'Twas a Good Day for Disc Golf

Today I finally got out to Bay Court Park's subtly remade disc golf course, what's been closed until some time two weeks ago. At the end of last season the parks and recreations peoples pulled the pins out of the ground. Earlier this month they finally resunk them and, for whatever reason, they moved them all to slightly different locations.

It's nice to see such a familiar course change and become something new. Especially when you shoot the kind of first-out games I did today.

Okay, the scores are less than impressive: +1 on my first round and -1 on my second. But I tell you those are high marks for a day like today. The wind was gusting intensely throughout the whole back half of the course. So much so, more than once I watched my disc parachute in the wind, rolling and bouncing a hundred and fifty feet off target and onto some other hole's fairway.

Despite the wind I was happy with my game and the new course. Hole 2 has been lengthened by about thirty feet, which was nice. It really showed me how much more distance I'm getting out of my drives this year, in comparison with last. Hole 3, though drastically relocated. still sits on the edge of a steep hillside, daring you to throw for the chains, miss, and find yourself forty feet overshot or rolled away.

In fact, during my first round I threw a pretty chip shot right at three's pin. It bounced off the ground at the pole and slid out of site, just over the hill's crest. I thought I had placed within five feet of the pin. But from atop the hill I found no disc. A sweeping gaze revealed my errant disc, some thirty feet rolled away from where I watched it first touch down, lying at the bottom of a ditch. From the bottom of that ditch, slightly perturbed, I made my shot for birdy. I threw at an angled pitch; a diving shot that guaranteed, if I missed, I wouldn't go rolling down the hill again. The disc went up six feet to the right of the chains, held in the air briefly by the gusting winds, and dived straight into the bottom of the basket.

I'll remember that shot for some time. Aside from being the kind of long-distance putt I rarely ever make, I have never felt a disc - mine or anyone's - go in the basket like that. It was so gentle. It grazed the chains, but sounded dainty as a wind chime. And when it touched down it didn't ping or bong when it connected with the basket either. It was as though the disc had given itself over to me, abiding my desire, unresisting. I hadn't so much thrown it at the pins as placed it atop my open palm and blown it where I wanted it to go. I felt this strange touchdown in my arm's bicep when the disc met the basket. And it was odd.

Hole 4 has been lengthened as well. Last year I could never quite drive to the pin. I could get within twenty feet, but I never overshot it and I never got within a comfortable putting distance. This year, thanks some to my 'longer arm' and thanks more to the wind at my back, I crushed a drive all the way to within twelve feet of the goal. On a hole listed as a par 4, no less! Unfortunately I didn't eagle, for the wind - fickle, she is - turned against me, conspiring with my timid short game to concoct an unlikely miss.

The last five holes were throwing into or against the cut of the wind, suddenly making par a worthy goal. It took me three holes and as many bogeys to realize that my heavier, 170 gram Valkyrie disc, which I had figured - for it's weight - all the better to play into the wind, is more or less helpless in the wind. And, in fact, it was my light-weight driver, the 150 gram Valkyrie Star, (I'm a Valkyrie whore - love 'em) that I only tried out of frustration, that somehow managed to pierce the wind without parachuting off course.

On the second go-round I had a better idea of how to shoot into the wind, which probably won me those two extra strokes. The only hole I recall being especially noteworthy was the ninth. Hole 9 has always been an intimidating hole. It plays about 150 feet straight between two lines of trees and it's a tight corridor. That first one-fifty is no more than 15 feet wide the whole way down, and then it empties to the left. I've always had something of a knack for the hole. Last year, more often than not, I managed to consistently thread the needle of hole 9 and skip right up to the basket. But that was last year, and this year they've moved the basket.

The dog-leg left that hole 9 always featured is now a much sharper cut. The trick to nine's corridor used to be throwing a flat, well-aimed shot that broke very gently left at the end. Keeping the disc low - say eight feet off the ground - used to work out well for me. But now that the pin has been brought in, exiting the corridor has become more of a sudden 60 degree cut to the left.

On my first attempt at hole 9 the wind got under my disk, keeping it too flat, and I threaded the corridor, but without any break left at the end. The disc slammed into the tree line and I ended up taking my second shot from the forest's edge. And it cost me. I ended up bogeying the last hole, going positive on my otherwise even round. So on my second go I opted for a 30 degree release, with a lot of power behind it to keep it between the trees until the end. I hit it perfectly; didn't so much as graze a single branch on my way out of the corridor and put myself into a very nice birdie position. Again, the wind foiled my birdie but this time I was able to save par.

Yes, 'twas a good day for disc golf at the Andersonville Rd., Bay Court Park. A good day made even better when, between rounds, I put down a towel on the beach at the lake's edge and sunbathed while reading Kafka's 'Amerika.' 'Twas a good day for disc golf.

'Twas a good day for Roy.


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