Accountability Blog – September

If you’ll remember, I ended my August write-up with “I’m going to try a renewed dedication to this quest in September”. So, did I?

In a word, no. There was a pretty decent excuse in that I traveled a ton this month with two camping trips and a week on the east coast for a disc golf tournament. Travel tends to mean worse habits, and boy did I live up to that.

DIET

Crap food – I had two crap lunches and one crap breakfast. It’s close to my goal, but not quite there. I’m okay with this given my travel schedule and how easy it is to just grab crap fast food when you’re away from home. Grade: 3.

Vegetables – There appeared to only be two days without veggies, which is a nice improvement. It’s again close to my goal, but not quite there. Grade: 3.5.

Sodas – There’s two ways to look at this. I had 10 sodas, which is not great. But the other way to look at this is to include energy drinks (which I really should), which brings this embarrassing total up to 15 for the month. An unequivocal failure. And I can only blame travel so much. See, when I know I’ve failed something, I don’t try to salvage, I just go off the deep end. I stopped holding myself responsible and just drank soda like it was going out of style. Grade: 1.

Overall diet grade: 2.5. This is not trending in the right direction.

WORKING OUT

Well, it couldn’t get worse than August, when I did not work out at all. September saw me work out… well, my calendar says twice but I’m fairly certain I worked out about four times. Let’s call it 3 since I am not very good at even keeping this damn log. Still, it falls well below the 8 I hoped to do. Grade: 2.

MEDITATION

I meditated six times, which is acceptable, though well below my goal of 12-15. I’m too cheap to pay for the upgraded service, so I’ll be going through the same 10 routines ad nauseam. But in the times where I don’t fall asleep, it does help center me a bit. Grade: 2.5.

DISC GOLF

Rehashing this will hurt my soul. If I had gotten even a bogey 5 on my final hole of the 72-hole tournament, this would have been graded a 5 since I would have cashed and left $200+ richer. Instead, I took a 7 and was one stroke out of the cash. I want to grade it a zero (even though I typically don’t grade disc golf), but the truth is I played pretty well for about 70 of those holes. Grade: 3

CREATIVE WRITING

2500 words in a month was my goal. Bear in mind, I have not done this more than once (when I was writing sketches last summer for The Untamed) since 2012. Here, I wrote two sketches and started work on The Great Depression: The Musical (even if it was literally only one stanza). Total word count is just a little above 700 words, but I don’t consider it only a 30% success. I actually wrote creatively for the first time in a while. I’m going to give myself half a pass this month. 2500 might difficult to hit with any regularity (ignoring the fact that I’ve already written 500 words in this blog alone) but it’s a fun challenge. Grade: 3.

SEPTEMBER OVERALL: 2.5 – When I failed, I failed big, but a few other goals were pretty decently followed.

I’m adding one new addition for October only, at least for the month starting after today. In looking at my budget, I’ve spent way too much the last two months on my “vices” – booze, cannabis, and soda. Like way way too much. I’m not as concerned that I’m drinking too much, but I’m completely obliterating my monthly spending goals. So Danielle and I are cutting out all booze and pot for the month (except if there’s a party we’re attending which, at this time, we have none that we know of). It’s more for financial reasons, but a pause will have a number of other good effects.

And more importantly, and this I’m excited for, I’m *actually* going to commit this time. No excuses of travel, no seeing that I’m going to fail so throwing in the towel. I’m going to try to hit every damn goal at least once in a month.

Accountability Blog – August

DIET

Crap food – Well, for the first time since starting this blog, I hit this goal. I had one crap breakfast (on the 2nd of the month) and one crap lunch (on the 7th) but held off the rest of the month. Sure, I had Jack in the Box once for dinner this month, but there were extenuating circumstances and I cleverly put no restrictions on this whatsoever. Grade: 4.

Vegetables – Looking at my calendar, it looks like I had four days without veggies this month. Admittedly at least one of those days I didn’t really have the option to get something with veggies, but still a pretty bad fail. Grade: 2.5.

Sodas – 11. Ouch, that’s nearly double my goal. It’s probably still *slightly* better than I did before this challenge, but it’s still pretty lousy. Grade: 2.

Overall diet grade: 3.

WORKING OUT

Zero times. Not once did I work out. That’s terrible. Sure, it was a busy month and I always tend to work out more in the winter than in the summer, but this is pretty inexcusable, especially on the heels of the past two months where I only worked out 4 times total. Grade: 1.

