Whistler’s Bend in Roseburg Oregon

A few months ago my wife wanted me to plan a camping trip in somewhere in between Santa Cruz and Portland, Oregon, where her brother and his kids live. I remembered hearing that Roseburg in Oregon had two good disc golf courses, I asked around and found out that the longer course with Mach III baskets – Whistler’s Bend – had excellent camping right there in the same park. And then later, when I asked some Oregonians about the course during the Master’s Cup, I found out that a great river for rafting and swimming – the Umpqua – bent around the whole park like a horseshoe.

I told my wife that I found the perfect place, mentioning the proximity to both our homes’, the hot showers, the playground, and the river. And oh, by the way, a funny coincidence . . . the park has a disc golf course! She was thrilled for me, as demonstrated by her closed-lip smile.

Last weekend the time for the trip finally came, and we managed to get there in about 10 hours with two little kids in the car. Not bad. The weather was very unseasonable warm, with highs of 100 and lows of 60 or so. It made my plan to do my disc golfing early in the morning even more appealing. Here is my review of the course, in short-attention span bulletpoints:

  • As advertised, the baskets are nice Mach III’s and the teepads concrete. But there are only teesigns and holemaps on some of the holes. None of the holes on the longer, more spread out back nine have signs. But most of the holes do have little wooden arrows pointing to the next hole, which helped quite a bit.
  • Also as advertised, the front nine was more wooded and shorter, and the back nine was almost completely wide open. There were trees in the grassy, hilly back nine, but I don’t think any of the came into play in my two rounds except the steeply uphill #13.
  • The facilities are great, even for non-campers, and I found the first hole without a problem. It’s right by the group campsite, where we stayed (I swore to my wife that I had no idea), and the ‘first-come, first-serve’ sites are by hole 14, Whistler’s ‘Top of the World’ shot.
  • Speaking of hole 14, which I think is 600-plus feet (or maybe 700 from the extended tee I was told to look for and found), I found it to be fun and challenging in one sense only: It’s always cool to chuck a disc 700 feet down a big hill. But there were absolutely no trees or any kind of OB forcing me to take a certain route. I suppose a less-skilled player would find it challenging to throw straight long enough to clear the foliage that covered the first three quarters of the fairway, but anyone with decent power should be able to get to the large open green with little problem. Birdie or par every time unless you three-putt.
  • On the back nine, almost ever hole (except #14, ironically) was exactly the same to me in one sense: It was long enough that I couldn’t reach it, but short and open enough that upshots for par were fairly routine. I realize that players with longer arms than me (those that can throw 450 in the air) would get a few birdie looks that I didn’t get. And typical recreational players probably have longer upshots due to their shorter drives, making the second and third shots more interesting. But my range is fairly average for ‘serious’ players, and I thought most of the holes on the back would’ve been more fun if they were either 50-150 feet shorter or longer (I’d prefer a mix of the two).
  • I’m normally a critic of water hazards where you can lose a disc, since – to use a ball golf analogy – discs for us are more like clubs than balls in the sense that they are not simply replaced by another one identical to the one lost. But I have to say that I liked holes 7 and 9 at Whistler’s Bend. Both baskets were in locations close to a sheer 70-foot drop-off, with the gorgeous Umpqua River below. Hole 7 is a 400-footer that requires placing the disc in the right part of the fairway, then an accurate upshot for par. Hole nine is a wide-open gradual downhill hole with a medium-width fairway; narrow enough that you must take a straight-at-it approach if you want a chance at birdie. Problem is, when you go straight at the basket on a downhill hole with a drop-off 20 feet behind, your distance control is of the utmost importance. My most gratifying drive at Whistler’s Bend was on this hole, where I put my Aftershock within 10 feet (short). Another reason I didn’t mind the water hazards: The one time I went over the cliff – on #7 where my drive landed initially safe then trickled over the edge – I was able to scale down the cliffside and retrieve it from the narrow beach. If the river was running higher, though, it probably would’ve slipped into the Umpqua before I even peered over the edge.
  • Check out all the pictures I took there by clicking here

One of the unique appeals of disc golf

My preference when playing disc golf is to play with one or two other players, but I don’t mind a foursome or sometimes a fivesome. Anything more than that though, in my opinion is too much. In fact, I’d rather play alone than in a large herd, and I often do just that.

Today, in fact, I opted to get a quick round in at nearby Black Mouse rather than not play at all. And while out there, I realized that disc golf (or to specify, disc golf at DeLaveaga) is kind of like a good hike combined with a great sporting interest. I’ve heard ball golf described as ‘A Good Walk Spoiled,’ or something like that. I know that quote is a tongue-in-cheek thing, but it still stands in sharp contrast to how I genuinely feel about disc golf:

“Disc golf is a good hike made better”.

Baskets on the move

It’s July 8th in Santa Cruz . . . do you know where the baskets at DDGC are?

After a bunch of recent placement changes, here’s the current layout (with changed holes in red):

1- Long left
2- Short right
5 – Short
6- Short
7- Short
8a- Right
10- Long
11-Short left
12- Island
14- Semi-short left
15- Short
16- Left
17- Closed
18- Long left
19- Short
20- Straight
23- Classic Right
24- Short
25- Long
26- Short
27- Semi-long

At first glance this layout should provide the opportunity for lower scores than the previous setup. Holes 6, 7, 14 and 20 all become much more birdy-able, and most of the other changes make for shorter holes as well. But if my two rounds since the change are any indication, scores may not drop much if any.

For starters, hole 1 in the long left is really tough now. Not only does the drive require decent length and accuracy on a steady uphill slope. With the downed tree rootball now blocking the right side of the green and tree trunks on the right, up-shots are challenging as well unless you really get your drive up there. Good luck!

Self-serving note about putting

Somehow or another, I started a habit yesterday of putting with my abdominal muscles flexed. I noticed as I was practicing that it kind of locked me into the putt and also helped remind me to maintain good posture.

During my solo round this AM, I remembered to do the same thing out on the course, and I made every single putt (except a clanker on 21) en route to a -4. I might be onto something, and will certainly be sticking with this new discovery for the foreseeable future.

July 4th Monthly
Before I took off this morning, the monthly run by Mark K. got started. Mark had everyone do the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, which I thought was pretty cool.

Visualization, Water, and Aces

Good round this morning. Ended up -5 at DeLa with seven birdies, two bogies, and a par on 13. I even passed toughest point (13) in the quest for a bogie-free round before throwing two bad shots in a row on 16. My special moment (there is almost always at least one in a round at DeLa) today came on 26, when I was able to tap into the ‘whole other level’ of visualization on my birdie putt (more like an uphill, around-the-tree throw-putt). I actually saw a sort of red streak that started at my lie, went throught the basket, and continued on past and out of sight. It was a low-percentage chance, but I knew it was going in before it even left my hand. If anyone ever learns how to tap into thaqt level of visualization on every shot, they will be hard to beat.

Water Hazards
Is it just me, or does anyone else think that water hazards that cause a player to lost a disc forever are ridiculous? I mean, it’s not like ball golf where all you lose is a ball. In disc golf, the disc is like the ball AND the club for a stick-golfer. And what kind of sense would it make for someone to risk losing their favorite 5-wood? If it’s a stream where you can easily retrieve your disc, that’s a different matter. But designers should resist the temptation of placing baskets near the edge of lakes or deep rivers.

I’ve ranted on this before, but I believe we do the whole ace-thing backwards in disc golf. If someone cards an ace, that person should count their lucky stars (they are almost always an accident, if we’re honest with ourselves) and buy the people in his/group a drink. The ace is reward enough itself!