El Dorado DGC in Long Beach, Ca. became my sanctuary when I started throwing discs again after a 12-year break. My home course in 1996 was Huntington Beach, but I played Eldo once.
I recall hating it. Too many trees.
That feeling was still there in 2008 when I picked up my old discs and started throwing again, but the stale hatred quickly evolved into a love for the course and an obsession for the game.
My first recorded round at Eldo was a +14.
I quickly developed a major desire to beat up on this course, so I started to practice by myself. After a couple of years I recorded my best round of -9.
One of the greatest attributes of Eldo is that solo rounds don't last long. I met a solid group of people and we began meeting regularly in the mornings to play.
In August of 2011 my wife and I moved to Washington with our three-month-old daughter. Still playing regularly, I immediately started exploring the disc golf scene up here.
I've fallen in love with a lot this state has to offer, but whenever the time comes to travel back down to California I get crazy excited. Part of that excitement comes from the fact that I will be walking out on to that El Dorado course and throwing with my old friends.
That chance came again recently. We shot through the sky on JetBlue and landed in Long Beach on Wednesday, Oct. 15. We left 50 something degree temperatures and landed in an assault of sun beams and mellow, hot air.
I couldn't see shit. My eye lids collapsed on to my melting cheeks. I lost all elasticity in my skin and slowly melted in to a large brown puddle.
Then my brother-in-law pulled up along side the curb and yanked me back to reality.
Early Thursday morning I waited in my usual spot for my friend Bill to pick me up. I usually send him a text informing him that I'm under the golden dolphin drinking coffee.
To the early morning risers driving past I'm just a random stranger stretching with a bag full of Frisbees close by. To Bill, I'm just the northerner ready to throw.
We arrived at Eldo around 8am and our friend Dennis was already in full golf mode. He was putting and driving getting ready for the showdown with the northerner. We said our hellos and talked about the news in our lives.
Then the moment I'd been waiting for arrived. It was time to tee off. I couldn't wait to show these gentlemen my progress from many hours of practice in the north west.
I believe I was first on the tee. I lined up the shot and...
I hit one of the closest trees to the tee pad. Everyone had a good laugh and we moved on through the course and had a fun, peaceful round. Although I didn't play as well as I wanted I was happy to be back and couldn't wait for each one of the days we gathered while I was in town.