Wildflower Mecca

At the Harrison Road Disc Golf Course people often complain about the tall ‘rough’ 2014-04-17 14.38.43adjacent to the fairways. I agree that 5-10 minutes spent looking for a disc that is 10′ from the mowed fairway area can seem pointless, but it could be worse. Last week I had the pleasure of playing the Earl G. Williamson Park Disc Golf Course in beautiful Oil City, LA. The Earl G. Williamson Park Disc Golf course takes the ‘tall rough’ a step further: the entire course is in a ‘wildflower area’ where it appears they don’t mow at all. There are some awesome wildflowers on the course, when I was there the Sisyrinchium was in bloom everywhere.

The difficulty started on my first drive: an anhyser shot to avoid an OB fence that landed within 20 feet of the basket and took 10 minutes to find in knee deep grass. Holes # 2 & 3 had even taller grass and also had disc finding problems. Even the more technical holes in the open woods (holes # 3-6) had tall grasses and required a little bit of disc searching. I didn’t lose any discs and I did have fun – it was somewhat surreal playing disc golf in a sea of waist deep grass.

This course works because there are no blind shots, so you can watch your disc pretty well. It was different to throw where discs could not skip or roll. I was also surprised at the lack of ticks, likely due to the abundance of fire ants.

Redbone Road Disc Golf Course

On the advice of James and Colin, Kelly and I played the Redbone Road disc golf course in Vicksburg, MS. This is a private course at someone’s house. It is very fun and very cool. The property has interesting elevation changes and the owner’s love of the game really shines. This is an awesome course. If you play disc golf for fun, you should play this course. It is very short, but challenging. If you play disc golf for reasons other than fun, you should probably get a life.

The course is a work in progress. The owner said he is updating to Innova baskets and that he has changed tee pads to accommodate his neighbor’s desires to not have discs hitting their houses.  The tee pads are natural, but are all very well done and grippy. You really do need to see what one person can do if they really want to.

Red bones decorate the welcome center of the Redbone Road DGC. The owner expects you to sign in, and it is interesting to see how many people from all over have played this course.

Red bones decorate the welcome center of the Redbone Road DGC. The owner expects you to sign in, and it is interesting to see how many people from all over have played this course.

Thanks for the tip James and Colin!

Thanks for the tip James and Colin!

Home made basket on hole #3. This basket type is on hole #1 and #9 also - catches fine!

Home made basket on hole #3. This basket type is on hole #1 and #9 also – catches fine!

The tee markers are simple, but effective. Don't let the short length fool you - this is a wicked dog leg to the right with the basket surrounded by ravines. I shot a bogey. 17 Feb 2014 Kelly Tindall photo

The tee markers are simple, but effective. Don’t let the short length fool you – this is a wicked dog leg to the right with the basket surrounded by ravines. I shot a bogey. The shorter blue tee is visible ahead. 17 Feb 2014 Kelly Tindall photo

The #7 basket is made of copper tubing - first time I have ever seen that! 17 Feb 2014 Kelly Tindall photo

The #7 basket is made of copper tubing – first time I have ever seen that! On this hole I bounced my drive off of a tree into the pond, but was able to get it with a stick. 17 Feb 2014 Kelly Tindall photo

The aquatic putters of the Lazarre High Water Disc Golf Course

The Ouachita River was high, so we (Kelly, James, Colin, and I) chose to play the Lazarre High Water course in West Monroe, Louisiana. The low water course is nice, but I really enjoy the high water course better anayway. Colin putted at the #3 basket and hit it, only to have his putter fall to the ground and roll into the dark waters of the Ouachita River. We were able to maneuver Colin’s disc near to the bank with a stick and I was able to grab it with my toes and make the retrieve! Later on, Colin returned the favor by finding the putter I threw into the river on my drive from the #8 tee box!

It grabs the putter between its toes. 16 Feb 2014 Kelly Tindall photo

It grabs the putter between its toes. 16 Feb 2014 Kelly Tindall photo

Making a run at the basket from the river after getting Colin's putter. 16 Feb 2014 Kelly Tindall photo

Making a run at the basket from the river after getting Colin’s putter. 16 Feb 2014 Kelly Tindall photo

TWO PUTTERS WENT SWIMMING AND BOTH CAME HOME!

