Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

Sometime early in December my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I said, "Just your love, dear."


She stared at me with a patient look – the one she only gives when she thinks I'm randomly feeding her a mouthful of bull.

Then I rattled off a few items and ended with a new disc golf bag.

My old one is a big PDGA bag with broken zippers and I was extremely interested in trying a backpack style bag.

She started asking questions about models and colors and such, so I showed her a bunch of pictures.

Later in the month she warned me that packages were arriving from UPS and I was asked not to look at any of the shipping labels.

I promised.

When the day came I opened the door and bent down trying hard not to look at the shipping label on the large box at my feet, but as I diverted my eyes they landed on this...


I knew what it was immediately. Man, I was stoked.

She was so pissed when she saw that double D sticker. She knew I knew.

I was offered the chance to open the box early, but I told her I wanted to wait. Now I can't wait to carry it out in the woods.

I bet it will make me throw farther.

Thank you, sweet love honey pie!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Disc Golf Days #2: Spirit Animal

I sarcastically asked this black Lab if he was a spirit animal. He didn't reply. 

I politely asked this black Lab to move so we could drive on hole two. He lazily strolled to the side and sat. After we threw he rushed ahead and hung out near the basket.

Something weird was happening here.

When I play a new course I wonder if I'll get through it all since some courses are a little difficult to navigate without help. When we arrived at Lower Columbia DGC in Astoria, OR, a day after our adventure at Lucky Mud, we were pleased to meet a guy named Joey. He briefed us on the short nine-hole layout and asked if he could join up.

I said yes, but explained we would probably be extremely slow since we had a two-year-old in tow. He understood and played on without us.

We stood and took in what we could see near the billboard just beyond the gravel parking lot. In the distance Joey was putting out on hole one and moving on.

We all took turns hurling hope out over an open field. I love the feeling of playing a new course, especially when I bird the first hole.

The black Lab appeared out of nowhere while we were walking over to tee pad number two. After we putted out he dashed off up a hill. I was wondering about two things. Where was tee three located and where is this dog's owner? Then I decided to follow the pooch.

There he was – waiting near the next tee pad. I started petting him at this point. After driving up a hill and around a line of huge trees he bolted for the basket. At this moment Joey was walking past us on his way to tee seven. I asked him about the dog. He didn't know where the dog's home was, but said it's not unusual to play a full round with him. He's always there.

Sometime between holes four and five pooch found a huge branch and carried it over to me. As I went to grab it he pulled away. It was play time.

He continued to follow us as we moved through the course. In between throws I played tug-of-war with him – only succeeding at pulling the branch from his jaws once. This doggy was strong.

After putting out on nine he stood by our car and everyone petted him and said goodbye. I said thanks for showing us around and told him I hoped to see him again.

So if you ever play this course and have an opportunity to spend time with this cool dog do me a favor... give him a pat on the head for me.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A brand new year. Part two.

Lucky Mud DGC is the beautiful creation of Adam Fletcher and Lowell Shields. There's a great post about the birth of the course here on NWDiscgolfnews. Apparently it's the first course in southwest Washington. I loved walking this property even though mother nature tried to scare us off with her gusty wind and ominous thunder. I just wish I could have played the entire course. I'll get to that later.

After teeing off of one I decided that staying a weekend at the inn is a must sometime in the near future – probably after winter though. I hope it's still around. On our way out the owner revealed that her and her husband were splitting up, so I'm unsure what path this property will be directed down.

Hopefully nothing but positive changes will take place – positive changes like they'll work things out. If you go to the Web site here you'll see old photos of Jessica and Sunrise. It's sad to think the happy looking musical couple in the photos have gone through something terrible enough to end so many years together.

Like I mentioned before we were not able to play the full spread. Playing an entire round with my two-year-old daughter can be quite difficult if she's not fully on board with the idea, but the layout was fun enough that an urge to return was planted in my mind.

The property is beautiful and the fairways are extremely fun. In the short amount of time I was there I experienced elevation changes, tight lines, wide open runs, water hazards and unexpected obstacles like rusty jugs and deteriorating chairs.

Junk piles on a disc golf course are not something I'm used to seeing. If someone were to tell me there was a bunch of trash on a course I would initially think negatively about it and consider not playing it, or making a push to help clean it up.

This is not one of those situations. The fairways are clean. The random items scattered among the bushes seem neatly placed and adds an eccentricity element to the course. I enjoyed scanning the shadows to see what other old, rusty items I could find. 

There were some old disc golf related items too. I found old homemade baskets, mini baskets and a large tone pole.

My favorite hole that day was six. The view from the tee is framed with branches and the fairway rolls down a hill, over a creek and left around a line of trees with the basket tucked in behind them and standing in the center of a wide open swath of vibrant green grass.

I can't wait to play this hole again.

It was about this time, while we were playing six, that my daughter started to give up on life. She mentioned something about donating her legs to science and leaving her to sit in a field for the rest of her life. We offered for her to sit back in her stroller, which she did for a bit, but then she decided she wanted to try walking again.

We were on hole eight when things were just not fun anymore. She was crawling in the wet grass like she was dehydrated and slowly making her way across a dry, desolate desert. 

