Friday, July 31, 2009

KC Day 6 - The longest round ever

My Worlds is over. Blog done.

Ha! Just kidding. I played the extremely long Blue Valley today and shot a 73 (+7). I probably had some of the best drives of my life today and loved the course. Very long (but fair) with lots of downhill bombs and bombs over trees. Several holes were between 700-800 ft, with the average hole being 600 ft. It took us just over 5 hours to play 18 holes!

A typical hole at Blue Valley -- far away

I started the day tied for 110th, so we'll have to wait and see where I end up. My goal was to finish in the top half, so it's looking good.

Chris shot a sweet 50 (-4) at Shawnee Mission this morning and is anxiously waiting to see if he makes the cut for tomorrow's semifinals. He is tied for 61st and they are taking 62. As I type, he is staring at his laptop hitting F5 Refresh every 5 seconds.

Now it's off to the pool to get some rest and then it's out to downtown KC tonight for some fun.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

KC Day 5 - Hot hot hot!

Today was a one-round day. Chris played this morning at Blue Valley, a long bombing course. He kicked some major butt and shot par (66). Very impressive since we had been hearing horror stories all week about how tough the course is. He has a real chance now at making the cut since he jumped from 47th to a tie for 8th in his pool.

I played at Shawnee Mission again in the afternoon and shot a 53 (-1), the same as on Tuesday. I am pretty happy with that and moved up five spots to a 6-way tie for 6th in my pool.

I honestly don't remember much about the round now that everything is blurring together. I do remember carding 3 birdies in a row and making a huge putt for one of them though!

Tomorrow I tee off at Blue Valley at 10:10 and Chris plays the Mission at 11:30. This could be our last day of golf in KC. Let's hope not!

Hole 16 - I crushed this...

But missed the 35 ft putt!

Hole 18 - A fun downhill hyzer to the right of the trees

Our players pack

Got a bunch of discs, two shirts, towel, and a small bag. Best of all is a Deer Whistle.

Players pack

KC Day 4 - Let the sun shine

"Thank you, Treesus!" The sun was shining Wednesday and the rains finally stopped. We had a beautiful day for golf with temps in the upper 70s and a bit of humidity to remind us that it was still summer.

The morning round was at WyCo, a longish course with lots of open shots over rolling hills with a smattering of oak trees with low branches. Played smartly with well-placed shots, you could three most holes with a great drive, approach, and putt. There were birdie ops on some fun short holes too.

I played with two guys from Wisconsin and a guy from Louisiana. We had two distinct accents going on in our group with all the "Ays" and the Bubba Gump Shrimpesqueness. They probably thought I talked funny. Dwight from LSU introduced me to the phrase "Thank you, Treesus" when one of his drives went off course and was spit back into the fairway. Love it.

I was happy with my play and finished with a 60. Again, I made a few bad choices on a few shots and totally gacked my last drive, but I made one or two putts from well outside the circle and have discovered the joys of jump-putting. Still need some work on it, but it is starting to make sense to me.

Lucky drive through the Y tree and parked it at Water Works.
Lucky drive thru the Y tree at WW

Another great thing about playing in an event like this is that you get to see different techniques from players from other parts of the country who have different shots because of the type of courses they play on. One guy from TX I played with on Tuesday threw this funky upside down pseudo flick shoulder height shot that landed on its face and skipped up to the right. He said he does that a lot because of the flat hard ground they have. Dwight from LA said they play for the skip ace a lot for the same reason. I noticed a guy from South FL where it is pretty flat had trouble with the uphill and downhill shots but pured most flat drives. Then when I made it through what I thought was a pretty easy group of trees for my approach, they'd say "Wow, great shot!" It's all relative I guess.

After round 1 we returned to the kickin' Rav4 to see that we had a flat. We jumped into action and made quick work of the tire change while accusing everyone of slashing our tire so that we'd be late for the afternoon round. Marcy bought herself a new 150 orange Stingray and a couple stickers for the car that are perfect for Devens -- Disc golfers do it in the woods.

Chris pops on the spare

With the tire fixed, we headed back to the hotel for lunch and a rest since our next round was in three hours. Chris went for a swim, Marcy signed us up for Rindge and Barre, and I nerded a bit on the computer.

