars. Still, I’m in decent shape at this point. Then I start to dial it up. A 30′ birdie putt on hole 7 for deuce. Hole 8 is a 350′ anhyzer shot. Paavo in my group steps up and clanks off the cage for an incredible ace run. How am I supposed to follow that up? By throwing an identical shot and hitting the post, that’s how. Deuce on 8. Par on the difficult hole 9. Drop-in birdie on 10. At this point, I’m feeling really good.

Hole 11 is ~777′ and it is tightly wooded the whole way. I throw a killer drive and a decent up. My third shot I forehand straight into a tree in front of me (one of my few missed forehands this tournament). I throw a pretty good recovery Buzzz shot to put me around 30′. This is to keep my bogey-free round alive. And I hit it. Next hole is my nemesis, and true to form I miss my line and it puts me in a bad location. Bad upshot leaves me 50′ out. BAM, hit it. At this point, I say to myself “I’m invincible. Let’s attack the rest of this round”. Hole 13 is a toughie, I par. Drop in deuces on 14 and 15. Par on 16. 17 is an easy par 4, and I throw a great drive and a pretty good up, leaving me 23′ to clean up. I miss a little low. My first missed putt of the round from inside the circle. Hole 1 I give myself a 40′ look for birdie, just bounce out. Hole 2 I have another drop-in deuce.

When all is said and done, I ended up shooting a 50, eight under par. It felt great, and sure enough, it was the hot round of the day (there were a couple of 51s). That round is unofficially rated a 1019, my second-highest ever. I propelled me from 9th to 5th, and in the cash.

It was an uneven weekend, truthfully. My first round I couldn’t putt and my ups were lousy. Second round my ups were horrid and my putting was mediocre (my drives for the two rounds were above average, all things considered). Third round – everything clicked. I hit huge out-of-the-circle putts, had incredible drives, and my up game was solid (and thankfully not all that necessary).

My back feels better than I expected it to. It actually hurt more two weeks ago after playing at the flat Bijou course (though I did play 81 holes compared to 56 this weekend).

KING OF THE LAKE IS IN TWO WEEKS! Woo!

2017 Disc Golf Goals

After last year’s success (I hit 9 of my 15 goals which were, in truth, not exactly reach-for-the-sky goals), I’m going to try to top that this year. 2017 will be my last year playing Open (the regular professional division) because in 2018 I will be able to move to the Masters (old dudes) division where I hope to have better success. So does that mean this is a transition year?

Well, hopefully not. For the last two years I’ve played quite a bit until King of the Lake then basically stopped playing all year. One of my goals is obviously not to do that, but for a special reason. What is that reason? Read on to find out!

basket

1) Gain enough PDGA points to qualify for Masters Worlds in 2018. 

This is the aforementioned reason why I want to play the whole season out. It looks like I need 600 points to qualify for 2018 Worlds (the location of which has not yet been announced). In the off chance it’s somewhere accessible to me, I’d like to qualify outright instead of hoping to get in when registration opens up to the public. My pro points WILL count for Masters totals, though, so that’s nice. How often have I hit 600 points in a season? Since moving west in 2008, I’ve hit 600 points 7 out of the 9 years. That sounds like a shoo-in until you realize that I was only over 800 points in one of those years, and quite a few were just barely over 600. It’ll mean playing many tournaments that are well populated by open players and beating some of them.

basket2) Break the odd-year curse by cashing in at least 1/4 of my events. 

Last year I lowered my bar so much it was a tripwire – I hoped to just cash at all. This year I’m going to raise the bar to a difficult be achievable goal: making money back at least 25% of the time. This is something I’ve done about half the years I’ve been a pro, but those tend to be the years I play fewer tournaments. We’ll see if I can have sustained success over a year where I hope to play quite a bit.

basket3) Cash at King of the Lake

I’m not sure if this will be easier or harder this year. The King will be a smaller tournament than in past (2 days instead of 3) so it may not attract quite the large fields it has in the past. While that seems to make it easier, it might just mean that more of the top “local” pros show up and raise the cash bar comparatively. I’ve cashed in half the KotLs I’ve played (3 of 6).

basket

4) “Make” more than $700 in Masters

Clearly, I’m not playing in Masters so I can’t make money in Masters. But making the logical assumption that I would have finished with the same overall score as I did in pro, I want to find out how much I *would* have made in Masters. Take 2015 for example. I made $0, not cashing once in Open. Had I been in Masters and played the exact same, I would have cleared almost $1000. Last year I made $345 but would have made $470 in Masters.

basket5) Play every event at the Sierra Series FINALLY.

I’ve never done this, though it’s been a goal of mine every year. It’s comprised of seven tournaments this year and it includes (and removes) a few traditional courses, so it’ll be a pretty interesting year. Dayton is in for a 2 day tourney (never been done before I don’t think) and Truckee Regional is out (yay because I don’t like the course, boo because I tend to shoot it well). Kirkwood is in, which is cool as I’ve never played there.

basket6) No DFL (dead f’n last) finishes.

