Saturday, May 18, 2013

Disc Golf Days #1: The Crack at Juel

Dedicating posts to certain days out on the course is something I've wanted to try here for awhile, but I didn't want to bore people with Intermediate-level, throw-by-throw analysis crap. I didn't want to use the space to review courses either, because that has the potential to be its own interesting topic.

It wasn't until I heard a loud CRACK over my head that I realized what these posts should be about.

Disc Golf Days will focus on the strange and interesting things that happen while I'm out throwing plastic.

Working nights has its benefits. I'm able to sleep in for as long as my child will allow and I'm able to dedicate most of my day to fun activities like visiting parks, playing guitar, cooking food and of course throwing frisbees.

Once in a while I will leave for work early enough to allow some practice time out on the disc golf course at Juel Park in Redmond, WA. On Monday, May 13 I decided to throw because Mother Nature was whipping up something fierce. I love practicing in strong winds since I don't often get the chance to.

On the way to the park I was listening to the news on the radio. Apparently thunder was booming over Seattle and lighting strikes were putting on a show, but all I saw were large patches of dark clouds peppering the sunny blue sky.

A gentle breeze swept through the wide open park as I arrived. I was the only golfer there. As I stood on the tee pad of one and stretched I noticed the gentle breeze slowly transitioning, giving way to a more angry gust.

The sky darkened. I knew it was time to throw when my towel leaped from my bag.

Wind practice had begun.

On tee three I drove two discs. This hole would be a straight 300' shot if it wasn't for the trees lining the right side of the fairway at about 250'. Some of the looming branches reach out like giant hands blocking the straight path to the basket.

I usually try to hyzer flip something and have it fade to the right just beyond the green mess. My first shot was with a Discraft Stalker. It flipped up and headed in the direction I wanted. I thought I was going to card my first ace in Washington, but it dropped short and parked next to the pole.

My second shot was with a Lat. 64 Bolt that I've been wanting to try out. It's another under-stable disc and I figured I'd give it a rip before I moved on. That thing came out fast and flipped immediately. Instead of flipping over and going around the branches it headed straight for them. I watched it fight through and then ricochet off the thick trunk of a tree.

I tapped in my putt from the first throw and began the search for the Bolt. Deep in this wooded area grows a massive amount of greenery. Losing a disc in here is easy, especially when you lose sight of it in flight.

I was lifting the arms of a bright green fern when I heard a loud crack over my head. I dashed out of the woods hearing branches collapse under the weight of a heavy trunk. I thought for sure a mammoth tree was coming down on top of me.

When I hit the open field running I looked back to see if I could see the tree falling. I couldn't spot it.

So I stopped and searched the long line of trees. Only the tree tops where swaying in the wind. Everything seemed somewhat peaceful again. I have no idea where that tree fell, but I was glad it wasn't near me.

My heart slowed to a regular pace and I went back into the woods to find my disc. I was on the brink of giving up when I spotted it. As I bent down to grab it a loud explosion-type sound reverberated through the woods. I freaked out and ran for the open field again. This sound didn't come from the trees though. Something off in the distance blew up. I scanned the skyline for smoke. I couldn't see anything.

A few minutes went by and then I heard the faint wails of sirens from emergency vehicles. I decided I had enough wind practice and headed for the car. Things were getting too weird.

I searched the news later that evening in the hopes of finding an explanation to the sound I heard. I failed to find anything.

I guess it will remain a mystery.

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