A new home course (Woods at Beauty Hill, Barnstead, NH)

I’ve finally played a course in New Hampshire and I like it so much that I want to call it my new home course. About Two weeks ago my wife and I headed down to Barnstead to check out the Woods at Beauty Hill course (pdga link).

It is a wonderful course that is mostly in the woods with very tight fairways. One of the reasons I like the course is that it offers multiple tee positions that account for beginner to advanced players. This is something I look for in a course because it is important to have easier options for those who are new to the sport as well as challenging holes for advanced players.

So far I’ve played it three times in the last week and I plan on playing as many of the Thursday and Sunday night pick-up League nights as I can. If you live anywhere near, come and join us.

I am also planning on playing in the Saturday, July 19th Tournament they are hosting.

Exciting stuff. I haven’t played in a tournament for about three years. Should be entertaining at least!

Par 2 Mentality

The other day I was reminiscing about playing with one of my friends at Rand Park a couple of years ago. We played a lot that summer and got to the point where we were getting the same score at the course all the time so we came up with the idea of playing the course as par 2 for every hole instead of par 3. Our scores improved quite a bit.

It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. You have so little margin for error with par 2 that you have to improve in order to have a good round. The next time I know I’m going to play in a tournament I am going to spend the preceding month playing with the Par 2 Mentality and see what happens. I also think it would be a good experiment to actually use it while playing the tournament. Try it and let me know how it works. Maybe it the next super effective self improvement technique – just remember who told you about it :)

I am an International disc golf champion?

I would just like to let everyone know that I am an international disc golf player now.
My wife and I recently went to Prince Edward Island (PEI) for vacation with my parents. So naturally I checked the PDGA course directory to see if there were any disc golf courses that we could play and was pleasantly surprised to find one on the south-west side of the island near Strathgartney.

It was a bit of a struggle to find it based on the directions given but we persevered. If you are ever in the neighborhood look for the sign that says “Strathgartney Campgrounds” it’ll be on your left if you are driving west on Hwy 1.
I cost us $1.00 Canadian per person to play the 18 hole course.

The course doesn’t have the traditional baskets that we have become accustomed to, instead it used wooden posts (4 by 4’s) painted green with a bar threaded into the top and another 4 by 4 (about 1.5 to 2 feet tall) painted white threaded on top. The white 4 by 4 was the “basket”.
pei disc golf basket alternative

The signs were all well marked and helpful except sign #10 which was missing. Many of the shots used doglegs to the left or were straight. It had a good variety of uphill and downhill, long and short shots and was moderately challenging.
The signs were marked in meters instead of feet so that took some getting used to as well.sign for hole 13 at pei course

The course is on the side of a hill or series of hills so we had some good views of the surrounding land.
view of the town near the course

view of river through trees on pei course

I shot a 55 which by their course par was 17 under and by par 3 standards was 1 over. I was declared the champion of the group by 8 strokes and that is how I became an international disc golf champion!

Bradford, VT Oxbow Disc golf Course (finally back)

It feels good to have played again after a long break. I have moved to New Hampshire and in the midst of getting settled etc. have not had time to seek out disk golf courses in the area. Well, yesterday (Saturday) I finally went to Bradford, Vermont and played the Oxbow Course.

I finished 5 over, lost one disk (tie-dyed TeeBird), and found another and promptly lost it too. I was impressed with the course. The first two holes had me convinced that it was like most high school courses, the kind where all the holes are wide open and boring. By hole six I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of shots although still disappointed that most of them were under 300 feet.
Most of the shots were doglegs with lots of trees and I managed to par them all.

Hole 6 starts up the hill (mountain?) and has a small fairway with brush intermingled with new growth on the right-hand side. Somewhere in that brush there is a nice tie-dyed TeeBird, if you find it keep it and enjoy it because I’ll have a new one broken in by then anyway.

Holes 7-10 are on the hill and many of them are over 300 feet. My lasting impression of this part of the course is the view of the mountains to the east. This is by far the most scenic disc golf course I have played.
Hole 7 view:
view from hole 7 at Oxbow

Hole 8 view:
view from hole 8 at Oxbow
Holes 11-18 each have their unique qualities as well.

The Oxbow course is a good mix of different types of shots – not the most challenging course I’ve played but far from the easiest. Probably would be a little intimidating for a newbie and boring for a pro.

My hats off to the designers. Good Job. I’ll be back again with my friends.

Tip #3 Don’t get your disc stuck in the top of a pine tree (the story of 3 rocks, a basketball, and a lot of sticks)

The other day Jon and I went to Prairie Center Park to play a relaxing round of Disc Golf. The thing about Prairie Center is that there are a ton of pine trees everywhere — the kind of pine trees that discs like to get stuck in. Because of this issue Jon and I generally carry a rock in our bags to throw into the trees to retrieve the disc.