I wasn’t going to include this again this year as it is a pretty easy goal to hit (I’ve only DFL’ed 3x since moving west, and two of those were technically ties so they weren’t DEAD last). I *am* including it mainly because I’m starting my tournament season next week after having taken the last six months off. Seriously, I’ve thrown maybe 50 holes since last June. And I’m playing at a course I’ve always done poorly – Auburn, where I’ve only beat my rating once and have averaged 15 points worse than my average). Plus I may hit up some other tournaments pre-May when I historically do very poorly.

basket7) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round.

Last year I tied him twice. This will be the year, I can feel it (provided we even play at the same tournaments this year – he hardly played any Sierra Series events).

basket8) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. 

With my back getting worse annually, this one is more and more difficult, but so far I’m perfect with it.

basket9) Throw two or more 1000-rated rounds

In my 13 years of playing disc golf, I’ve only achieved this three times: 2006, 2009, and 2013. If my math is correct (3 years between the first two times, four between, the second) it won’t be until 2018 until it happens again. But hey, dreamers can dream, can’t they?

basket10) At least 1 round over 1010.

It’s looking less and less likely every year, but I’m gonna keep throwing this one out there.

basket11) No more than 3 rounds below 940

I originally set the goal as no more than 2 rounds below 940, but changed my mind. Since 2008, I’ve achieved my initial goal only in 2009 and 2011, both years I played fewer than normal rounds. Giving myself one extra bad round opens up a few additional years where I achieved the goal, or about 1/2 the time.

basket12) Have my rating go over 965 at some point this year during an update.

Though I’ve hovered around here forever (my rating has been between 958 and 969 since August of 2012), it hasn’t been over 965 since August of 2014.

basket13) Hit an ace or an eagle. 

I’ve averaged one ace a year my whole career but didn’t have one last year. I’m due. (I added the ‘eagle’ a bit because I think I’ve only ever eagled a hole once – hole 4 long at the Ranch, which I’ve seen someone have a 70′ putt at. I guess this gives me a *slightly* easier chance at achieving this goal.)

basket14) Play more casual golf, either alone or with the boys. 

Disc golfer Matt called me up recently just to see how I’m doing and tell me that he’s game to play anytime, even if it’s just at the pitch-and-putt. Paul called me up within a week to basically have the same conversation. I played so little last year because of many factors but I really want to get out and play more “fun” golf this year. Casual rounds, kids rounds, dubs, tags, whatever. I want to get out of this habit of just playing one time the week of a tournament to “get my arm ready”. I want to be playing consistently all year, and I want some of those rounds to not be just to prepare, but just to have fun.

basket15) No missed putts within 15′.

I’m not going to bring a tape measure out with me on the course, but I tend to remember those missed putts pretty well, even if they were 16′. I’ll know which ones I’m talking about.

basketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasket

 

 

It’s an odd numbered year so I want to break my ridiculous streak of sucking in these years, both skill-wise and goal-wise. Other than that, the season starts soon; one week to get my body in shape and there’s snow everywhere in Reno. LET’S BRING IT!

Disc Golf Review – 2016

Now that I can say with certainty that I am not playing any more events this year, given my ailing back, my job search, my family, my Ubering… etc, it’s time to review how I did on my predictions this year. SURELY I could do better than last year where I completed a whopping 2 of my 15 goals. I mean, I’ve lowered the bar so much over the years that I could basically wriggle over it at this point. Well, let’s see:

basket

1) Play in enough tourneys to justify the $75 PDGA fee. 

FAIL. I needed to play in 8 PDGA events in order to make back every dollar of the fee. I played in 7. Essentially, I paid $5 more in fees than I should have. Technically I didn’t hit this one, but it’s pretty close. But I’m nothing if not pedantic. 0-1.

basket2) Cash in a tournament. At all. 

SUCCESS! Talk about lowering the bar. Last year was the first year since becoming a full time pro in 2006 that I didn’t cash. So I did cash, three times actually. The first was a cheapie, coming in 2nd in an very weak field where only four players even finished (I averaged under my rating for the record). Then I managed to come in 9th in an extremely strong fielded King of the Lake. Oddly, I won more at the cheapie Dayton event, but that’s neither here nor there. I finished off with a good finish at Bijou, which is surprisingly becoming one of my better courses. It continues my weird trend of even-year success at disc golf.

basket3) Top 3 at either Sun Valley tournament.

FAIL. There was only one tourney there this year and I did pretty poorly at it, throwing my two worst sanctioned rounds ever at Sun Valley. I average 15 points below my rating and was 9 strokes off the cash line. Ugh. Turns out my weak arm is really exposed there, where worse players who can throw farther have easier up shots than me every single hole.

basket4) Cash for the first time in the Sierra Series. 

FAIL, but with a caveat. I’m not sure there even *is* a cash line at the Series anymore. I mean, TECHNICALLY I came in 3rd out of all qualifying players, having played in only 4 events (1st, 2nd, and 4th all played more events than me). But I don’t think anything even went to the winners this year. Maybe it did? I don’t know. I basically stopped playing disc golf after King of the Lake in July for the 2nd straight year.

basket5) No DFL (dead f’n last) finishes.

SUCCESS! The worst I came was 3rd to last (twice) but with a many stroke buffer between me and the bottom. One might argue that this bar is very low, but I will take my victories wherever I can.

basket6) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round.

