So welcome to my first west coast tournament since moving. It was the a brisk four hours away, but there were a few things going for it: it was the most beautiful day of the year, I got to visit friends, and somebody recommended the course. And I was itching to play.
I started out the day with quite the punch. Literally. At 5:45am, when I was waking up, I hit “snooze” on my phone and tried to pull the covers over my head. I slipped and ended up punching myself with the back of my hand directly in the eye. I saw a flash and everything. Sucks! It still feels weird.
The tournament was held at the Stafford Lake Disc Golf Course, which was a stunning park filled with Californian rolling hills, sick elevation changes, and a number of impenetrable trees (ah trees, how I miss you). The course is a big one, and when the holes are in long positions, it can be quite formidable. For time, though, we played two rounds featuring many of the course’s shorter pin placements. Not good, I do NOT like birdie-fest courses!
We started out doing something of a trickle start (there were only 8 groups, and the course is inconvenient in that it’s a long hike to every hole except 1). So I start out and before even throwing the first shot, I hear “Are you Mitch’s brother?” Not even one throw… sigh. Hole one is a severe uphill shot that is about 450′, but at least 100′ uphill. I throw a big bomb drive with an oooohing gallery. I proceed to hit at 150′ upshot for a deuce on the hole which some say has only been deuced a couple of times ever. I turn around and yell, “Mitch is MY brother!” Looking at the link, the basket was in the top left corner of the first pic, to the right of the tree that’s a little further out on the fairway.
That was quite the start. I proceed to play a solid, if unspectacular, round. My new putter (a super stupid soft wizard) was treating me pretty kindly. I missed 5 putts, which admittedly sounds terrible, but three were literally hitting the top link, and two chained out in a bad-beat like fashion (not to mention the stance was awkward on a few of them because of the elevation and/or trees in the way). I was at least aiming well, and made a couple of long ones. My drives were solid, and my ups only hurt me a couple of times. I did miss many birdie ops, but that is due more to not knowing the course (I was ALL off on distances – that happens when playing a large open course for the first time)
The highlight of that round came on hole 17. (Check out the link – the basket was NOT in the position pictured – if you look at the left pic, you’ll see lighter colored grass, then a small little plateau where the sunlight juts in closest to the woods – that’s where the basket was). It’s massively downhill. I tell my group “I’m either gonna be right by it or nowhere near” I take my buzzz and crank it out FAR to the right. The thing flies straight, then as expected starts to pull towards the basket. I shout out a “ONE TIME!” and the thing CRASHES the top of the chains but bounces out. It would have been my first tournament ace. Instead, it’s my ?th tournament metal hit. Still very cool.
After round one, I was DFL in pro (which only had three people, two of which played that course often). The leader shot a 50 (on 19 holes) to my 55. The other guy shot 54. I thought my round was solid, not for my normal play, but considering how out of practice I really was.
The second round was almost entirely different pin placements, so I was still very handicapped. And to cut the story short, as there was nothing spectacular, the second round was much worse, more like how I would have expected to play. My drives were erratic at best, my ups were average (read still not good), and my putting abandoned me altogether. I only made one or two putts, and missed at least six from inside the circle, including a three-putt from 15′ (there was, admittedly, a really awkward branch and roll-away involved). I carded a 58, which doesn’t sound too bad, but it was. The only disc that treated me well was a buzzz at full speed (my buzzes as upshots were crap), parking another big downhill bomb in the same fashion I almost aced.
I ended up DFL by 4 strokes, and not winning by 13.
I will definitely need to adapt my game to California golf. It’s big and open with elevation. That is NOT my strong suit. Give me a 550′ hole with a 15′ fairway, and I’m a happy camper. I was NOT able to read distances at all, and my putter wasn’t able to save me as it has been doing lately. But that course was one of the most BEAUTIFUL courses I’ve ever played. I took a few pictures but for some reason they didn’t save on my phone. I finally have my real camera back, so next tourney will see some pics.
Until next time…