A new course in NW Tennessee: Union City

We have received permission to install a (long term/temporary) disc golf course at Graham Park in Union City, TN. This did not come easy. Many people have contacted the city about installing a course in the past few years, and this fact definitely worked in our favor in this go round. Also the fact that we (Jim Yates, Johnny Razo, and I) set up and took down the course we are proposing every week for the entire Summer for an impromptu disc golf league. Because we kept at it and were not going away, we scored. I think that also we are installing a course at no cost to the city, so they are a little more willing.

We designed the course by throwing. Safety was our number 1 concern. We also tried to keep the holes at beginner friendly distances, but with interesting, more advanced lines. We are not making our dream course, we are making a safe and fun course.

We are making tone poles. WIll Trimble is the mad scientist behind our tone poles and they are awesome! Our cost is less than $15/ target. We will have natural tee pads with laminated signage. We will install the front nine for ~$100! Being long-term/ temporary there will be no concrete, poles will be set directly into the ground. Our install day is Thursday for the front 8. I will keep you updated.

Graham Park-Front8map

 

The coolest disc golf event…

I recently visited the good folks at Gateway Disc Sports up in St. Louis to obtain discs for

This is the crew!

This is the crew for the 2014 Harrison Road Red Tee Challenge!!!

the 2014 summer Nights Glow Series. While in their shop we started talking about disc golf for kids and long story short, I left with a ton of sweet lightweight plastic. On 28 June 2014 we put on our first Young Men’s Red Tee Invitational. The kids were jazzed! Dads and Moms were not allowed to throw but allowed to caddy for the 18 holes.

The kids were surprised at the distances they were throwing their

The Gateway Magic putters were the bomb!

The Gateway Magic putters were the bomb!

drivers – it is amazing what appropriate weight discs can mean to a thrower. They were all using Gateway magic putters and the gallery was enjoying their excellent results.

I did not have a kid in this tournament, but I knew all the kids in the event through the Martin DIsc Golf Club. The invitational format was chosen to allow us to limit variability in our first foray into

Even though the competition was fierce, the competitors all got along and the parents backed off and let them get along!

Even though the competition was fierce, the competitors all got along and the parents backed off and let them get along!

children’s disc golf. After the event, I can’t think of a thing I would change – everything went super smooth.

We will put on a bigger event next year. Our keys to success were:1) at least one adult on course with each child to help find discs, carry water, etc,. 2) one round of 18 holes (MAX) – it is better to have the kids wanting more instead of burnt out, 3) keep score and track winners but put the $$’s into player packs, 4) keep it positive and fun!

Yet another awesome drive is ripped down the fairway!

Yet another awesome drive is ripped down the fairway!

Our success was confirmed when one of our golfers got home and told his Mom: “I just played the best round of disc golf in my life! It wasn’t my best score,  but it was the most fun!”

The first ace of 2014

13 May 2014, Milan Disc Golf Course, Milan, Tennessee

13 May 2014, Milan Disc Golf Course, Milan, Tennessee

If you throw discs often enough, this sort of thing happens – even to me. It doesn’t happen often enough that I can be cool about it, make some NFL-style victory dance, and same something profound like: “in chaos, there is order”. No, I had an involuntary spasm of joy and said something that reflected my intellect: “WHOOO!”

My last ace was at the 2013

That is my Vibram Trak. Ace!

That is my Vibram Trak. Ace!

Mayfield Ace Race: a very appropriate place. The next one????

Please share your ace stories – they make everyone’s day brighter!

On becoming them…

In my recent post on the Woodchip Fairy, I briefly discuss that most people believe that: “they should do something about that”. However, “they” always refers to other, unknown people. At some point, a line is crossed and the statement becomes: “I should do something about that”. Eventually, the desire to “have something done about that” becomes a strong enough force that the person in question overcomes inertia and begins to do something. It is at this point that this person has become part of “they”.

The advantage goes to the people who are able to avoid becoming part of “they”. Becoming “they” means hard work. You may get hurt. You will make mistakes. Your investments of time, energy, and other resources may have minimal return. You will see your efforts criticized by people who think: “they should do something about that”. And, of course, at some point senseless vandalism of your activities will occur.