FAIL. The most frustrating fail of all, really. It’s now been almost ten years of competing against him, and in the past the best I’d done was tie him (once? twice? I forget). My best shot was at King of the Lake, where I played the highest-rated tournament I’ve ever played over 5 rounds. In one round, he blew me out of the water, beating me by 8. Two other rounds he just scraped by with 3-stroke victories. What about the other two? TWO TIES! That’s right, I tied him again in two consecutive rounds, at Bijou and then the next day at Truckee. I. Just. Can’t. Beat. Him.

basket7) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. 

SUCCESS! I was playing through some pretty severe back pain and a couple of times had to choke down a few ibuprofin (or stronger) to start the last round, but each time I pulled through. We’ll see how next year goes, as my body doesn’t appear to be reversed the trend of deteriorating rapidly.

basket8) At least 1 1000-rated round

SUCCESS, but man, only by the specific wording I used. I did shoot one 1000 rated round exactly, at Bijou at King of the Lake. Interestingly, I shot three strokes better on a slightly easier layout only a few weeks later and it was rated a measly 992. Go figure.

basket9) At least 1 round over 1010.

FAIL. I now think my best chance of this is when I become Masters age in 2018, especially if I play in a major tourney like Worlds. But for the time being, I gotta be content that I at least have 15 thousand rated rounds to my name, even if 14 of them are 1010 and lower.

basket10) No more than 1 round below 930

SUCCESS! I did throw a 926 rated round, though to be extremely picky it wasn’t during a tournament, it was during the sanctioned league. I threw a couple of duds in that league, though some were rated lower than expected because the league was full of people with otherwise poor ratings who were playing only on their best course. Either way, it was a success. My next lowest rated round was a 937 (also during league).

basket11) Have my rating at some point this year move out of the 959-969 range

SUCCESS! Talk about the cheapest of the cheap. The way I phrased this question implied that a NEGATIVE rating would achieve success, and that’s what happened. What’s more, I only dropped one point below my arbitrary range, to 958. This rating stayed for 3 ratings periods. So by just changing my range, I’ve been within a rating of 958-969 for 28 straight ratings updates (a period of over four years).

basket12) Hit one ace. 

FAIL. No caveats here. No aces either. Though I did throw two remarkable ace runs on the same hole in back to back rounds (hole 26 in the right position at Lizard Peak) that were almost exactly the same. But yeah, no aces this year.

basket13) Camp out and actually have the “fun” experience at one of the Turtle Rock tourneys. 

SUCCESS! And how. Much went into planning this one night, from making sure it was okay with Ash to preparing the van to sleep there to finding a place to legally park… all to really drink too much (after a game of a game I dubbed Jengboccshoes since nobody seems to know the name). It was bad enough where the next round the next day I was “STUNK” as Matt coined the term for “hungover, probably still drunk”. If I put this one on my list next year, it’s going to be to go and have a pleasant campout experience that doesn’t jeopardize my tournament. (I missed cash by only a few strokes that tourney, playing well in my other two rounds.)

basket14) Play dubs at least 5 times this year.

I genuinely don’t know. I played dubs a bit in the beginning of the year, but then it petered out when the sanctioned league started up. Did I play five times? Sure. I’m gonna say I did. Who’s gonna say I’m lying. SUCCESS!

basket15) Try to have fun.

SUCCESS! I normally don’t like these subjective goals, but I can say without hesitation that I had fun playing disc golf this year, even when my back was acting up. Last year I got burned out after King of the Lake (the disappointing finish there might have had something to do with it). I wasn’t having fun. This year I did basically stop after KotL, excluding a one-off while travelling in Virginia, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying myself. It was coincidence. Of the 4 tournaments I had on my schedule to play afterwards, each of them had a major conflict:

Sierra College – This tourney was (and always seems to land on) Ash’s and my birthdays. Oddly, that’s not why I didn’t play it. Two weeks before I had been out of town for a work interview in NY, and the week prior I was back on the east coast for a wedding. It was a no-brainer to change my plans to be home with the fam.

Markleeville Mayhem – my first diagnostic back injection. I withdrew from the tourney, and even if I had stayed in, I wouldn’t have been able to play.

Nevada States – I had the 2nd round of my short story competition, but oddly THAT wasn’t why I didn’t play. I ended up having an emergency trip to FL to help my mother move her belongings to NC.

The Series Finals – My first true back ablation procedure was the day before, and I DEFINITELY wouldn’t have been able to play after that.

It’s a shame because not only was I played pretty well (not amazing, but solid) but I was genuinely enjoying myself more this year. But life got in the way.

basketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasketbasket

 

 

So it appears my predictions did much better this year. I was 9 out of 15, easily my best total. What does that mean for next year? Well, for one, it’s an odd-numbered year, and I do pretty crappy in those. 2nd, I won’t be masters age yet – I’ll be the oldest “regular” pro. Third, the back ablations I had to fix my back haven’t really done anything. I’m still in significant pain any time I try to bend (I actually have an appointment in an hour with my surgeon to see what’s up).

My goals are going to be pretty scaled down next year. I just don’t know how much I’ll play (I’ve played one round of 9 holes in the last three months of this year and I am still unemployed so I don’t really have money to throw around. I liken the odds of me cashing in a PDGA event with my wonky body right now to be LESS than if I just played poker.) 2018 should be a better year when I can hide away in the age-protected Masters division. I would have cashed in the same # of events this year in Masters, but would have made considerably more money.