At 2:00 we headed over to Water Works which I think is one of the older parks in KC. This course is similar to Devens in that it has lots of dramatic up and downs, but it is much longer and more open. I chuckled when I heard people worrying about the elevation. When we arrived, the last two Pro Women cards were passing through hole 1, so we got to watch them drive. When their round was over, Marcy schmoozed with Val, Des, Julianna, Liz Lopez, Birgitta, and Berl. If I only had her gift of gab. :)


I shot a 60 and was slightly bummed because I knew I could have done better. I lost some mental focus toward the middle of the round and carded some OBs. One hole I was treated to the Water Works Roll on my putt for 3. I was putting up and across a hill about 30 ft out. The disc hit the side of the basket, caught an edge and rolled down down down about 50 ft. My jump putt went straight as an arrow and I said "Yeah baby!" Then reality struck and my Wizard clanked off the top ring of chains where they attach to the upper ring and spit out! Ugh, I went from a 3 to a 5 just like that.

Hole 1 overlooking downtown KC at Water Works
Water Works hole 1, KC in the distance

I wasn't the only one having mental problems. One guy in my group from Ohio was shooting the lights out, puring drives and nailing long putts. But then with six holes to go he fell apart and his lead evaporated as he got a couple 5s and a 6. It was mildly sad to watch because we've all been there, but hell, this is the Worlds baby. No soup for you. He ended with a 59, along with the guy from FL. I finished at 60 along with a guy from WI.

After dinner we headed over to tourney central and Fly Mart where a bunch of vendors were selling stuff. Innova had all their top pros there (Climo too) signing autographs while the other top guns were wandering around the room or over in their sponsor's booth. Since NEFA King Tim Walsh knows practically all of them, we dropped his name a lot to make a quicker connection with Nate Doss, Jay Reading, Avery Jenkins, and Dave Feldberg.

Steve Dodge's Prime Discs/Vibram booth was a popular one because he had a putting contest going on with the new Vibram putter.

Mr Vibram

Between Chris, Marcy, and I, we bought a bunch of stuff -- all critically important to our disc golf game of course!

Tired as hell, we still had to drive to the airport to exchange the kickin' RAV4 for one with no flat tires. Since Chris had an early tee time, we dropped him off first and by the time we got back it was midnight. They gave us $40 off for our troubles.

While we were gone, we were shuffled into new groups. Chris is in Pool L and I am in Pool M four strokes behind Chris. We are both in the mix and have a slim chance at making the cut, but a lot of people above us have to stink it up and we have to play absolutely perfect golf. It is funny being in a tie for 11th and only being one stroke behind those tied for 1st in my pool. A one or two stroke swing can really change things with so many people.
Chris is out playing now and I am about to take a nap. Wish us luck!

Approaching hole 10 at WW

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

KC Day 4 mid-day report - We get a flat

Just a quick post before we head off to our afternoon round at Water Works. This morning we played WyCo under sunny skies. Yahoo! Chris played well with a 57 and I hung in there with a 60. No one knew what par was.

After the round, we returned to the car and had a flat. Quick as a whip, we changed it. We were inspired by the pit crews at the Kansas Speedway just down the road.

Ok, off to our 3PM round.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

KC Day 3 is a wet one

Today we woke up to rain -- bad sign. Thankfully it stopped by the time we got to the first course, Shawnee Mission. As the 8 AM shotgun start time rolled around, the TD was nowhere to be found. At 8:20, he rolled in. Turns out he got lost! Things only got better when he said the cards had not been filled out and oh, does anyone have any blank scorecards we could use?

While the TD, Marcy, and another guy filled out the cards, some guys discovered a raccoon in a trashcan and poked it with a stick. Okay, I'm kidding. There was no poking involved.

Finally, we were sent to our holes and a few minutes later our 2009 AM Worlds began. I played with a guy from TX and MN and teed off first. I was a little nervous and excited and didn't want to choke on the first hole. Thankfully I let off a decent drive down the hill that stayed in the fairway. I threw my 50 ft approach and made my putt. A successful first hole was in the books.

Worlds begins for me

I ended up feeling pretty good about how I played and was happy with my 53 (-1). I got a handful of birdies and only 2 bogeys. At one point as I walked to the next tee, it hit me how cool it was that I was playing disc golf with some of the best golfers in the world 1200 miles from home. Nice.

The weather cooperated for the most part this morning with light rain off and on. It did get pretty steamy at times and the cement teepads got slippery from the mud. Chris ended up even at 54.