MEDITATION

I only decided I would add this goal halfway through the month. I finished the month out with 5 in the final two weeks. Considering my monthly goal was 12-15, my prorated total would put me at around 11 or 12. So we’re gonna call this a success. Grade: 4.

DISC GOLF

I played 12 holes of practice early in the month with someone from work and bookended August with about 24 holes on the last day of the month. I’m trying to get my body ready for next week when I anticipate playing no less than 6 rounds in 5 days (possibly 7 rounds). I think 36 holes in the prior 2+ months satisfies that criteria, right? Grade: N/A

CREATIVE WRITING

I only decided I would attempt this at the very end of the month, and I’m okay with not having succeeded because of that. What’s more, I have some gift cards coming my way and I plan to buy a laptop with those. I am infinitely more likely to write on a laptop than I am while sitting at my not very comfortable computer desk. After all, I have a bed that can sit all the way up. 🙂 Grade: N/A.

JUNE OVERALL: 2.5. Still not great, all things considered. I’m going to try a renewed dedication to this quest in September and I hope to hit each one of these targets.

Spoiler alert: I had two sodas on the very first day of September. So there’s that.

Accountability – June & July

So I have not actually written an accountability blog in several months which, I imagine, is not good in terms of holding myself accountable. So I’ll compensate by adding a gratuitous grading scale.

5 – Not only did I hit my goals, I exceeded them.

4 – I hit my goals.

3 – I came close, but did not hit my goals.

2 – Not only did I not hit my goals, I basically was as unhealthy as I was before these resolutions.

1 – I failed on every level.

JUNE

DIET

To refresh your memory, three are three sub-goals here.

Fast food/crap food: my goal was to have no more than one junk food lunch and one junk food breakfast a month. In June, I had three crap breakfasts and two crap lunches.

Vegetables: There were four days I did not eat vegetables at all, much less than the zero I hoped for.

Sodas: I had nine sodas, not six.

Overall, I’ll grade my diet a 2 for June.

WORKING OUT

Recall that I hoped to work out twice a week for a total of 8 to 10 times a month. Looking back at my accountability calendar, I see I fell just short, having not worked out at all. Okay, that’s more than falling short, that is quite literally the least I could do. Grade: 1.

DISC GOLF

I started off the month as hot as you could, but winning my second tournament of the year (this one at one of my all time favorite courses, Turtle Rock). Like my other Masters wins, this was a wire-to-wire win, resulting in a 4-stroke victory and my biggest payday to date. I followed this tournament up with a pretty sub-standard showing at King of the Lake, but I did manage to sneak into a tie for last cash. While this was disappointing, it was the *first* odd-numbered year that I ever cashed in the King, so there’s that. We’re going a full 5 for this grade.

JUNE OVERALL: 2.

JULY

DIET

I had a whopping four crap lunches (I realize I eat crap lunches when I am having a bad day – it’s my comfort food – and I had no shortage of bad days in July). I had one crap breakfast and at least two days without vegetables. Maybe a slight leg up from June? Well, I had the chance to improve on nine sodas in June, but I didn’t. I had 9. I’ll grade this month a generous 3.

WORKING OUT

I worked out four days this month, a couple of those also working on my shoulder. I’m hoping to get it back to competition form by the first week of September when I have my biggest tournament of the year. While four is well short of my goal, it’s better than I’d done in a couple of months. So…. yay? I’m gonna grade this a 2.5, though. It’s still well short of my very reachable target.

DISC GOLF

I did not touch a disc for the entire month. Grade: N/A.

JULY OVERALL: Given that this was a very trying month on a number of levels, I fared sorta kinda okay I guess? We’ll keep it at a 2.5, though.

 

RANDOM NOTES:

  • First off, you’ll notice I’ve yet to hit basically any of my goals in any single month. And spoiler alert, I won’t in August either. Well that’s disappointing. However, here’s hoping I get a renewed push going into September and actually try to hold myself accountable more than just saying “shucks” when I miss a goal.
  • Also, I can’t actually “grade” disc golf since I’m not setting a goal. I mean, I did grade June because I won a tournament, but I don’t think I’ll actually my disc golf grade in my overall grade because, with no measurable goal, it’s a totally arbitrary number.
  • I will be adding two categories starting next month. The first is “creative writing” because I’ve been saying for YEARS I want to write more and I’ve had tons of friends very disappointed that I have basically not written. This blog and work stuff don’t count: creative writing only, preferably one of my two novels I’ve started, but I’ll take working on sketches or anything that gets the creative juices flowing. My goal? 2,500 words a month. I know that’s peanuts, but if I start crushing it (like all the other goals I’m hitting routinely) I’ll increase that number.
  • The second addition will be meditation at the urging of my therapist. I’ve tried meditation in the past and not gotten much out of it, but I also recognize that I don’t handle stress as well as I thought I did. He recommends 10 minutes a day. I’ll say let’s do 10 minutes three times a week. So on a per month basis, that’s 12-15 times.