Anyway, that’s that. I’m gonna write up a before-and-after update on my teeth shortly. I know, promises promises…

 

22nd Annual Tahoe Pro/Am

I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with Bijou, just like the one I have for Truckee. I don’t really care for either course that much (certainly when put against the other Tahoe courses), but I tend to play them well. Case in point, my last two 1000+ rated rounds were both at King of the Lake, both at Bijou, and one of my other 12 1000-rated rounds is at Truckee. The courses are generally deuce-or-die courses, though, and even with that there are still holes at both courses that make me scratch my head.

It’s actually because of my dislike of the course that I haven’t played in the Tahoe Pro/Am since 2013, where I came in 12th out of sixteen (shooting -11, 27 off the leader). How’d it go here, fresh off an unofficial 1000-rated round 2 weeks ago at KotL?

ROUND 1

It was set up pretty short, but not as stupidly short as in the past. There were still a handful of difficult holes, but probably 18 birdie-able holes out there. And I started on the easiest stretch of holes, parring like a mofo. To be fair, my first three drives were all excellent and all three got TERRIBLE breaks. Through my first 12 holes, I was -1 with no bogeys. That’s right. One birdie in my first 12. That WOULD NOT DO. And so it continued. After deucing hole 7, my next birdie wasn’t until hole 14 (one of the tougher holes), and then again on hole 21 (also one of the tougher holes). So through 20 holes – I started on 2 – I was a pretty bland -3. But remarkably, other than a bad drive on hole 10, I really was never in danger of bogeying. All of my drives were 35-60′ away. Like just about all of them.

In fact, the way it would end up was that I had 5 birdies, including 2 of my last 3, no bogeys, and I never missed a single putt within the 33′ circle. That’s because at least 18 of my other drives were within 35-60′. And I only made one of them (and it was really the only danger I had the whole round, my only near-bogey).

The round was ho-hum and I expected it to be around my rating, only when the ratings came in, everyone got crushed (by the 27-hole format and by the fact that low-rated course locals shot the course really well). The bad news was it was an unfair 945-rated round. The good news was somehow I was still in the hunt, in 6th place of 14.

ROUND 2 

They changed 7 holes, some of them easier, some harder. I’d say all in all the course played maybe 1 stroke harder the 2nd round.

I started by just going full throttle. Starting again on 2, I birdied holes 3, 4, 7, 8, 10 & 11. Six down after only 10 holes is a pretty hot start. From there, I would find the round followed the first round pretty closely. All my drives were pretty danger-free, but I found myself 35-50′ away on most putts, and I only made two of them (missing 2 or 3 in the circle). It was another danger-free round – and it would end up being another bogey-free round – but I had trouble getting the birdies after my hot start. Still, I finished up at a pretty impressive -10 (only one stroke off the hot score for the day). It wasn’t quite thousand-rated, and that’s for the exact same reasons as the first round.

What’s more, the two 1000-rated rounds I shot at the past Kings of the Lake? They were -7s on pretty comparable layouts. This was a -10 with no bogeys, but because the field was weaker, the ratings were pretty lousy. Ratings, though a noble effort, are a truly imperfect science.

So after the first day, my body was beat up but I found myself on top card against a medium pro field. I was pretty pleased.

ROUND 3

They moved 11 more baskets so the course was harder, but maybe only 4 strokes harder than the 2nd round (and par was 3 strokes higher). Which plays to my strengths – I play better on the holes where you have to get your tough pars, rather than the must-getting of easy deuces.

By now I’d played 54 birdie-free holes and I was starting on the easiest 9 holes (the leader would end up going -8 on them). I started going 2 3 3 2 3 (par 4) 3 3 2 3 on the front nine. While I lost 4 on the leader, I was happy with a -4 there.

It was on hole 6 when my back started tweaking. I guess good health couldn’t last forever. On hole 10 I just missed my line and kicked off a tree out of bounds, my first bogey. Well, not really, as I ended up double-bogeying the hole. I followed it up with a park-job birdie, so good there. But then another bogey on a missed 25′ putt. Uh oh. If my in-the-circle putts started to fail me, I would be in trouble as I was having a tough time off some of the tees.

I sort of righted the ship a little in the middle 9 holes, parring out mostly. Then around hole 19, the putting wheels came off.

19 – great drive, 22′ birdie putt, missed it.

20 – great drive, 25′ birdie putt, missed it.

21 – short drive, mediocre up, hit a tricky 20′ straddle putt around a large tree.

22 – decent drive, 40′ birdie putt, missed it.

23 – good drive, 33′ birdie putt, missed it.

24 – bad drive (kicked off a guardian tree that I’d missed the last bunch of times playing the hole), only an okay upshot, missed 40′ putt.

25 – Just missed my line, kicked off a tree. Very bad upshot. Missed 20′ par putt.

26 – Excellent drive (though I was told the basket was in a different position, so I parked that extremely tough position but was 40′ long for the actual birdie) – missed the putt.

27 – Good drive with an unfortunate skip that put me 40′ away, missed putt.