So I saved her and we left.

I also played Lower Columbia DGC is Astoria, OR that weekend. My experience there will be in the next post. 

Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A brand new year. Part one.

I was born sometime in the afternoon on Nov. 3, 1976 in Oklahoma. Ed Headrick established DGA that year. "Silly Love Songs" by Wings held top spot on the Billboard chart and President Jimmy Carter had just squeaked out a win against incumbent President Gerald Ford. Sometime in the afternoon on Nov. 3, 2013 I drove a blue Buzzz off of tee one at Lucky Mud DGC in Skamokawa, WA. Something silly is probably topping the Billboard chart and President Obama is freaking people out with healthcare change.

Long Beach, WA. was my choice when my wife asked where I wanted to go for my birthday. We both lived in Long Beach, CA. for a long time and I thought it would be fun to check out the other LBC. Just like every other trip we take I look up where the disc golf courses are in the area.

On this trip there were two: Lucky Mud and Lower Columbia DGC in Astoria, OR.

Rain slapped the ground with the anger of an adolescent bully during our drive down toward the Columbia River. I was worried our day out on the course would come to an end before we even started, but as we pulled off the highway and up the small country road toward Lucky Mud the only worry on my mind was the possibility of getting lost.

Then we all saw this:

The stormy sky was on break. The winds were gaining strength and the road was sketchy, but nothing seemed to matter after I saw the damn swastika. Now I was wondering where the delusional bald dudes were hiding and were they going to greet us somewhere deep in the woods.

Lucky Mud is actually a bed and breakfast sitting on a bunch of acres, so I was optimistic that we would be safe since the hateful symbol was spray painted on a neighboring property.  My mind was put at ease with the gentle smile of the Inn's owner. Jessica welcomed us to her property and gave us a brief run down of the course.

The wind whipped up something special for us all as she was finishing. Jessica pointed in the direction of tee one and playfully said, "Good luck."

We looked at the sky, then we looked at each other. It was time to play.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Changes Made to Northwest University DGC

The small nine-hole course at Northwest University in Kirkland, WA had its layout modified recently.

Major changes came to holes eight and nine and minor changes were made to holes one, two, five and seven.

The original placements of eight and nine apparently caused some issues for faculty and students. The tee pad of eight was in close proximity of a building and both eight and nine's fairway were situated too close to parking lots.

I'm a little bummed out about the changes only because the original hole eight as I knew it was designated a par four – a short par four, which means I could, with a great drive, have a chance at an eagle. I never pulled it off though.

So here's the run down. Hole one plays pretty much the same, but the basket has been moved further to the right away from the volleyball court.

The basket used to stand closer to the tree on the left in the picture above. You can see the small divot left in the grass where the position was.

Tee two's pad has moved to the right a bit.

The sign tells you so.

The new tee position is kind of a fun position to throw from. I like trying to anhyzer shots around trees and this hole is perfect for that now.

Hole three was left untouched.

Even though this course isn't very difficult I love coming here with my wife and daughter because it's never crowded and I feel safe letting my daughter roam around and explore each fairway as we play them. That's her in the pink in the photo above.

Hole four remained the same as well.

Hole five has been reversed. Now the basket is right next to the old tee pad and the new tee pad is off of a sidewalk behind the old basket position. 

It had started raining on us at this point. I discovered that the sidewalk becomes extremely slippery. We chose to tee off from the grass.

Unfortunately hole six is the same. I say that because I've never felt comfortable using the tee area. The dirt is extremely uneven and the sign feels like it's in the way.

Tee seven was moved back just a little bit. The adjustment didn't change the hole too much. It's still a messed up tunnel shot straight into the ground. Each time I've played this course I've been wanting to throw a roller out through the gap, but I never remember to bag my roller though.

This time I remembered.

The decision panned out. I ended up pin high.

But I missed the putt.

Hole eight now plays behind seven. You can see the tee sign up near the sidewalk in the picture above.

The basket is tucked in the trees up and to the right.

Tee nine is another uncomfortable shot. I felt crowded and there's a small gap in the trees to hit. I got the bird though, so I can't complain too much.

So there you have it. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 24, 2013

PDGA Rating Update

PDGA ratings. Some people like them, some people don't.

I don't mind them, because I believe they add another challenge to the sport. Ratings can add healthy pressure to a sanctioned event – motivating players to make solid decisions and to throw well. Although they may not accurately reflect a person's skill they are fun to try and raise.

The Treejectory Am Classic bumped my rating up a whole three points. You can't see it, but I'm raising my roof right now... or is it raising the roof? Anyways, my hands are in the air and I'm waving them like I just don't care. I think the lady looking at me from outside my dining room window does though.

Well, if she knew that I'm now an 889 rated player she would understand. 

So... this means absolutely nothing to you, but means I'm slowly moving back up toward the 900 mark to me.

Back in 2010 I started my membership with a 901 rating, but haven't been able to move beyond that yet.

I've been dropping and climbing in small increments like I'm stuck riding a kid's roller coaster. Good thing I have beer.

That tournament at Seatac DGC really punished me by dropping my rating 15 points. Now I'm slowly making the climb. Hopefully I can continue this trend for a while.