Accountability Update – Stupid, stupid May

So, how’s that accountability thing going? Let’s find out:

DIET

I think I’m like most people. When I make goals for myself, I set out earnestly to hit those goals. But once it becomes clear I am not going to hit them, not only do I stop trying, I basically take it in the opposite direction to see how spectacularly I can fail. I had 8 sodas, not 6. And while that may not seem like much, each sized soda was considerably larger than I normally get, so those 8 were more like 10 or 12. I also had two crappy Jack-in-the-Box lunches this month. Again, it’s only one more than my goal, but it’s also double my goal. I missed veggies again one day. I failed pretty hard in May. Especially when you compound my eating habits with:

WORKING OUT

…which I essentially did not do. I worked out a grand total of one time, and considering my goal was 8-10, I came up juuuuuuuuuust a bit short. I want to be able to place the blame elsewhere, but simply I got obsessed with War and Order, a handheld strategy game. Why work out when I can loot castles and kill soldiers, am I right? I hold out hope that June will be different, but it’s a flimsy sort of hope.

DISC GOLF

Here’s where things get funky. I started out my disc golf month at a one-day tournament at a new course (I’d only played once the week before at doubles). And I did what I’ve done all year, sucked. This tournament featured a) my third (3RD) sub-900 rated round this year and b) my SECOND DFL (dead f’n last) finish this year.

Apparently, the bursitis in my throwing shoulder is causing me more problems than I thought, especially when putting. So I did what any rational person would do, decided to play out the tournaments I’ve already signed up for then hang up the discs for the rest of the year to recover. I emailed my ex to change my schedule with the boys because of it. Then what happened?

Oh yeah, I started kicking ass. I won Duel at Dayton by four strokes, playing good golf the entire weekend. As a comparison, in the 9 tournament rounds before Dayton, I reached my player rating only once. Dayton featured 3 rounds in a row above my rating, something I tend not to do very much. Also, SPOILER ALERT, June started off pretty well too.

THE REST OF MY LIFE

The boys are done with school, in more ways than one. We’re moving them from their current school back to the public school they are zoned for. There are many reasons for this move, but it’s definitely the right one. It’ll be a sharp change (and for L, his third school in four years). They have mixed feelings about it, but have spent the last few days getting phone numbers for the parents of many of their friends. So there will be play dates a’plenty.

My girlfriend has had some medical issues resulting in surprise surgery (which is, as you know, the worst kind), so it’s been a pretty rough, tiring month. She’s on the mend, at least until the next, bigger surgery (less surprise, but no less sucky). We will get a nice excursion next weekend when we attend the wedding of some longtime friends of hers.

May was a weird month financially, too. Twice each year I get three paychecks (I get paid bi-weekly, not semi-monthly), and May was one of those months. Plus I got my small tax rebate. Plus my second-biggest disc golf payday ever. So I’ve been able to pocket a little money to spend on a trip later this year with the boys.

Oh, and I we interviewed for and selected my third employee! She starts on July 1 and I’m SUPER excited a) because we desperately need a third person and b) because she’s awesome.

Onto June…

April Update

So, how’s that accountability thing going? Let’s find out:

DIET

You may remember in this blog post, I made a resolution to eat better because I was working out more. So how’d it go? I missed two days of veggies in May, one of which was because I was out playing disc golf for a good portion of the day and had plans at night. In general, I’m having more than one serving of veggies a day, but at least I’m basically hitting the lower bar each day. It helps to have a girlfriend who enjoys cooking (healthy!)

WORKING OUT

I worked out four times last month. If you’re good at math, or even just barely passable, you’ll realize that that’s not 2x a week. Unless April only had one week which, after thorough research, I concluded it didn’t. Of course it’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of priorities. Let’s see if I can change that in May, during which I’ve already worked out (checks calendar) zero times.