That put me at a -3, though with just being able to hit my putts, I would have had an incredibly hot round of -11. The worst part is I hit metal on every putt, no airballs. I try not to blame my back, but I can’t ignore the fact that every putt I missed was either low, left, or both. That’s a clear sign of me not extending and/or following through with my putts.

I was sure I’d played myself out of the cash, but somehow I still managed to come in 5th out of 14 (they paid 6), so it’s my second cash in a row. The name of this weekend was “so close”. I’d say on the weekend I had more than 30 putts between 35-60′, and I think I made 4 of them. Up until my collapse at the end, my short-range putting was clutch, and I made hardly any errors all weekend (2 bogeys and a double bogey out of 81 holes, that’s it). So close to glory (if I made just 1/3rd of those putts, I’d have finished in 2nd and more than doubled my cash).

The third round was also below my rating (but somehow rated higher than my -5 bogey-free first round – go figure). But I’ve now cashed in 3 of the 5 events I’ve played this year. It’s nice to see, considering my back issues (which I go for a shot for tomorrow) and my very limited practice schedule.

As a postscript, during King of the Lake, I came in 17th, but had I been in the masters field, I would have taken 3rd place (a difference of $150). In this tournament, I came in 5th in pro, and would have come in merely 4th (a difference of only $5). So not quite as frustrating there.

King of the Lake – Final Day

I’ve been making a whole lot of comparisons to last year’s King of the Lake, where I started hot but then fizzled in a pretty remarkable way. But after four rounds played, this year’s iteration seemed a whole lot closer to 2014’s version. That year I was pretty close to the cash line with one round at Tahoe Vista left to play. And this year, that’s pretty much where I was (15th of 55, only two strokes “in the cash” at the start of the round). So really, it’s a better comparison to 2014, when I managed to cash in a pretty thick field.

Last night was the third night in a row I couldn’t sleep (I tossed and turned for 2 hours) at which point Ash suggested I sleep in the guest bed at my in-laws, a lumpy bed in a hot room. I initially declined but then gave in. And I think I fell asleep in 5 minutes and slept most of the night through. FINALLY, a good night’s sleep.

I woke up stiff and sore, but had an anti-inflammatory AND a painkiller and stretched everything I could think of stretching. By the time my round started, I was actually feeling… pretty good? Certainly not pain-free, but better than any of the prior 4 rounds. Let’s get to it.

ROUND 5 – TAHOE VISTA

Two years ago, I knew I just had to throw a pretty good round to stay in the cash, and I answered that task by throwing a +1 through 14 holes (NOT a good start) but hitting my last 4 birdies to end up at a quite serviceable 55. I was in the same place to start today, but they threw us a curveball by having us start on hole 10, not 1. That means the easier birdie holes would be in the first half (along with the massive 1000+ foot par 5 hole 18). These were the holes that saved my butt two years ago. Today?

I started with an easy par and a DROP IN birdie on the pretty tricky hole 11. On thirteen, the hardest hole on the course, I had a great drive but a STUPID upshot and took a bogey. Then came 16-18, three of the four I’d birdied two years ago to clinch my cash spot. Today, I nailed them all again (16 was a 20′ putt after a near-ace, 17 was a thumber to a 20′ putt, and 18 was a 30′ windy putt to get my birdie four). So with half the course done, I was -3 and looking good (beating my card by a few strokes).

Holes 1-6 aren’t gimmies, but I should be able to end up -1 or -2 through them. Turns out, no. 6  boring pars. No real chances for birdie, no real danger for bogey either. So all I had to do was maintain to end up with my 55. If I could just manage one birdie in that stretch, I’d end with a pretty hot 54.

And that’s the problem. I started saying “if I could just manage…” instead of executing each shot as it came along. After a 30-minute wait on hole 7, I throw a GREAT drive but a pretty bad up-shot, leaving me a 50′ flick upshot on a tricky hill to set up my par. Except I decide to throw my flick about 90′ instead. Then, when going to get my disc, I slip on the hay and totally CRASH HARD on my back. It had been feeling good the whole round, but after that, it was back to all wonked out. It really sucked (and so did bogeying that hole). Hole 8 is a should-get birdie. I threw a very good drive that just flipped up a hair in the headwind and left me with a 30′ putt. I missed it. The final hole was SO CLOSE to the right line, instead I clipped a branch and then failed miserably on my next shot. I bogey the last hole.

So after the long wait (and after the failed upshot, and after the big fall), I go +2 on the last two. I lost 6 strokes to one of my cardmates in the last 6 holes, who shot the hot round of our group and only beat me by 3. Did I play myself out of the cash?

No I didn’t. I came in tied for 17th out of 55. This round was a little closer to my normal style of play. My forehands finally came back to earth (and were actually pretty poor other than a spectacular upshot on my other nemesis hole – hole 3). My putts were decent – I don’t think I missed anything within 25′. But the problem was nearly all my birdie putts were 30-50′. I made one putt that distance all day (and it was a par save). Nearly all my putts were low, though. That’s the sign of a tired body.

All in all, I was very happy with my performance, though I was always a couple of factors away from really putting it all together. However, when I look at my score, it was 4 strokes better than in 2014, which one of my best tourneys ever. I averaged over 976 in terms of ratings, and that was with some pretty sloppy play throughout (round 1 featured MISERABLE putting, rounds 3 and 4 were lousy drives, and round 5 my ups and forehands fell apart). And ALL of this is with the ailingest back/body I’ve ever had in a tournament.

