Course Maintenance with Consequences

Course maintenance can be many things: mowing, pruning, sweeping tee pads, re-hanging signs, etc. When you begin work that will change the signature hole of your course, you need to approach the issues with respect.

Railroad ties installed, ready for mulch!

Railroad ties installed, ready for mulch!

The issue is that the area around the #3 basket is eroding. The basket is on a steep slope that has gotten steeper over time as material has left the upper slope. In addition to the erosion issues, soil compaction has made the slope have to characteristics: 1) any disc that hits the slope has a strong tendency to roll for ridiculously long, downhill distances, & 2) when wet, footing on the compacted clay is extremely poor/ dangerous.

The fix is wood chip mulch. It will provide some traction, alleviate soil compaction, and help slow water flow, which helps fight erosion. The problem is getting the mulch to stay on the slope. The solution was to put two lines of railroad ties into the slope to provide a barrier to wood chip movement. The goal was to create barriers that will help hold the slope, provide a safe surface for play, and still keep the death putt for which hole #3 is famous.

Time will tell if we hit the mark. Because the hole was eroding/ degrading rapidly, It was unlikely to retain its current character. The slight change in slope and big change in footing  from the wood chips and ties will make this hole easier. It is hoped that the basic character of the hole is maintained and a par remains difficult to obtain

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 ongoing battle for tee pad supremacy

Regis looks like he is laying down and will not disrupt my throw, but by the time I was in my x-step, Regis was on a corner of the tee pad!

Regis looks like he is laying down and will not disrupt my throw, but by the time I was in my x-step, Regis was on a corner of the tee pad!

Regis, the dog, really likes to tag along when I play disc golf. I only take him when I expect to have the course to be relatively uncrowded and there will be cooler temperatures. Including Regis on a round of disc golf means I will be playing with a certain mellow mindset – Regis likes to get in front of me just as I release my disc and this will destroy my composure and often booger up my release. This game of Regis’s is played to the extreme on the tee pads: Regis thinks tee pads are a nice place for dogs and I think they are for throwing discs from – these two uses are not compatible. Sometimes I will gently move Regis from the tee pad three or four times before I can throw, often he will come back on the tee pad during the throw: he just doesn’t get it. I have gently and consistently removed Regis from a tee pad 100’s of times and have never encouraged or even tolerated him on a tee pad, but this behavior persists. I think he enjoys it.

As a responsible pet owner, I keep Regis on a leash. Not everyone enjoys your dog running up to them and a leash is the polite way to ensure you do not disturb others.

Meat-eating Butterfly at Harrison Road Disc Golf Course

2014-06-22 15.10.20Sunday, 22 June 2014, I saw an adult harvester butterfly near the #6 basket while playing a steamy afternoon round of disc golf. This butterfly does the egg, caterpillar, pupa, adult life cycle, but with a twist: instead of plants the caterpillar eats living flesh!

I escaped this encounter with my life because: 1) the adults do not have chewing mouthparts and therefore can’t eat meat (unless it is liquid), 2) I am not a woolly aphid – the prey of the caterpillar, and 3) I am about the size of a small planet when compared to this butterfly. Still, you can never be too careful. The photo above was taken at a safe distance. This sighting also provided county occurrence documentation for the Butterflies and Moths of North America project, which would also benefit from receiving the butterfly photos you take while playing disc golf or other activities.

Another cool thing about this butterfly is by eating woolly aphids it is protecting a plant, the downside is the most likely plant hosting woolly aphids at the Harrison Road course is Smilax, or as it is better known: that evil thorny vine that makes throwing from the low woods so miserable. This butterfly may be the protector of our Smilax, or more likely, just a cool bit a biodiversity making our Harrison Road course just a little more special.

the 2014 Summer Nights Glow Series – be there!

2014 Summer NightsAs mentioned previously, I like to throw at night – a lot! Luckily the City of Martin doesn’t mind having people use the Harrison Road Disc Golf Course at night. It never hurts to communicate: the City knows we are out there, had a winter glow league, and disc golf is played regularly at night. (Side note: when playing out of town on College campus disc golf courses it is ALWAYS a good idea to check in with campus security BEFORE embarking on your nocturnal disc golf outing.) Toward making glow disc golf even bigger, I am putting on a glow tournament series on behalf of the Martin Disc Golf Club. The better way of saying it is I take on all the risk, the club gets the profit.

I believe that the Tournament Director plays a big role in making a tournament fun, so it is awesome mantle of responsibility. That said I plan on having fun with the events…