DISC GOLF

I played two days of golf the entire month, both doubles. I played exceptionally mediocre in both of them, missing cash each time (in one I was playing with a total newbie so it was basically a solo round). So far for 2019, I’ve made $0 in disc in 2019. Too bad I haven’t spent $0.

THE REST OF MY LIFE

The boys are doing great. They’ve taken up reading as a legitimate hobby, spending most of each car ride (to and from school) silently reading. For Landen it’s usually Calvin and Hobbes. Duncan switches between that and other books. School’s been going well for them too. I unfortunately won’t be able to take them on large vacations like I’d hoped (definitely rethinking the custody arrangement I agreed to based on things that have not transpired as discussed), but I’m making it work as best as I can.

Work is finally slowing down and I’m able to concentrate on process improvement and a backlog of old projects. This is actually exciting news, as these are the real things I intended to do in this position.

My body is rapidly falling apart – herniated disc in the back, bursitis in the right (throwing) shoulder, and arthritis in the left foot. Yeah yeah, I know, working out would help some of these.

Let’s see how May goes.

Updates – March

So, how’s that accountability thing going? Let’s find out

DIET

You may remember in this blog post, I made a resolution to eat better because I was working out more. So how’d it go? I’m not going to pretend the bar was set super high – it was only three goals – but I did very well. I had my full allotment of six sodas (I had the last one around the 20th of the month), I only had my two fast food jaunts (Jack in the Box for lunch once and a fatty bagel once for breakfast), and I ate veggies every day but one. Most days I had multiple veggies, so I feel good. That’s, like, a 98% success rate or something for month one.

ABOUT THAT WORKING OUT THING

Well, this isn’t going as well, but I didn’t set a clear goal. I think a reasonable goal would be two sessions a week. That’s vague on purpose – it can be going to the gym and using the elliptical and/or weights, or doing yoga or pilates or other core work at home. I haven’t done two sessions a week in a month or two, and I probably did a total of about 5 total sessions in March. No bueno.

DISC GOLF

Remember a few months ago when a doe-eyed man with a bag full of big dreams set up a bunch of goals for the year? I haven’t had the cajones to reread that blog, but suffice to say this has been a historically bad start to the year. I mean historically. Put it this way, since 2010, I have not had a sub-900-rated round. And the one I had then was because of a severe injury. You’d have to go back to 2009 to get a legit sub-900 round. This year? Yup, already had two.

I know it’s altitude. I know it I know it I know it. But I keep going back. Why do I keep going back? Let’s do some research. Since moving west at the end of 2007, I’ve played 262 tournament rounds. 175 of them were above 4000′ in elevation (almost exactly 2/3). Here are my findings:

Average round rating below 4000′: 950.56

# of 1000-rated rounds below 4000′: 5 (~5.7%)

# of sub-930 rounds below 4000′: 17 (~20%)

Average round rating above 4000′: 965.01

# of 1000-rated rounds above 4000′: 16 (~9.1%)

# of sub-930 rounds above 4000′: 13 (~7.4%)

I used to think it had to do with playing early in the year, but I now think that’s crap. The few rounds I played in Reno (above 4000′) after a two-month layoff and dealing with bursitis in my throwing shoulder were actually quite good (I took home the 1-tag in the opener!) Then I go down to sea level and throw my first 8 rounds well below my rating (only one round so far is unofficially rated above 950). Oh well, onward and upward. Literally, upward. I need higher elevation.

THE REST OF MY LIFE

This one is murkier. The internet isn’t the forum for airing dirty laundry, so let’s say say specters from my past are making my life in the present very challenging. And they’re inevitably affecting my relationship with my boys and even the amount of time I get to spend with them. Personal choices obviously have a say in that as well (I played several tournaments in March, for instance), but there are extenuating circumstances.

The boys are doing well in general. I just had parent teacher conferences with both teachers and, while L’s reading scores have me more than a bit concerned, they’re both prospering in various areas. I can only imagine how hard it is to try to learn anything at school while dealing with two separate homes and lifestyles. Fortunately, my parents’ divorce happened when I was in college, and even THAT had its own challenges. It must be 1000x harder for kids.

However my girlfriend Danielle has been a nice pillar of support in all of this, as have a few friends I’ve opened up to. I had the chance to see Corey and Matt in their adorable place in Oakland. Got to perform with my improv troupe, The Comedy Collective (and will again this coming Friday!), and partook in some shenanigans. All in all, a mixed bag.