Final fun fact #1: If I were masters age (2 years!) I would have come in 3rd. THIRD!

Fun fact #2: I appear to be the San Francisco Giants of King of the Lake. I play really well there in even years only.

2008: Came in tied for third (out of 14), lost the playoff.

2010: I was near the cash line with my final round yet to play and I injured my throwing arm halfway through the round. I finished the round throwing 150′ drives (or lefty) at a 878 rated round. I was out of the cash by 20 strokes, but I probably gave up close to that due to injury.

2012: KotL didn’t happen.

2014: Cashed as an A-Tier.

2016: Cashed as an A-Tier.

In odd years? I tied for last-cash once, but otherwise have fared pretty poorly.

GO ME!

King of the Lake – Day 2

You’ll remember from yesterday’s post that last year at the same time, I was in a similar favorable position until round 3, at Sierra College, where I threw a personal worst (63) followed by a serviceable but unimpressive 50 at Truckee. This year, we were going to flip the schedule.

As has been the case for the past two years, I had trouble sleeping last night, though I did get maybe 4 hours (up from 2 the night before). And when I got to the course, my body was just. not. having. it. My glute (which had started bothering me yesterday) was super tight. I had trouble with release points. My putt never quite felt solid. Fortunately, Truckee Regional is the course for that, as it’s a very short birdie-fest, about all my back and butt felt up for.

ROUND 3 – TRUCKEE

I tend to shoot Truckee well, despite not liking it much. Go figure. I start out on hole four, a tough but gettable birdie, and throw is super short (my body not working again). I throw the “safe” up shot – the hole is on a MASSIVE hill – and it lands a little hot, catches an edge, and rolls 40′ down the hill with no putt. I take a bogey (my 2nd of 3 rounds to start with a bogey). Two holes later I birdie, then I miss the EASIEST HOLE EVER (which I miss ALMOST EVERY TIME). Angry from that, I get four birds in a row, including one of the hardest holes at Truckee, hole 11, which I managed to put 5′ away.

Two holes later, I give one back on a terrible up shot and missed putt. The end of the round was definitely a place I could get some more birdies, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be, only carding one more. I finish at 49, one better than last year (though the conditions were windier this year). And at this point, I starting to freak out because everything is basically still the same as last year when I FELL APART at Sierra College. Would I repeat?

ROUND 4 – SIERRA COLLEGE

I started on 4 which was the hole that basically started my downward spiral last year (I took a five on it). I TOTALLY NAIL the gap and leave myself an unimpeded 100′ up shot to get my par. Except no, I decide to throw a terrible up shot and miss the putt. 3rd round out of 4 to start with a bogey. Then on the fun downhill hole 5, I misthrow my drive by a little and have a basically unmakeable 45 footer, but an easy three. I throw the “safe” shot to about 10′ from the pin, hit a tree, and it rolls back 25 feet (maybe 10 feet closer than the previous putt).

Remember how yesterday on the 2nd hole of my second round, I missed a dinker and shouted at myself “I will NOT let this happen today”? I said that to myself, out loud, as soon as that disc rolled back. I would NOT implode like I did last year. And I banged the 35′ with a straddle putt.

I want to take a moment to say that, in my life, I throw probably less than 5% forehand (flick) throws, and basically only straddle putt when I have to. Today? I straddled as my default and just about every forehand was perfect or at least exactly where I aimed it. Who knew I can now rely on that?

Back to hole 6. I take a par on the difficult par 4 (featuring a VERY slick forehand with a QSentinel), then four the next difficult par 4 (had what I thought was a great flick hit the last obstacle and leave me a 50′ uphill putt, which I nearly made). Then we start BIRDIE row.

Hole 8 – I left myself a 20′ putt for birdie. I airballed it. I say out loud to myself: I will NOT let this happen today.

Hole 9 – Horrible horrible drive. SICK 150+’ flick shot to put me within 20. Made the putt.

Hole 10 – Horrible drive. Really amazing up shot considering where I was. I MISS the 20′ putt (though it did hit center chains, just too high). That’s IT. NO MORE TODAY. I WILL NOT F’N LET THIS HAPPEN ANYMORE!

(By this time, I’m +4 to ironman par, or +2 to course par, which is putting me dangerously close to where I ended up last year. My drives were erratic, but I was saving like a mofo. Maybe I could still pull it together.)

Hole 11 – Miss my line by less than a foot, up and down par.

Hole 12 – Throw a flick just a touch early, SUPER death putt, lay up, par.

Hole 13 – This is a silly hole, and people always say that there’s a flick line (which I’ve never tried in a tourney). But hey, flick’s working, so let’s do it. BAM! Hit the line, leave myself a 20′ putt. Hit it. YES!

Hole 14 – A very good drive, 20′ putt, hit it. YES!

Hole 15 – A tweener par 4, but one I so rarely birdie. VERY good drive, perfect up shot, drop in birdie. 2nd turkey of the day.

Hole 16 – TOUGH par 3, throw my drive within 50, though my putt is obstructed. Give it a run, just miss, it ROLLS 18′ away. Make the putt.

