Well here is the story most of you have been waiting for. My adventures on the disc golf course.
Quick terminology for those unfamiliar with disc golf (or ball golf) terminology.
Par – the number of throws (shots) it should take to complete a hole, or an entire course. Most holes in disc golf are Par 3.
Ace – Hole in one
Birdie – I throw less than the stated Par for the hole.
Bogey – I throw more than the stated Par for the hole.
Mini – This is a miniature size disc. Usually used as a marker for normal size discs, sometimes they are used for fun events and can be thrown into a mini sized basket.
Saturday started out quite differently than most disc golf Saturdays in the past. Previously, I would wake up and stretch a little bit…then head out the door to throw. Since this week’s events started a bit later, I had plenty of time to properly prepare myself. So along with stretching, I really worked my mind. I spent more time talking to my body, preparing mentally, then I did stretching out. I had to remind my body that it was healthy enough to do this.
So finally the time had come and we headed out to Horning’s Hideout. We got out there about 11:00 and milled around, visiting with friends. Once my partner arrived, and we got checked in, we headed out to the small course to warm up our arms. After 4 short holes we were feeling good and went back to await the beginning of the tournament. Here is a look at the team.
My partner in disc crimes, Melissa
We finally were given our players info and scorecards and shuffled off to our holes. The course, normally 18 holes and a Par 56, was transformed into 21 holes and a Par of 63. For non-golfers, Par is the number of throws it should take for you to finish the round. More than 63 throws is called ‘over par’, while taking less than the required throws is known as ‘under par.’ We began on one of the new holes and had to use a miniature disc and throw at a miniature disc golf basket. We walked away from hole one with a par. I missed my first, and really only, makeable put on the 2nd hole of the day. After that we found our groove.
The great thing about playing with a partner is that each player will throw, and then we get to take the better of the two throws. This came in handy on the 5th hole we played. My partner teed off and landed safely, half way between the tee box and the basket. This was great, because my tee shot got away from me and smashed into a tree just in front of the tee. We walked up to my partner’s disc and readied for the second shot. I grabbed my Roc and eyed the shot. I was still about 130 ft from the basket. I let go of the disc and it began to glide along the exact route I directed it. It began moving slowly in the direction of the basket, before slamming into the chains….and popping out and onto the ground, beside the basket.
You can see my lonely disc resting next to the basket.
Next was one of my most difficult holes, from a physical and mental standpoint. I had spent much of my time leading up to the event, and most of the morning, reminding myself to just take it easy, have fun and let the discs do the work. The last thing I wanted to do was try and power my throws, which would result in more energy. Even though I did not power a single shot, there had already been one hole where I felt a small tug in my arm. I stepped up to the tee after my nearly amazing shot, and let a drive go. I suddenly felt a blinding amount of pain in my throwing arm. I did not say anything out loud and was ready to power through it, hopefully. We were only about a 1/3 of the way into the round, and I was not ready to concede. So I sat for a few moments, just before I fell over. I finished out the hole (we got one of our bogeys (1 over par) on this hole). The arm seemed to cool down quickly, and I was able to move on….gingerly.
The round continued without much hassle. There was a hole we were teeing off on later in the round, when suddenly we hear the explosion of chains behind us. Someone had just hit a hole in one from the previous tee pad. We continued to play decent golf making most of the shots we should make.
Now if anyone has ever watched Portlandia, then you might be familiar with the phrase ‘Put a bird on it”. In this funny show, they poke fun of Portland, OR and state that any arts and crafts project is better if you put a bird on it. This has become a joke in Portland, as you know will often see chicken sandwiches called the Portlandia. So, back to the round. I began telling my partner that we needed to make our scorecard better by putting a birdie on it. Then came hole 19 of 21 on the day. This has always been one of my favorite holes as it works out well for a right handed thrower. From the tee box the basket is unseen, laying about 200 feet up a road and sharply off to the left. I stepped up with my trusty Wraith, and let it fly up the gut of the fairway. Then, just as I had directed it, the disc cleared the tall lumber and started take the familiar left hand turn in the direction of the basket. Quick side note: This particular hole has to different placements for the basket…one shorter that the other by about 50-70 feet. After we all threw, we began our short walk up to the basket. I was pleased to see the basket had been set in the shorter of the two positions, but was even happier to see my beautiful disc laying only 4 feet from the basket. I walked up and was able to just place it into the basket for a birdie.