 

I anticipate doing this sort of review monthly. It’s good cheap therapy content.

 

2019 Disc Golf Goals

It’s time once again to write something long that only I read and it’s tl;dr for everyone else: my disc golf goals! You’ll remember last year I managed to hit 10 of my 21 lofty goals, but oddly I hit some of the ones I considered long shots and missed others I thought were pretty safe. Can I do better without lowering my bar? Let’s see. Those observant enough to care will notice I’m recycling many of last year’s goals. So what? It’s my bloggy and I’ll do what I wanna. 

1) Win more than 800 points in Masters.

Last year I didn’t even get 600, but that was largely due to poor attendance in my division throughout the Sierra Tahoe series. While I don’t expect that to change that much, I’m planning to do more traveling/big tournaments, so hopefully a few good showings will do me just right.

2) Cash in 2/3 of my events.

I missed this last year by some margin, but had I done a single stroke better a round in 6 of my tournaments, I would have cashed in all but two events for the entire year. But… well… I didn’t.

3) Cash in the St. Patrick’s Classic or the Tim Selinski US Masters.

I’ve played St. Patty’s twice. The first time I threw my highest rated round (1025) at the time and still came considerably out of the cash after following it up with two lousy rounds. Last year I played in Masters and limped my way to the first spot out of cash. Third time’s a charm, right?

I’ve never played a Masters event as big as the US Masters, and right now it’s full at a field of 60 (I’m gonna guess that’ll go up as some of the more esoteric fields don’t fill). And, while Maple Hill is one of my all-time favorite courses, I’ve yet to throw a single good round there. Both tournaments will be a challenge, but here’s hoping I can get one of them. Hell, maybe even both!

4) Cash in every PDGA event.

This is one of two least likely goals for me to achieve. But let’s keep it here because I’m nothing if not ambitious. It’ll REQUIRE me to cash at both A Tier/Major tournaments, which will be no small feat in and of itself.

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

This is one I squeaked by last year, but I think it’s a good measure of a successful year for me. Last year I rode the success of two large cashes (a win and a 2nd place finish in the most populous tournament). Let’s see if I can duplicate it, hopefully this time with more consistent cash.

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

This one might be harder than cashing in every event and basically I’ll need to do that one to have a shot at this one. I’m already buying a new bag this year (~$100) and doing some heavy traveling including a three-night stay at an AirBNB. There’s PIE! And it’s in the SKY!

7) Finish every PDGA tournament I start. 

Ah, the dreaded DNF (did not finish). I’ve not had to succumb to that for 17 straight years but every year it gets harder. And truth be told, if I had driven my own car to the Tahoe Vista Finals last year, I would not have achieved this goal then. Here’s hoping for some luck.

8) Never finish in the bottom third of a tournament with a field of more than seven players.

I achieved this one last year without the 7+ player caveat, but I’m adding that because my area seems to have tournaments with very few old guys. I could easily see myself being in a 6 person field, shooting 4 strokes off the leader, and still coming in 5th just because of some clumping. Hence the caveat.

9) Don’t throw lower than 940 in the first round of any tournament.

I’m striving to not make goals that are subjective, like last year’s “don’t take myself out of contention” goal. I shot myself in the foot four times last year by digging too great a hole to come back. So here’s hoping I can at least start strong in every tournament, or at least not suckyass weak.

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

I’ve already lost one dubs playoff and squandered a two-stroke lead with three holes to play in dubs, but neither of those count. I’m talking PDGA events here, and if I’m playing for a trophy, that means I did something right.

11) Throw three or more 1000-rated rounds. 

Even though I doubled this goal last year, it marked only the third year where I accomplished the goal in 17 years. I think it’s pretty fair to keep it as is.

12) Don’t follow up a 1000-rated round with anything below my rating.

I have 25 1000-rated rounds but 9 of them were during the final round of a tournament, so I’m ruling those out. Here’s how I followed the rest of those rounds where I had at least one more round to play:

1004 – 944

1000 – 933

1010 – 991

1004 – 1006

1006 – 949

1000 – 898

1025 – 933

1003 – 964

1010 – 976

1004 – 969

1000 – 987

1025 – 992

1003 – 972

1012 – 962

1014 – 984

1030 – 981

Okay, so admittedly, this hasn’t been as big a problem as in the past – it’s only happened twice since 2010 – but nothing kills a tournament like taking the air out of your own tires.

13) Throw at least 1 round over 1010.