Arnold City Park, Arnold, MO

While traveling through Arnold, Missouri, I got to stop and play their city park disc golf course. It was a fun little nine-hole course located in the river bottoms. This course is very flat, the big trees are what made it the course interesting. I liked the bright orange DGA baskets.

This is the first tee. The sign is simple: the point, points toward the basket. No concrete involved in these tees, but they seemed functional. Note the nail to hang your bag on.

This is the first tee. The sign is simple: the point, points toward the basket. No concrete involved in these tees, but they seemed functional. Note the nail to hang your bag on.

The #1 basket is elevated.

The #1 basket is elevated.

Drive on #7.

Drive on #7.

Putting into #7. Kelly Tindall photo.

Putting into #7. Kelly Tindall photo.

Driving from the #8 tee box. Kelly Tindall photo.

Driving from the #8 tee box. Kelly Tindall photo.

Putting into the #8 basket.

Putting into the #8 basket. Kelly Tindall photo.

#9 Tee sign, distance is given, note the signing of the tee sign by people who have aced the hole - I did not sign any tee signs...

#9 Tee sign, distance is given, note the signing of the tee sign by people who have aced the hole – I did not sign any tee signs…

Franklin Park Disc Golf Course, Ottumwa, Iowa

I may have saved the best for last in Iowa. In Ottumwa it was a balmy 7 degrees Fahrenheit when I stepped onto the course and the wind was pretty calm. It didn’t feel life threateningly cold to be out playing disc golf. The Franklin Park Disc Golf Course is only 6 holes, but given how epic the past couple of Iowa rounds have been, 6 holes seemed more than enough and represented a nice break from driving. The course doesn’t have tee boxes, so you just tee off near the previous basket. The course is a city park course, but hole number 3 is a very fun, long downhill throw. Hole 3 is simply awesome. Number four is a fun uphill throw and number 6 involved a little accuracy to get the right line.

I played discs with ribbon attached. I can’t wait to take the ribbon off. When you are throwing in snow that is knee deep in places, the ribbons mean you get to keep your discs, so the ribbon stays on a bit longer.

It should have been my last putt, but this one bounced off and I had to make a second (bogey) putt. Franklin Disc Golf Course, Ottumwa, Iowa. 6 Feb 2014. Kelly Tindall Photo

It should have been my last putt, but this one bounced off and I had to make a second (bogey) putt. Franklin Disc Golf Course, Ottumwa, Iowa. 6 Feb 2014. Kelly Tindall Photo

Lennox DGC revisited

Today is the day after a major winter storm here in Des Moines, Iowa where I have been the past few days. With the storm over and 5 inches of fresh, fluffy snow being shaped into drifts by the wind, I was ready to play some disc golf. I prepared 4 discs for this excursion by duct taping a yard of ribbon to the central underside of the disc. I have heard that the ribbon can help you find your discs, but the tape and ribbon are not PDGA legal.

Pink ribbons in place, I am ready to play.

Pink ribbons in place, I am ready to play.

I headed out to the Lennox DGC because it is a fun course and close to where I am staying. It was 6 degrees Fahrenheit with a strong wind when I stepped up to the tee to throw my first drive into the wind with a ribbon outfitted, 174 gram groove, and it was understable (I have never had a groove behave understable)! Regis, the dog, normally could care less about discs, but the sound of the ribbon was very interesting to

There is a bright yellow buzzz under the snow here, but only the pink ribbon is visible.

There is a bright yellow buzzz under the snow here, but only the pink ribbon is visible.

Regis. I think the ribbon, while very festive, had a cost of distance on my throws. However, I was able to find my discs easily because of the ribbon. I think I would use it again.

It is interesting to play in the wind and snow. The drive on # 4 plays along the road and was with the wind. I am always terrified that an errant shot into a busy road will cause a 50-car pile up and several

You can see the blue groove and pink ribbon out on the wind-shaped Iowa tundra...