Our scorecard just got better!
We finished up our last couple of holes and began the tallying of our scores. The other couple that we played a round with shot a 70 (7 over par) which was great since the female on the card had only played a couple of times. After tallying up our scores, we finished up with a 67 (4 over Par). Not too shabby for a couple of golfers who have been limited by injuries and not played very often. We went back to the tournament area to turn in the scores and wait to see how everyone else did. In our division there were 14 teams of men and women. Finally, the scores for the first round were tallied and posted. Here is what the top scores looked like. 55, 58, 59 and 67 (2 groups tied). So that put us tied for 4th place after the one round.
Now I know that a 4th place finish sounds great under the circumstance, and trust me it is. However, I look at it a bit differently. I know the players that shot the 58 and 59. There is no tournament or competition, in which I (or any others that played Saturday) would compete with these golfers. They are typically in a higher division because, well, they’re just that good. Since this was a fun event and we were playing mixed (one man, one woman) doubles…we all got smashed into one generic group. However, the way I see it is that they very well could have competed in their own division….therefore, I was not comparing myself to them. If you look at it in that sense, we came in first (tied for first) in our division. To say I was thrilled would have been an understatement. I did not expect to be anywhere at the top of the leader board, but there we were.
There was a 2nd round that day. I night round played after the sun set with lights attached to the discs to make them glow. I did not partake in the 2nd round knowing it was just too much for my first time back out. Plus my body loudly let me know it was ready to head home about 6:30 that evening. One of the organizers of the event, and a great friend, stepped into my place and played the night round with my partner. They held on to our 4th place finish, breaking the original tie and securing 4th place by 7 strokes over the next team.
I purposely waited a few days to type this blog, so that I could truely relate to you the aftermath of the round in relation to my ailments. The point of the day was of course to get out and play the game I missed, but also to see if it’s maybe something I could put back into my life, perhaps on a limited basis.
Saturday – I think I was too caught up in the moments to worry about how I was feeling. As I already mentioned, I had strained my arm early on, and although sore it was feeling ok. The rest of my body was sore, tired. I was ready for bed shortly after we got home, but the pain began to set in early and so it was a later night then I had hoped.
Sunday – Sunday was a strange day. The reactions I got from my body were not what I was expecting. It was a very up and down day. I woke up feeling a lot better than I had anticipated. My energy seemed normal and pain was limited. This all changed in the early afternoon after dropping my wife at work. I barely made it home with enough energyu to make it to the couch where I proceeded to drop off into sleep. I woke up a bit later feeling a little refreshed, but that only lasted a couple of hours before the pain and fatigue set in.
Monday – Another up and down day, but the pain was more increased. Again I felt good at times, and then just as quickly I felt lightheaded and nauseous. I was able to rest quite a bit, but by last night I was tight and barely moving around. Any movement took a lot of energy. I worked on this blog for awhile, and had the entire entry just disappear. At that point the pain was too much and I was a bit pissed about losing my whole entry, so I gave up on the day and went to bed.
Tuesday – So here I am retyping, recreating this entry. My pain levels are elevated. My joints are all tightened up, and my feet and hands remain numb and tingling. However, i still have the memories of Saturday settled into my brain, so when the stabbing pain begins, I close my eyes and picture some of those shots in my mind….and for just a brief moment, I am released from the pain. I will take those brief moments.
Overall I accomplished what I initially set out to do, that was finish a full round of golf. I, however, felt like I accomplished so much more. I was thrilled with our finish, and even though my body is yelling at me, I am determined to get back out there and play again. It will just be a continued effort of mind over matter, and making sure that I continue to play easy and listen to my body’s limitations.
And now that I have bored you with all my words, here is the part you have all been waiting for….the pictures.
My wife and I. She came out to support us.
My life partner and my disc partner
Hole 11 – Put a Birdie On It
Hole 5 with a Mini Basket on the top. Any close putts had to be made with a mini disc into the mini basket.
Hole 10 – The maroon disc was sliding into the picture as I took it.
Hole 13 – Parctice discs laying around the basket.
Hole 9 – The signature hole. Notice the Peace Sign?
My post-round view from my anti-gravity chair. You cannot walk far at horning’s without encountering a Peacock.