Next, we headed up to Prairie Center for our 2 PM afternoon round. We had lunch and relaxed in our kickin' Toyota RAV4. Chris stetched out on the kiddie playground bridge for a nap. At about 1:30 it started to rain. At 2:00 it started to pour. Thirteen holes later it finally stopped. It sucked.

Soaked to the bone, but happy

My faithful caddy Marcy had that "Why the heck am I out here again?" look on her face. My fingers were pruned. It was impossible to get off a good drive. Towels, shirts, everything was soaked. Scores suffered. Attitudes plummeted.

Then, the rain stopped and the sun made a brief appearance and all was good in the world. I finally deuced a hole after 15 previous tries. I was happy again. Laughter floated between our foursome that included another two guys from MN and a guy from Montana.

Despite my crapping driving, I shot okay with a 59 (+4), but could have done better. Chris P shot a 57 (+2). The hot score was a 47! Umm, what!?

Tonight we are drying out and relaxing. Tomorrow we face one pretty long course (WyCo) and the hilly Water Works. Then it's on to the FlyMart at night to ooh and ahh over all the latest disc golf stuff.

Now it's time for more ice. Thanks for the support NEFA! We love reading your comments.

Pokerpalooza in Montana?
In the second round, I played with Jeff from Montana who was using a Pokerpalooza disc as his main driver. After it hit me that it didn't really make sense for a guy from Montana to have a Borderland disc, he explained that he got it and several others as factory misprints from Discraft. It was pretty funny. Small world!

Pokerpalooza makes it to Montana

Monday, July 27, 2009

KC Day 2 is a hot one

This is going to be short. A major thunder and lightning storm is pounding KC right now!

Today we headed over to Prairie Center, WyCo, and Water Works to scout them out. It was a very hot 93 degrees, but with the constant breeze it wasn't too bad. We all got a little color today, that's for sure.

Right now, everything is kinda mishmashed together in my brain. Prairie Center was a fun course. Shortish with a lot of placement shots. We met some friendly golfers from TX and a local Dad out with his daughter who was playing for the first time.

Next was WyCo. It's a long course and a bit boring. Most holes you have to chuck really far once or twice, throw an approach, and putt. Not much thinking involved. Big arms will do well there. Me? Who knows. The landscape itself is pretty with rolling hills and big oaks with low branches. Lots of sun, little shade. The place was the best manicured course we've seen yet. Even the 30-ft circle around each basket was mowed shorter the rest of the fairway.

Dragging ass and on the verge of overheating, we headed toward Water Works which is over the Missouri River. We stopped at Cabela's to cool off and so that Chris and Marcy could buy camp stools. Water Works is a really cool course with tons of elevation and most holes are Buzzworthy or a straight driver. You just have to be conscious of which way the fairways slope and play the angles. There are a few tight alleys and nasty uphill pulls. Should be fun.

Tonight was the players meeting. We managed to find all NEFA-ites. The meeting itself was more of a thank you to so-and-so for this, and thank you so-and-so for that. Nice, but not too useful for first-time attendees. We were hoping for more useful information like how things worked overall, if there's a meeting before each round, etc. Thankfully, Worlds veterans Rick Williams and Tim Walsh gave us newbies the details.

While people filed out of the ballroom, we went over to say hi to pro Carrie "Berl" Berlogar. Turns out she knows King of the Hill Mike Dussault from their college days.

Now it's time for ice on the arm and some Zs. Chris and I tee off in Pool N at 8 AM at Shawnee Mission and then 2 PM at Prairie Center. Rain is in the forcast. Joy! Results should be posted here.
Dave, Mike, John, Rick, Bill, Chris

Chris and Berl

Dave, Mike, John, Tim, Chris

Chris starts on 6, I start on 18

Hole 1 at Water Works

Chris drives at WyCo

KC: Day 1

I've been up a very long time. Some of this may not make sense...

Saturday night I was like a kid on Christmas Eve lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, but couldn't. After a patchy four hours of dozing, we got up at 3:45 AM and were soon on the road to the airport thanks to my man, Donnie Disc Golf. Thanks Donnie!

After a rather uneventful flight through Chicago (not counting the woman behind us who couldn't stop talking about her husband, the ex-pro QB who got drafted by the Dolphins but then got cut and spent his career playing for the Denver Crush blah blah blah), we touched down in Kansas City to sunny, breezy, upper-80 degree weather. I had figured that KC would be flat, but it is pretty hilly. More rolling hills than steep New England hills.