The reward for becoming part of “they” is that maybe, at some point in the future, somebody you don’t even know will be able to do or enjoy a thing or event because of your efforts and sacrifice. Such is the nature of civilization.

The first project: a safe walkway to travel from the #1 tee pad to the fairway.

The first project: a safe walkway to travel from the #1 tee pad to the fairway.

Treehugger – not!

Dude take a chill pill...

Dude take a chill pill…

The Martin Disc Golf Club has been doing a lot of course renovations lately. Somebody took it upon themselves to clear a new lane to the #6 basket by killing two large maple saplings. I understand how frustrating the Harrison Road Disc Golf Course can be, but retaliatory violence directed against the vegetation is unacceptable. It isn’t the the sapling’s fault you can’t make a decent approach shot.

Oh the tree-manity! Seriously, the trees are your friends: embrace them!

Oh the tree-manity! Seriously, the trees are your friends: embrace them!

Back to the sandlot

Throwing a forehand shot is something I avoid: I just don’t like to waste a stroke. I had some down time between appointments, so I went out to a park to practice throwing forehand shots. The only dry ground was covered in baseball fields, and as I approached the diamonds there was a sign saying that unauthorized use was trespassing, so I called the parks department and became an authorized user. Easy breezy.

As I stepped up to the plate, I decided to aim for a sign on the center-field fence that said: “185”. Imagine my surprise that I actually hit the sign a few times… I also found that my current forehand throwing style is best suited to lightweight, slightly understable fairway drivers at the “185” distance. After ~120 shots I felt I knew some things about my forehand game that I didn’t know before.

2014-03-26 09.48.20A couple weeks later I was in the woods on #17 at Harrison Road and there was no good RHBH shot. I grabbed a 126 gram Lightning #2 Helix and sent a forehand shot up the fairway that erased the bad lie of my drive and put me back in the hunt for par. I need to practice forehand more, but time has been limited and I would rather play than practice, even though practice has the potential to make a huge difference in how I play.

I won’t say the sandlot turned my weakness into power, but I do feel more confidence in my forehand shots now and confidence means I will use the shot more. Practice may not make perfect, but it does offer an opportunity to focus. In a short time, I threw a several month supply of forehand shots – how cool is that?

In the shadow of SPAM

On the first Saturday of February 2014, after a visit to the SPAM museum, I went to play

One of six foursomes playing in the tournament

One of six foursomes playing in the tournament

the Driesner Park Disc Golf Course in Austin, MN, and there was a tournament going on! It was cool to finally see some other disc golfers, and it was easy to see how the course went by the tracks in the snow. A problem is all the tracks in the snow broke the crust and made it especially hard to find discs. I went up to the foursome nearest to 2014-02-01 14.18.03-1where I parked and inquired if my play would interfere with tournament and help look for lost discs – two of the foursome could not find their drives and one of the foursome had already lost three discs during the tournament! As I came upon other foursomes, it was the same story: they were looking for a driver. My solution was throwing midranges and putters on a flat trajectory. The course is pretty short so that worked pretty well.  I had to look for (and found) one shot, which isn’t bad. One of the cool things is many of the disc golfers were pulling sleds. The sleds had disc bags, coolers (to keep beverages from freezing), snow shovels, and tools for chopping ice – they were a really cool way to pack your golf tools.

A shoveled tee pad is a beautiful thing!

A shoveled tee pad is a beautiful thing!

Because these people carried these tools, I got to throw off of shoveled tee pads for the first time in Minnesota and it was MARVELOUS!! Also because there was a tournament going on there were four additional baskets to play.

This was a really SPAM-o-riffic course and well worth playing. Without the tournament it would have been much more difficult to have played this course as I think signage is non-existant (or under snow). The local golfers said that the prairie grass rough on many courses in the area is even more difficult to find discs in than snow. Hopefully, I will get to play Minnesota courses without snow, but somehow I feel it was somehow more special playing in very cold and snowy weather. One thing I noticed was even though the disc golfers were losing discs, they were having the sort of fun that occurs when adult people pick up brightly colored plastic discs and try to toss them into a basket. What a great game!