On hole four there are a couple of tall pine trees and a small gap to get through so I have been aiming towards the top of the trees in order to give myself the largest hole possible. This time I threw my new Innova Beast directly into the top of the tree on the left and wouldn’t you know it, it settled into the branches just like it was hitting the chains and falling into the basket. The disk was about 35-40 feet up in the tree and could hardly be seen. So Jon pulled out his trusty rock and I went in search of one (I had recently decided that I wasn’t going to carry one anymore) and not finding one I went back. Jon decided he would go look for a rock in another area while I threw the rock for a while. Not too long after he left I threw the rock and it didn’t come back down! Now we were without any rocks so I found a long branch and threw it up at the tree – it got stuck. There was also a Gatorade bottle sitting under that tree and it had a little bit of Gatorade left in it so I threw that until it too stayed up there. Not learning I threw a few more sticks up and each one lodged itself in the tree branches. Then Jon came back with a piece of cement he found on hole eighteen and we threw that for a while. Most of the time we hit branches right around the disc but couldn’t get it to move. I ended up finding another rock and we threw both rocks for about 15 minutes without any luck. I decided we needed something bigger so I scoured a nearby wooded area for some large object. What I found was a partially inflated basketball. It was not a full-sized basketball but was just the right size for me to toss it like a baseball.

At this point Jon and I were taking turns tossing the two rocks and the basketball. We hit the disc and moved it at one point but it hung on tenaciously. Soon thereafter we got another rock and the basketball stuck in the tree. I, believing that the basketball was our best hope for hitting the disc spent an inordinate amount of time throwing our remaining rock at the basketball. When I finally got the ball back we resumed trying to hit the disc. I didn’t hit the disc again with the ball but I did knock the the second lost rock out of the tree, and soon after got the basketball stuck in the tree again.

In the end Jon hit the disc with his rock, it came down and we got the basketball and returned it to its original place. The moral of the story is: don’t get your disc stuck in a pine tree!

So what adventures have you had in disc golf?

Tip #2 Learning to throw

This last Tuesday I had the opportunity to play the Prairie Center Park Course here in Olathe, KS. While I was playing I caught up with Dave, who is from the Kansas City, MO side and just picked up disc golf this summer because his daughter taught him the basics. He got the bug, and even though she is off at college now he still goes out to play.
By now you might be wondering what that has to do with learning how to throw. Well as Dave and I were playing he began to ask me about how I throw. That gave me the idea to try to write it down and put it on my site so that anyone who happens along looking for information about how to throw just might get something useful out of it. This is a much bigger subject than what I cover below so this time I’m just going to focus on three general throwing tips and leave the specific techniques up to you. Next time I will talk more about specifics of my throw.

1. Don’t try to throw it hard.
Most people’s inclination is to try to throw the disc as hard as they can. I can tell you that the harder I try to throw the worse I do.
2. Practice
It is important to take some time to practice your throw. Find an open field somewhere and practice throwing until you feel comfortable and confident.
3. Relax
Try to be as relaxed as you can when throwing.

I set a new personal best and Prairie Center Park Disc Golf Course

A friend and I went to Prairie Center Park disc golf course on saturday. It started out as one of those up and down rounds: I birdied hole 1, bogeyed hole 2, pared hole 3, etc. I didn’t completely realize that I was having a good round until hole 16 where I was -1 with two fairly tough holes left. Now hole 17 I can generally par unless I get stuck in the pine trees on the right, but hole 18 usually adds a couple of strokes (every time I see the narrow corridor between the trees to the basket I see it as a challenge that I can’t resist). Well, I pared 17 as usual and got lucky enough to bogey 18 for a final round of even. Even is the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the summer and I finally made it.
As I have said before, I am a big fan of setting goals. It seems to work out well for me on the disc golf course.

Disc Golf Tip #1 – don’t leave your discs in the trunk of your car when it’s hot outside

A couple of weeks ago I bought a new 171g Innova Beast (I prefer 170-172g). I used it during one round then put it in my bag with the rest of my discs. I have developed the habit this year of leaving my discs in my trunk because sometimes I go play after work. I didn’t think about how hot it might be getting in there.

So when I went to play the other weekend at Rand Park and pulled out my shiny new beast to see that half of the top was now indented and no matter how hard I tried it would not go back to its original state. It was ruined. When I tossed it to see what would happen it immediately turned over and drifted right. So the moral of the story is: Don’t leave your discs in the trunk of your car when it’s 100 degrees outside.

Tip #1.5

If you set your ruined disc in the sun and then work on pushing it back out to its original state – it might just go back to being almost like new. That’s what happened for me.

I tied a my personal best on The Rand Park Course in Keokuk, IA on Saturday

I had the opportunity to travel back home this weekend to visit friends and family. My Parents, my brother and his son, and my future brother and sister-in-law all went to play a relaxing round of disc golf at Rand Park in Keokuk, IA. I love it when a whole group of us get to go play together because it gives us an opportunity to visit while getting excercise (and I get to show off my mad DG skills). I had a wonderful round so let me take a moment to brag about it: I finished the round at 8 under par (-8). That ties my personal best on that course. Rand Park is a fairly short and not a super difficult course (read: good for beginners and still a challenge for moderate players). My ongoing goal is to play the course at -12 and I’m sure I will do it someday.

I am a firm believer in setting score goals for myself before I play a round. I usually play a course 4 or 5 times to get a feel for how it plays and then I set a score goal at least 2 better than my best round to that point. It can really make a difference in how quickly I lower my scores on a course. Sometimes I have “one of those days” where nothing goes right and my score is worse than it ever has been, but in general I tend to focus better, putt better, and drive straighter when I have a goal in mind.