I’ve done this 8 times in my career, but inexplicably seven of those were in the last two years. Still a lofty goal.

 

14) Beat Robert Bainbridge in a tournament.

There are any number of good Masters players in my area, but he’s one of the best who plays the Tahoe area regularly (Patrick Brown is better but he tends to tour and there are a handful of others around Bainbridge’s skill level that don’t play Tahoe often). Now, I’ve beaten Robert in rounds. Hell, two of the three times we played on the same card I beat him. But I haven’t beaten him in a tournament, which makes sense since he’s a 1000-rated player. I came *so* close during last year’s King of the Lake, losing my tie with him on the last hole. But I imagine I’ll have a few chances this year.

15) No rounds below a 925 rating.

I’m too lazy to do the research, but I imagine there haven’t been many years I’ve accomplished this. Here’s hoping 2019 is one of them. 

16) Have more rounds over my rating than below my rating. A tie counts a victory considering I’m starting the year at a very high 972 rating.

I sorta suspect I won’t make this one based on the fact that I’m starting high and tend to play crappy until about June.

17) Keep my rating 965 or higher the entire year.

I usually aim to hit a specific high, but since I’m at 972, which I’m comfortable with, I’m changing it up this year. Don’t drop below 965. When was the last year I’ve done this? Well, never. Never is the last time I’ve done this.

18) Hit a tournament ace or eagle. A dubs ace with a pot over $100 counts.

I did this in dubs in 2017, but it’s been a while in a tournament.

 

19) Play at least 20 “casual” rounds.

I’m at the exact same place I was last year (3 rounds in January) but last year I dropped off quickly, much like I do every other year. Having Saturdays free will help, but having a thousand other responsibilities won’t.

 20) Break the King of the Lake “Odd Year Curse”

I chronicled this at length here, but basically I suck every odd year – I have never even cashed. So this year, I wanna cash at the King. That’s all. That simple. I can do this!

21) Win 1 tournament.

This will be on my to-do list basically every year for the rest of my career now that I can hide with the old guys. Here’s hoping to make it 2 for 2.

See you on the course!

Disc Golf Review – 2018

As we bid adieu to 2018, let’s reflect on this tumultuous roller-coaster of a year. It featured a divorce, a move back into an apartment, the immediate aftermath of my mother’s death, and more than a fair share of social/personal drama, but also a higher concentration of time with my boys, a promotion, a reunion with many of my old friends and family, and financial comfort for the first time in a long time.

And that roller-coaster reflected itself on the course as well, which we shall soon see. I made 21 goals at the start of the year, some of which were admittedly loftier than others. It’s also a tale of two halves – if I were to have written this up before King of the Lake this year, my results would have been drastically different.

Also, since this is already tl;dr, suffice to say this will be a whopper with a numbing amount of statistics. So, my two readers, buckle in, let’s see how I did.

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

In my goal-setting blog, I pegged 600 points as the magic number. I actually think that number might be lower than what will actually be needed, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t hit it. What I didn’t account for is a sudden, inexplicable drop in Masters turnouts. Of the 10 tournaments I played in, only three of them featured fields larger than 12 and several featured fields smaller than 7. Hard to make up points like that, especially when they count for less than they do in Open. In all I garnered 588 points, which was good enough to put me second in the STATE in points for my division. Still not enough to make my goal.

VERDICT: FAIL, but just barely

2) Cash in 2/3 of my events.

Sadly, I did not even cash in 1/2 of my events, taking home money just four times in ten tries. However, these numbers are again deceiving. Let’s look at the six tournaments I did not cash in and where I placed.

 

EVENT Where placed How many they paid
St. Patrick’s Classic 19th of 45 18
Legend of Lizard Peak 4th of 8 3
Frying Pan 6th of 9 4
Tahoe Pro/Am 7th of 15 6
Mountain Mayhem 4th of 8 3
Tahoe Mountain Sports 5th of 7 3

That’s right, in each of these six, I was within two places of cash, and in four of them I was the bubble boy. And that’s not even the craziest thing. THIS is:

 

Tourney 2017 Master Bottom Cash Level 2018 What I averaged
Lizard Peak 962.5 976.5 968
Duel in Dayton 940.6666667 960.6666667 960.6666667
Sierra College 950.3333333 964.3333333 964.3333333
Bijou 952.3333333 965.6666667 958.6666667
Mountain Mayhem 958.6666667 981 966.3333333
King of the Lake 960.5 967.6666667 1007.666667
Nevada State Championships 955.6666667 974 986.3333333
Sierra Series Finals 972 981.3333333 973.6666667

These are the 8 Sierra Series tournaments (plus Lizard Peak). Just one year ago, my 2018 scores (in terms of ratings) would have cashed in every one of these tournaments, meaning my only two missed cashes would have been at sea-level tournaments. Why is this? It’s a combination of two things: better competition (more pros turning old like me) and smaller fields (equaling shallower payouts). So even though I played better than last year when I was cashing regularly in a “tougher” division, I cashed much less often this year.