As we waited for our luggage, Chris's plane landed and pulled up next to ours. Marcy's luggage, on the otherhand, did not arrive and was still on some conveyor belt at O'Hare. After they promised to deliver it later, we headed to the city in search of our hotel and some lunch. We later found out that Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was on Chris's flight.

The hotel lady recommended Gates Bar B Q across from Conklin Fangman Cadillac. Great choice. Marcy and I each had a Burnt Ends sandwich (crispy burnt brisket ends on a roll) and Chris had
some triple meat sandwich concoction. Damn was it good and we were stuffed. Fangman!

Next, we headed down the street Lincoln Memorial Park where the long drive, putting, and mini course contests were being held. It was a large open park atop a hill with memorials to past wars. The main structure is a tower with horses or something carved at the top. Pretty cool.

We headed over to the long drive contest and watched a couple people chuck over 500ft.

We timed it good and got to see Avery Jenkins, Paul Ullibari, some little guy from Japan, and Markus Kallstrom drive. Not sure who won, but the guy from Japan chucked it pretty far. I think 570? Not sure though.

Meanwhile, Marcy walks over to Chris and I (we're watching Val Jenkins drive) and tells us that Nate Doss just showed up and is with a bunch of other top golfers.
We go over and she walks right up and pretends that she's known all these guys forever. They are happy to take their picture with us and joke around with us for a minute. It was pretty cool.

Photos in camera, we head over to tourney central at the Westin and pick up our players pack. Wow! A couple shirts, 7 or so discs, a small bag, minis, coupons for money off new products at the Flymart, and a coupon for a free Worlds San Marino Roc. Again, it is like Christmas.

Giddy, we head out to find the first course we are to play on Tuesday, Shawnee Mission Park. But first we need to stop and grab a Gatorade from a convenience store before we get on the highway. As luck would have it, there was none to be found. Plenty of Chinese restaurants and hookah bars, but no stinking 7-11s! We start telling stupid 5th-grader jokes. We laugh hysterically. We are overtired and thirsty.

Shawnee Mission Park is a nice course on rolling hills. Not too long and not too short. Breezy and sunny. Mainly open drives with a well-placed tree or two in the way. We walked a few holes and played a few. The course is busy and most people we talk to are scouting out the course too. It was a good vibe and made me look forward to meeting more people on Game Day. Some guys we watched could really huck it.

We met some younger guys from Illinois who tell us that this course is the shorter and easier of the five others we will play. They warn us about the elevation and trees. We tell them we are from MA and play courses like that in our sleep. They are unimpressed.

We head back to the Residence Inn, go for a soak in the pool, eat dinner, and unwind. Tomorrow we are going to scout out Prairie Center, Waterworks, and Wyco-something before the players meeting at night. Thank you. Good night.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tick tock

Only a few more hours until we leave for KC. I'm excited, but am not looking forward to getting up at 4:30 AM to head for the airport. Ugh.

There are seven golfers from MA and CT headed down to compete in five different divisions. Click the links for a full list of golfers. I think you'll be able to see our scores here eventually.
  • Pros - Tim Walsh is playing with two-time Worlds champ Nate Doss during the first round on Tuesday. How cool is that? Pete Johnson (Pro Masters, Pool E). There are 333 golfers in Pro Open.
  • Amateurs - Chris P and I (Advanced, Pool N). Rick Williams and (Advanced Grandmasters, Pool R). Mike Saimond. Dave Stidham (Advanced Senior Grandmasters, Pool 2) There are 601 golfers in all Amateur divisions.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Any readers going to KC?

I know there are a few people around the country who read this blog, so if you are going to be in Kansas City next week, let me know. I'll treat you to a free cocktail from the hotel mini-bar!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

WW is busting at the seams

Last night we had a record 23 golfers show up for league and we sold the rest of our 2009 bag tags. That is great! Thanks for supporting the course, baggers! Now if we could just do something about those mosquitoes.

Ken will be running the show next week while we are away.

PS. To you young kids out there I know that it is summer and school is out, but it is time for a little history lesson. This is a photo of a record. It is what most of us old folks listened to when we were your age. It pre-dates the 8-track, CD, and MP3.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lost and found list updated

Our lost and found box is starting to fill up!
  • Be sure you write your full name, email address, and phone number on every disc in case it needs to find its way back to you.
  • If you find a disc, contact the person or let us know instead. Good karma is guaranteed.
We have called or emailed everyone we could on the current list. If you don't want your disc back, let us know and we will donate it to a new player. Discs on the list for over a year may be donated to new players.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today the Hill. Tomorrow the Worlds!