You can see the blue groove and pink ribbon out on the wind-shaped Iowa snowscape…

deaths and as the emergency response people are extricating the injured from the wreckage I have to ask them exactly where my disc landed so I can play the correct lie… so I threw low and away from the road with an overstable fairway driver only to watch the wind hurl the disc down into the snow. With this in mind I threw my drive on #5 high across the wind TOWARD the road (after waiting for a gap in traffic) planning on the wind to push my drive toward the basket. Son-of-

At least I got this drive right!

At least I got this drive right!

a-gun! I got it right! I sure like it when good shots happen. Playing in the woods at Harrison Road Disc Golf Course, when you have a crazy idea about how to throw you should forget it. At Harrison Road crazy gets you into more trouble – play it safe. Full disclosure requires me to tell you that I still did not get the birdie. The wind pushed my put low and it hit the rim of the basket – ZERO birdies in 18 holes of disc golf here. But I really enjoy this windy, open course, the funky baskets, and the unaesthetic landscaping, Perhaps my favorite hole is #2, it is a downhill drive in small ‘U’ shaped drainage across the prevailing winds. The successful throw is fast and low on the side snow is accumulating and hoping that your disc has enough low speed fade to cross the drainage to the wind blasted side without gaining height- I expect that the wind would take your disc quite a distance if it got the chance. The drive seems simple enough, but I have yet to have a good one here – maybe next time I come I will be able to feel my fingers and it won’t be so windy…

You can't see it in the picture, but there are big differences in the wind pattern depending on which side and how high you are in this drainage.

You can’t see it in the picture, but there are big differences in the wind pattern depending on which side and how high you are in this drainage.

I learned something today

Heritage Park Disc Golf Course is a 21-hole course in Ankeny, IA. It has taken over the park. From many of the tee-pads multiple baskets are visible – the potential for safari golf is very high. The number plates on the DGA Mach III baskets have been used to great advantage, the number plates have one side painted orange and aligned such that the basket that is associated with each tee pad has the orange side visible from the tee pad (and only that tee pad). This arrangement is intuitive and effective, I was never confused through 21 holes of disc golf (at least about which basket I was throwing for).

Even though baskets and tee pads cover much of the park, the park is still open for other uses. When I was there, cross country ski tracks were present and may represent a possible jogging path in summer – being as tee pads, baskets, and the flight paths that connect them cover most of the park, there is potential for conflict. In addition to tee pads and baskets, this course has BBQ’s and picnic tables also scattered throughout the park. This creates the most dreaded user conflict, the old: “excuse me Ma’am may I have my buzzz out from your potato salad” or “could you please have little Jimmy hold still, I need to play from where my driver landed and with it stuck in his forehead, his running around makes my lie uncertain…”. Of course it is also possible on this course, that you could just choose to throw at any of the baskets visible from your tee pad or choose other lines – a flight path of least resistance so to speak.

Perhaps playing through picnic areas isn't a bad thing? Maybe my dislike of course designs that create user conflicts is a symptom of my lack of creativity as a disc golfer? If the obvious line had been taken away by other people enjoying the park, could I throw another line and respect their space? Isn't disc golf all about solving problems we create for ourselves the moment we step out onto the course?

Perhaps playing through picnic areas isn’t a bad thing? Maybe my dislike of course designs that create user conflicts is a symptom of my lack of creativity as a disc golfer? If the obvious line had been taken away by other people enjoying the park, could I throw another line and respect their space? Isn’t disc golf all about solving problems we create for ourselves the moment we step out onto the course?

When I visited Heritage Park, it was very icy. Luckily, the ice was covered with  1- 2″ of snow, so I couldn’t see the ice. Discovering ice several times on every hole adds a certain ‘spicy’ to your game. The baskets were set in the long positions, which seemed an interesting choice for a time of year when you may not have any footwork due to slipping. Regardless of configuration, most baskets had multiple lines to them.

Given multiple lines to multiple baskets, user conflict resolution, and the ever present prairie wind, I think the disc golfers that play at Heritage Park are probably more creative than disc golfers that come from tight, heavily-wooded courses like Harrison Road. I learned something today playing this course, in the coming months I hope to figure out what that something is.