Hole 17 – I hit first available tree 100′ down the fairway. I then throw a pretty lousy up shot that leaves me a 40′ putt. NOT TODAY! BAM! Hit it.

Hole 18 – This hole can suck my monkey. I am not sure exactly of the exact #s, but I think the last 10+ tournament rounds, I’ve 4’d this very doable par 3, or worse, usually by yanking my drive into the trees on the right and not having anything. I walk up saying out loud to myself and to my group “I’m going to hit this gap!” Then I threw, and while the disc was in mid-air, said “No I’m not”. I hit the trees on the right and it ricochets across the fairway to the left side. I’m left with a 250+ up shot with a manageable but difficult gap. NOT FUCKING TODAY! I WILL NOT BOGEY THIS HOLE TODAY! I throw a SICK upshot and it skips to about 18 feet away. I hit it. UP YOURS HOLE 18!

Hole 1 – A gimmie birdie. I JUST miss the line, clip the last guardian tree (would have been an ace run without that), leaving me a 45 footer. I just miss.

Hole 2 – Throw what I think is the perfect flick, but my drone catches some headwind, flips straight, and I smack the last guardian. I’m left with a tricky 100′ flick shot, which I execute pretty damn well. Save par.

Hole 3 – The easiest par 4 on the course, I throw a pretty solid drive but get an unfortunate kick. I throw a pretty great up but again clip the last guardian, leaving a 40 severely uphill putt. I just miss.

So while I was on pace for another 60+ round, I managed – through simple willpower alone – to salvage a 57. While not much above my rating, this was just an example of me playing without my best stuff. Or even mediocre stuff. I willed myself to succeed. And I did, more or less, just dropping a few spots in the cards.

My body, however, is shot. Totally shot. My back is sore, my glute is on fire, my groin on the right side is starting to flare up (likely from compensating for the glute and the back), and I have no less than 3 blisters forming on both feet. I am really really really hoping for those injections I’m getting soon to work – I simply can’t continue playing when my body is so shot afterwards.

So where do I stand? I’m in a tie for 15th out of 55, with them paying the top 22. There are 9 guys within five strokes of me behind me (and one tied), and only 4 within five strokes the other way. So like 2 years ago (when I cashed) I need to maintain myself at Tahoe Vista to grab cash (which I did with a 55 that included birdieing my last 4 holes).

The question is: is my body up for the task?

King of the Lake – Day 1

It’s that time of year again, my favorite tourney of the year, King of the Lake. You may remember the story from last year (but chances are you don’t because not many people read my disc golf posts all the way thru). Actually, you definitely won’t remember because it appears I didn’t actually blog about it last year. So in 2015, I played my tuchus off for two rounds, shooting a 74 (-7, rated 1004) at Bijou followed up by a shooting a 53 at Zephyr (-1, rated 969). After day 1, I found myself in 9th after the first day out of 36 pros. Then it came apart at the seams in spectacular fashion (something I don’t know much about), throwing a 63 at Sierra College (generously rated 901), then redeeming slightly at Truckee (960-rated 4 down), before collapsing again the final day at Vista (928 rated 61).

This year, I had lower expectations. The field was much deeper, having 55 pros, but I have had my own issues to deal with. My back has been hurting so much that I’m going in for injections (and possibly ablation – the burning of my nerve endings) in my back in the next week or so. Also, I’ve been spending all my free time completely redoing our house. Needless to say, I’m not really in my prime competition shape right now. So I was playing just to have some fun. So how’d it go?

ROUND 1 – Zephyr Cove – The TD Skot “thanked” me for my help with scores by putting me in a card with 3 of the five top rated players at the tourney. What’s more, the CCDG guys were there to film, and guess which card they picked? I later found out it won’t be a whole video with commentary (a good thing as you’ll soon find out), but it will be a highlights video only.

I start out on hole 2 with some jitters, and it shows. I saw my first drive off, throw a very bad up shot, and miss my putt. That’s a bogey to start (a hole I bogeyed last year as well). Then on a tough stretch of holes I have 3 drop in pars, which is nice, but then another bogey (terrible up shot). Then something pretty amazing happened. Two amazing things. My drives (which, after the first hole, had been great) basically finished out the entire round among the best off-the-tee shots I’ve had in years. I was CLUTCH off the tee. And, on the flip side, my putting was the WORST tournament putting I’ve had in years. I missed 9 putts within 45′, 6 of which were inside the 33′ circle, and 2 of those were within 15′. These aren’t exaggeration – I missed that many shots. It’s on video after all. If I had just made the 6 in the circle, I would have tied the hot round. THE HOT ROUND. Instead, I had great drive after great drive leave me with pars. I even ended my round by missing a 15′ par putt (after a great save on my only other bad drive of the round).

I did manage to squeeze out some birdies, putting me at 52 (-2, tentatively rated 979, which is right on target for last year’s scores too). More surprisingly, that 52, with my 9 missed putts, still somehow put me in the thick of it. I was 4 strokes off 2nd, 3 strokes off 3rd. I couldn’t believe it.

Assuming that the CCDG video comes out, I’ll eventually link it, and my hope is that, with it being a highlights video only, you’ll see a lot of me off the tee, and maybe a few putts in there. But man, I was one aspect of my game away from shooting the best round of my life, wonky back and all.