Next Sunday, Marcy and I are headed to Kansas City for the 2009 PDGA Pro and Amateur Disc Golf World Championships. I'll be playing and Marcy will be my support staff!

Each year, the best players in the world who meet specific requirements get invited. After those golfers rsvp, the event is opened up to anyone. Since I didn't meet those requirements and didn't get an official invite, I registered on my own.

The Worlds is a weeklong event (Tue. July 25 - Sat. Aug. 1) with over 900 pro and amateur players in 20 divisions. I'll be playing two rounds a day; one in the morning on one course and another in the afternoon on a different course.

My lofty goal is to finish in the top half, but I'm sure that will be pretty hard considering that the best golfers in the world will be there. If I can avoid DFL, I'll be happy! In any case, it should be a great time and I can't wait to be totally engulfed in disc golf for an entire week.

There are a few other New England golfers also making the trip. Marcy and I are rooming with Chris Piaseczny who put the idea of going to Worlds in my head at a tournament last month. Hopefully we will be in the same pool or our personal taxi driver Marcy will be driving all over KC.

I'll be updating the blog each day with our adventures, so be sure to tune in. If anyone would like to sponsor me, I'm open to offers! I'll even mention your name when I accept my trophy. :-)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More disrespect for the Hill

As our popularity grows, so does the trash. Last night was the worst I've seen it. Beer cans, cigarette butts, and about ten nips. Come on, people. Who the heck litters nowadays anyway? Jeez.

Please, as you play, pick up any butts or trash you see along the way. The cleaner we keep the Hill, the less likely losers will litter on it. And you have my permission to kick anyone that you do see littering in their junk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More love for the Hill

As the course grows in popularity, I've been getting more emails from new players that have discovered the Hill and love it. Here's my favorite so far:
So after 3 years of not having played I decided to go and buy a few discs and pick up the game again. I brought my 16 y/o brother with me (it was his first time). After asking the people across the street at the recycling center how to get there, we walked toward the course and were a bit leery, then we got to the first hole and got really excited when we saw the basket. The holes were pretty challenging with all the obstacles, but nonetheless, we had a great time.

The course was very well maintained and the other players there were friendly. The terrain can be challenging for a big person like myself, but after we completed the course it felt good (like I had actually exercised for the first time in a long time).

What I liked most about the course was just the sense of adventure I felt being in the woods playing a full 18 hole round of disc golf. Not many people I talk to about disc golf know what it is, and to say that you played on a course in Devens, MA in the middle of dense forestry with some intense terrain is pretty cool.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is capable and willing to walk "all hills. all the time," and I will surely be coming back myself. Thanks Devens Disc Golf Course for making my day fun today.


It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Finally, there's no rain in tonight's Wednesday Weekly forecast! Hope to see some more golfers on the Hill, 5:30 PM. Where's that #1 tag anyway?!

Meet some new golfers, have some fun, and let me take your low tag.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Welcome back, Mark!

I want to welcome my friend Mark Orwat back to the States for a brief visit. Mark is a friend from high school who graduated from West Point and is now serving in Iraq.

His wife Celeste, also from my hometown, shared this photo of him arriving in Hawaii this weekend. Awesome.

Thank you Wats and enjoy your time with your family!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Big bang boom for Devens golfers

Pro Grandmaster Ken Gary made his own fireworks this Fourth of July at the Greater Hartford Disc Golf Open in Manchester, CT. After falling behind five strokes midway through round 2, Ken battled back to force a 4-hole playoff and took down yet another GM win. Great job, Ken!

AM2 Luke Adolph kicked some butt with a solid 4th place finish on a very challenging course, while Marcy Buchanan finished 3rd in Intermediate Women.

Other Devens Hillfolk did pretty good too, with Alan MacLean finishing a very respectable 6th in AM2 and John Borelli finishing 11th in one of the most competitive AM1 fields of the year.

Nice job, everyone! It's great seeing Devens folks bringing home some more hardware!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy Birthday to us!

Yep, our baby is growing up. The Hill turned two last month!

We would really appreciate it if you showed the course some love and donated a few dollars as a birthday present.

Although the number of golfers continues to increase each month, only a handful of golfers have donated this year. Remember, we need your support to stay open and free! Five bucks every few rounds won't kill you -- it may even earn you some good karma.

Now everybody on three -- "Happy birthday to you..."