Saturday, April 3, 2010

DISC Golf! DISC! Redux

So, you know, a week goes by and things happen. For those of you who are newsily/BFFC inclined:
  1. I didn't have any major training breakthroughs. Or even minor ones.
  2. I stayed moderately active (some walks, some swims)
  3. My back was sore most of the time. Suck.
  4. I have had a headache for 30 hours now. Double sucky suck nasty.
OK. So back to the disc golf. It's already sort of fading from my mind and into the murk of my unreliable memory. But a few things really stood out for me about caddying during a professional disc golf tournament. First off, those women were pretty darn good, but not so incredibly accomplished that I couldn't see myself learning to do what they do. This is a novelty for me when watching professional sportspeople. Carrie "Burl" Berlogar, with some incredibly high world ranking, won the tournament with a score of 2 under par. Par is pretty much 3 for most holes, unless they're monstrously long. Everything at Shady Oaks is a par 3. Burl rarely missed a putt, drove with power and accuracy, and made her up shots when she needed them, at least the first round on Saturday, when she and Indigo played in a fivesome together (crowded tournament). No other woman in the tournament cracked par, even the world champ. The middle of the road crowd made some great shots, and some that were average, and a pretty fair number of "D'oh!"s. I could sort of see myself learning to do this well enough to play with them.

Another fun thing about the sport is the funny positions that people get themselves into. You have to place your forward foot behind your disc (or the marker), and then you need to put your other foot somewhere where you can throw from. If you are in the trees or bushes or the side of a creek, this kind of looks like outdoor Twister. Besides the footwork, there are some shots that cracked me up, like the "straddle putt," which looks like Big Bird working hard to pass gas, and the "loft putt," which looks like a parody of ballet in light hiking boots. See pic below, which doesn't even capture the hilarious squatting and bobbing motions which precede the straddle putt.

What I really liked, though, was on the last day of the tournament, when Indigo played in the second or third foursome. Some of the women in this group still had a chance at the last places in the money, though that money was paltry, to say the least. But they were cheering each other's shots with real enthusiasm, high fiving the successes and bemoaning the tree shots of everyone in the group with a spirit I found totally engaging. Maybe it's because of the game's roots in stoner/college culture, maybe it's just that even pro disc golf is pretty much on the fringes of American sports and attracts a different kind of competitor. It made me happy though.

A week later, I went walking with my friends down at Discovery Park, and Russ and I took my two new discs along and practiced tossing them around. Russ has played a lot of Ultimate and golf; he has a variety of tricky shots. I sort of got the hang of the driver and learned to shoot it straighter and with a little more predictability. I've looked up some more local courses online, though Shady Oaks seems like the best one within a half-hour of here. Watch this space for more...

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