ROUND 2 – BIJOU – Last year I started here, but this year it was our second round. Nearly all the holes were set up the same, so I knew what the 1000-rated target was, though I gotta admit that my back was starting to give me problems, and I was just trying to save face with my putter.

I start out missing the first (easy) hole, then putting my next drive within 20′ (another easy hole). AND I MISS THE PUTT. I give a shout, immediately apologize to my group, take out my headphones, and tell myself “I CANNOT DO THIS ANYMORE!” Over the next several (difficult) holes, I par, and finally hit a birdie with a 20′ putt on hole 11 (we started on 7). A few holes later, the hardest on the course, I take a four (bad drive, but two good attempts). So after the first third of the course, my score is even. Ugh. Then something clicked. My katana was just gold for me the entire rest of the round (hitting just about every gap I threw it in).

My putting was better, but it wasn’t even necessary – I was putting my drives within 10-15 feet of the basket. I ended up birdieing 8 of the last 18 holes and, with the one other bogey I took near the end on the other hardest hole on the course, I ended up at -7, same as last year, currently rated at a 1000 even (which unfortunately will probably go down a point or two when the scores become official). I beat everyone on my card (by 3 or more strokes) and I managed to pull myself up to 12th (out of 55 this year). Did I manage to beat Jere Eshelman, which was  been one of my goals for years now? Of course not. He also threw a 74, meaning I’ve tied him a few times, but still haven’t beaten him. Hurrrgh.

So where does this leave me? Well, almost exactly where I was last year. My back hurts about as much as last year (I ended up not playing disc golf for about 4 months last year after KotL). But this year I feel like I’m playing on house money. I didn’t plan to be competitive for many reasons, and I am. Tomorrow, I plan on going out and just trying to execute my shots, not think about my poor putting from today, not think about my implosion last year, almost certainly not putting headphones in (they seem to be a massive distraction for me).

I start tomorrow at Truckee, which was the course I’d played second last year. It’s a course I usually shoot well (despite not really caring for the course). He’s hoping my back cooperates. And I actually get some sleep! This tournament insomnia that I’ve gotten the last few years has GOT. TO. GO.

Odds and Ends

Time for a bullet list!

  • I recently read through the fiasco that was our first house-buying experience (in a buyer’s market nonetheless) so I arrived at doing a sell/buy transaction with trepidation. Also, having heard some friends at their wit’s end with the insane market that is flooding the real estate world, I expected disaster. So following copious amounts of knocking on wood, I’m happy to announce that so far this has been smooth sailing. We received 3 offers on our house (two over asking price) within two days and accepted one. Our house inspection has been done and the appraiser has come by with no issues. As far as the house we wanted, it was more than we really wanted to spend, but we made an offer at it was accepted. (It was actually our 3rd offer, but the first to be either accepted OR denied – long story) We close on our current house on 4/29, but will rent from the new owners for 2 weeks. Then we move into the in-laws house for about 6 weeks. Finally, we close on our new house 5/6, but the old owners will rent from us until between 6/15 and 6/30. The latest we will be able to move in will be 7/1. Pictures will come when they’ve cleared their stuff out, so we don’t feel weird about posting pictures of their Furry costumes on the web.
  • No real change in my dental happenings. Waiting on the insurance company to (likely) reject the request for payment, and then we’ll schedule the appointment for my surgery. (Maybe an MRI first?) In the meantime, I’m trying to live my life.
  • Everyone's favorite amorphous mascot, Archie!
  • At the above game, we have front row 3rd base seats, L got his face on the jumbotron (smile cam), he got a baseball (not a foul ball, but an Aces employee gave him a ball actually used in the game), we got a shirt (the lady behind snagged it but gave it to him anyway), 2 free burger vouchers (since the Aces scored 10+ hits), 2 free taco vouchers (our row only out of the entire stadium), and they won 6-1. Oh, and Landen got to take a picture with everyone’s favorite amorphous mascot Archie! I’d call that a good game.
  • I’m going to play my first disc golf tournament of the year this weekend at my local course. It’s two rounds of 27 hilly, long holes. My back has been pretty bad lately, but we’re going to go to PT twice this week and see what happens on the weekend. I ended up selling my Gorilla Boy bag because it’s just too heavy for my back, opting to stick to a smaller bag. I may have to buy something in the middle so I actually have a water bottle holder. *sigh* Getting older.
  • D & L are now both at the Montessori school, which puts 3 grades together. So D is with everyone from 3 yr olds to kindergartners, L is with 1st-3rd graders. They’re both blossoming (L was doing division problems in his head, D has started spelling words). It’s good to see our tough decisions rewarded.
  • Years ago I wrote a blog called White Christmases, noting that I live in a desert, yet from 2007-2012 I experienced at least some snow in 4 out of 6 Christmases. Since then, that percentage has continued. 2013 (no snow), 2014 (a dusting), 2015 (about an inch fell the morning of). So yeah, if you want a White Christmas, move to the desert I guess. 6 out of 9 years so far.
  • 2016 has already had some of the highest highs in a while, but more it’s had some of the lowest lows in my life. Here’s hoping for a rebound.