The Black Mouse examples

Our family has three pet rats, but as of sometime yesterday afternoon only two of them – Alice and Weasel – were accounted for in their cage. Gavoroche was missing, and after conducting interviews in the morning, a 5-year old suspect admitted removing the rat from the cage, taking it outside, and leaving it on Dude the cat’s bed. With the office door open. So the rat either escaped into the woods, or chose to remain in the office somewhere and spend the night with Dude.

My solution was to take off for a quick round at Black Mouse and cool off, so as not to get Memorial Day weekend started on a rat-death downer note. I’m glad I did.

Not because of my score (it took birdies on 16 and 17 to squeak under par) but a few observations I made:

  • I, like many people I know, really, really value disc golf. It’s amazing something this great can be widely available and mostly free
  • Also like many others I know, I pus for the growth of the sport, but do I really want it? I hit the course at Black Mouse at 8:30 AM, left at 9:30, and didn’t see another player. It was a real pleasure and I’m not sure I want to give that up
  • There are three new benches, on holes 3, 4, and, uh, I forget which other one. But the progress there continues. Between the JR High Nature Academy and the Black Mouse club, the story of that course is everything that’s right about the way our sport is growing

the delusional disc golfer

So as i mentioned before, I didn’t play in the Masters Cup this year- for the first time since 1994, I think. And I was even more bummed to see that the combo of the toughest-yet layout and choppy winds held scores down to the extent that -2 won my division (Open Masters). And from Sunday afternoon to Sunday evening, and I guess even that night as I slept that night, the delusions began to build.

I would have been right there with the lead groups all weekend. My strength is scratching out pars on tough courses in tough conditions. DeLa is MY course. And so it went.

So even though I had an impending deadline on a tough project, come Monday morning I only had one thought: get out to DeLa and play the course I saw giving guys so much trouble all weekend. And so I did. I shot a +3 (with a CTP-worthy birdie on hole 27), which isn’t bad considering the layout and the wind. But then, tongue in cheek, I began to make a case to myself that that +3 meant I woulda/coulda won the Masters Cup. Wanna get a window into some real disc golf delusion? Check this out:

  • My +3 included two tree OB strokes, one extremely unlikely.
  • It also included two double bogeys that – it could be argued – were 5’s rather than 4’s (holes 13 and 14) if I were not rushing to play through larger groups
  • Take away those four strokes, and I shoot -1 rather than +3
  • -1 three times is -3, good enough to beat the -2 that won my division in the Masters Cup!

Of course, all that discounts the following tethers to reality:

  • I can’t play two rounds in a row at DeLa right now, much less three. My shoulder just sorta stops working, pain or no pain
  • OB strokes will happen. Truth be told, that round was pretty even, luck-wise
  • Playing the day after an NT event on the same course is not tournament golf, no matter how realistically one may try to stick to tourney conditions

My best non-delusional guess that I would have shot +3 at best the first round, +6 at best the second round, and +8 at best the 3rd round. But imagine what woulda/coulda been . . .

Round 1 in the books

DeLaveaga solidifies its position as the toughest course in the world per square foot with the first round results of the 2010 Masters Cup in Santa Cruz, CA. Even though the course is set at 26 holes, only nine players out of 84 finished under par. Defending champ Greh-GORY Barsby leads with a 1058-rated six under, followed by Matt Orum at -5 and Nate “Bobby” Doss at -3.

The Master Cup has by far the shortest average hole distance on the PDGA National Tour, but makes up for it with strategic tree placement, elevation change, and rock-hard, root-strewn greens placed close to all kinds of disaster. DeLaveaga may not have water hazards, but the two meter tree OB rule is in effect and there is all kinds of trouble waiting for discs that stray even slightly from their intended paths. A strong but intermittent wind only made things tougher to predict.

A few random observations:

  • another sign of the course playing tough for everyone- The Champ, Ken Climo, is at even par, and he has as good a chance to win at this point as ever
  • Sixteen 1000-rated players shot over par in the first round
  • Dave Feldberg shot -1 in the first round, but it was good enough for a tie for ninth place, his best position ever after the first round in the Master Cup
  • Only one Grandmaster is under par, leader Scott Riley, and I gave him a ride from the outer parking area this morning. Who will I pick up tomorrow?

DeLa in all its finery

Another of those times to celebrate the differences between ball golf and disc golf.

The PDGA National Tour rolls into town this week for the Masters Cup, an event hosted by the DeLa Disc Golf Club for the past 25 years. Even though the course will be set at 26 holes for the event – holes 20-22 will be skipped – all the holes (and I mean ALL the holes) are in play right now. Hole 17 is in play, as are 8a and 26a, making 29 total.

Multitudes of volunteers and workers paid by the city have been busy mowing and weed-whacking the fairways and greens, and the course looks . . . . marvelous. It looks, even to the untrained eye, like a golf course. I even saw a rather larger bobcat stalking prey in the suddenly exposed short grass after the mowing.

What’s more, each hole is in the longest, most difficult position possible. 23 has a new, longer blind location. 25 is in its new super-uphill position, and 26a is from the new long tee to the old long basket position, a par four posing as a par three.

By my own personal gauge (at this point more what the average joe can do, not a touring pro), only eight of the 29 present a legitimate chance for birdie (can you guess which eight?).

So if you love being challenged to make par hole after hole, the course is like an epic set of waves right now, 15 feet over head. Here’s where disc golf transcends it’s ancestor: since disc golf is still flying under the radar for the most part, anyone can drive there, pay a couple bucks to park in the lot (or park for free and walk 10 minutes to the first hole) and start playing on pretty much whatever hole he, she or they want.

Try doing that on any ball golf course- much less one where a PGA event is coming up!