VERDICT: FAIL

3) Cash in every PDGA event.

Well, um, this clearly didn’t happen. See my exasperated explanation above.

 VERDICT: FAIL

 4) Cash in an A-Tier event.

I did only play in one A-tier this year, The St. Patrick’s Classic, and my failure to cash was chronicled in depth here. I absolutely should have cashed here but didn’t, and it was simply my fault. However, I did learn something pretty important this year about playing at sea level. I used to think my problem was that I over-compensated for the loss of altitude by automatically throwing things with more hyzer (to negate the effects of my discs flipping) and that’s why my discs would inexplicably be too overstable at low elevations. But this year I learned that’s not – it’s that I take a considerable amount off my throws. Like, I throw at 75% at sea level. Hopefully knowing this will help me compete at sea level going forward, because I tend to have better aim when I throw 100% versus a controlled throw. Go figure.

VERDICT: FAIL

For those of you keeping score at home, I’m off to a terrible start.

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

So this one is a bit tricky to calculate, mainly because my divorce came in the middle of the year and it’s a little tricky to figure out since I got new bank accounts, new credit cards, and a new Quicken account. Calculating what I *estimate* the entry fees to be, I spent probably around $1000 for tournaments and dubs. I won $950 in PDGA winnings and just over $100 in dubs and miscellaneous disc golf winning. So, by that rough metric, I succeeded. Woo!

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

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

This one is far easier to calculate, because I spent more than $50 in all other disc golf expenses. Hell, I spent more than that on disc golf socks. So yeah, this one would have been tough no matter what, but I didn’t even come close.

VERDICT: FAIL

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

I did manage to keep this one alive, but truthfully, I shouldn’t have, and it was only because of a confluence of very strange factors that I did. My back, as a whole, behaved most of the year. I was in bad shape after King of the Lake, and I dealt with it on and off for the year, but that wasn’t what did it. In my last tournament of the year, I managed to slam my knee into a trailer hitch about 5 minutes before we were sent to our holes to start the tournament. My knee swelled up immediately. I managed to finish the round, but throw a <910 rated round. I couldn’t rotate my knee or push off it, thus basically limiting every throw and putt I made.

I actually would have gone home if I could have. The problem was it was one of very few rounds this year that I carpooled to, and I didn’t have my car. So I was forced to stay for the entire day no matter if I played or not. Fortunately, I had brought along my pain pills in case my back flared up, so taking one of those made me able to even get through the day.

It also resulted in something pretty amazing, which I will detail below.

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

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

Here’s another indicator as to what a weird year this was. I succeeded in this, yet didn’t cash in the majority of the tournaments I played. When I didn’t crush it, I played mediocre. I didn’t have a single tournament where I sucked from wire to wire. So, I guess I got that going for me.

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

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

Oh boy, how do I begin with this one? In short, I did take myself out of contention 3 times in the first round, based on the definition of “no more than five strokes off the cash line”.

Mountain Mayhem: 924-rated round, 5 strokes off the cash line

Sierra College Pro-Am: 920-rated round, 5 strokes off the cash line

Tahoe Mountain Sports: 910-rated round (w/ injury), 9 strokes off the cash line

So, fail, right? Well, yes, by the way I phrased the goal, it was. And I’ll mark it as such. BUT, after each of these three rounds, my second round was over 1000 and, in each tournament, I was very much IN competition after two rounds.

Mountain Mayhem: tied for 3rd (tied for last cash)

Sierra College: 5th (in the cash), and I would end up cashing in the event

Tahoe Mountain Sports: 4th, 1 stroke off tie for last cash

So did that first round truly take me out of contention? No, but really only because I throw some killer 2nd rounds this year. I will begrudgingly give this one up because I follow my own rules.

VERDICT: PEDANTIC FAIL

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

Didn’t play in one, didn’t lose one. I get a cheap victory back!

 

VERDICT: SUCCESS 

11) Throw three or more 1000-rated rounds. 

As I mentioned when I came up with this goal, it was a little pie-in-the-sky, having only ever done it twice before (2009 & 2017). And somehow, I managed to obliterate it. I managed to get SIX 1000-rated rounds in one year. That was almost 50% of my previous CUMULATIVE total. In more than one instance, the round was either tied for or was the best round shot amongst all the divisions. When I was on, there was no stopping me.

VERDICT: RIDICULOUS SUCCESS

12) Throw at least 1 round over 1010.

Before 2017, I’d only done this one with my career-high 1025 round at St. Patty’s Classic a decade ago. Last year I did it three times. So I felt it was quite a challenge to try to do it again. Somehow, I not only did it, I managed to beat my total last year, throwing four rounds above 1010. And, crazily enough, not one of these was a “perfect” round (meaning there was at least one shot that was a mistake or a miss, and often times a few). Guess it means I can accomplish more if I get some good breaks.

VERDICT: ROUSING SUCCESS

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

Now here’s where things get funky. I crushed King of the Lake, averaging over 1005 EACH ROUND. And it started off with a great round which rated… 1025. The way I phrased my goal meant this wouldn’t count. It was a phenomenal round and it set the table for the best tournament play of my life (with one hole left, I was tied with the division leader and only 2 strokes behind the overall “King” in the Open division), but it wouldn’t count for this goal.

So, remember that round earlier where I bashed my knee against a trailer hitch? I pretty much assumed that took the rest of my season out of the equation. But, knowing I was safely in last place and barely walking, I popped a pain pill and figured I’d get my entry fee’s worth. And somehow, I turned in an eye-popping -10, which ended up being rated 1030. I don’t know how I did it and I don’t care. I beat a goal I never thought I would beat, especially as I got older and more decrepit. w00t!

VERDICT: SUCCESS, BITCHES!

14) No rounds below a 930 rating.

I already spoiled this one. I had four rounds below 930 at four courses, three of which started off tournaments. (I also shot a 930 exactly, which was the round that cost me from cashing at St. Patty’s.) So, yeah, big time fail.

VERDICT: SUPER FAIL

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

 Grrr, another one that, because of phrasing alone, I did not complete. I threw exactly the same number of rounds above as below. This is the first time I’ve done that since 2013, so it was an achievement, but still not a success.

 VERDICT: BEGRUDGING FAIL

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

After more than 40 straight ratings updates dating back to 2013, I finally cracked the 970 barrier, ending the year with a 972 rating. So that’s another weird fluke – I didn’t throw more rounds above than below, but because I crushed so many rounds, I ended up with a net +56 ratings points at the end of the year. Go figure.

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

17) Hit a tournament ace or eagle.

Nope, not even any metal. *shrug*

 

VERDICT: FAIL

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

You’ll remember when I wrote this goal, I had just played a tournament where I think I hit metal on a hole longer than 300’, but I specified I wouldn’t count that. And, yeah, I probably should have counted that.

VERDICT: FAIL

 19) Play at least 25 “casual” rounds.

I played 16. Last time I checked, 16 was not greater than 25.

 

VERDICT: FAIL

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

I had played Oak Grove Park in Stockton once before, but only 18 holes. This year I played the Frying Pan, which featured two 18 hole courses. So there’s one. And the other was a small 9-holer which I used for practice before St. Patty’s Classic. It ain’t pretty, but it’s achieved.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

21) Win 1 tournament.

YES! I got the phantom fourth win, my first in five years. Better yet, it was a wire-to-wire win, although I went into round 3 with a 5-stroke lead and give up 4 of them in the first 9 holes. However, I kept it together and took home the W.

VERDICT: SUCCESS!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

What an odd year this was. The highs were high but the lows were low. I had thought I would steamroll my division but that simply didn’t happen for two reasons: 1) only two tournaments did I play well from start to finish, and 2) on average it was 1-3 strokes PER ROUND harder to cash than it was last year. I imagine that will continue as long as this area doesn’t have large pro fields.

I’m proud of how I did, hitting some goals that I never thought I had a chance to achieve and missing other “shoo-ins” by a country mile.

FINAL SCORE: I made 10 of my 21 goals, but 4 of my “fails” were so close and I probably could have called them successes without even stretching too much.

I’ll save the detailed stats for another day when I have more concentration to break it all down for you. Until later…

 

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.