Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Phoenixes & Rainy Days: A Highbridge Hills SC Review, Pt 3

Part 3... Like a Rock (or Wet Dreams)

Waking in the morning of the second day, feeling decidedly unlike P. Diddy, one topic pervaded my mind... rain. Why wouldn't it rain on the day I had awaited for years? The storm had began the evening before, and by my waking at 6 a.m. the downfall remained. I won't lie; I was getting mighty disconcerted. After all this time to be hampered by the weather was almost too much to bear. In my mind, I ran through the possibilities, and I imagined we would likely need to relocate back to the Twin Cities for any semblance of a bachelor weekend. But I wasn't prepared to give up just yet.

By the time a normal person awakes on vacation, the rains had abated, and in the young morning, a heavy mist lay throughout the area. We decided to give it a go. By 10 a.m. we were heading out to our first sortie of the day, Granite Ridge. The original plan was to hit up the Woodland Green as a nice little warm up. This changed for two reasons. We had stumbled through most of the Woodland course the day before. It also seemed as if the length of the courses were an unknown factor. The length of them were beyond your typical course, meaning any given round is destined to last about twice as long as the norm. So we decided to reassess our options and went straight for those courses we truly wished to play. Number one on the list was obviously the Gold course, but we were saving that for the afternoon.

While Blueberry Hill was high on the list, we had looked at Granite Ridge as our best option for the morning round. With the fog hanging heavy in the air and water soaking our shoes, we trudged out to the course to give it the "what for". Admittedly, I was a little depressed about the situation and felt none too good about my game that morning. So, as we walked up to hole 1 and saw... well, nothing but the tee pad and haze, I volunteered my services as spotter, hoping to avoid being the first up and embarrassing myself. Hole 1 sloped downhill about 300 ft, a fairly straight shot, but islands of trees forced you to take either a hyzer or anhyzer line to get to the basket. I took my place around 200 ft down the hill, allowing me a pretty good vista of any shot to come down. The problem? I couldn't see the tee pad! I'm telling you... FOGGY!

Standing down there, depressed, wet and cold, I began preparing myself for what I thought would be a very long day. Then, appearing out of nowhere, a disc came hovering overhead, landing somewhere beyond me and to the left. Then another. And each time a disc passed overhead, joy slowly started to sneak in. The soft buzzing overhead and the sensation of discs appearing out of nowhere combined with the beautiful surroundings and great company lifted my spirits. When my turn finally came, my blind shot landed right around the putting circle and I finished with a birdie putt. At that point, I was off and running.

While our experience was greatly impacted by the weather conditions, the round was wonderful! Granite Ridge is a wonderful array of options, providing slightly wooded shots mixed with a number of more open shots. The course is aptly named, noting the large rocky outcroppings. Some elevation change and water comes into play. And since I could generally drive the farthest of our group, I loved the amount of longer, open holes! I have the round scores somewhere and I will post them in time, but in spite of throwing into a creek bed marked OB, I still came within striking distance of par. And for my first time on a course, that was a stinking good round for me. This post is long enough already, but let it be known that for me, Granite Ridge was the best course we played... until the afternoon, anyways!

"... But no one here is asking..."


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Slimming Down

Slimming down may not just be a New Years resolution but a disc golf resolution as well. I’m not talking about losing weight here. I’m talking about losing discs. But not in the traditional sense of grip locking one on North Valley Park’s (now just The Valley) treacherous hole 15. For the rookies that hole is a 615 foot anhyzer line over a huge pond with not much room to spare by landing on the side of a hill.

No I am am suggesting that I move from a period in my disc golf career where it’s not so much expansion/exploration of new plastic/discs but a contraction and lightening the load that I have to carry. Those of you who have played with me know I carry a full bag. I believe its up to 22-24 strong. Do I play with all 22-24 on a given day? Well that depends on the course. But it has come to my attention after watching a few new disc golf dvds that my bag may be a little over crowed with plastic I either haven’t mastered enough to feel comfortable throwing in a given round or just “think I might need/have that shot.”

The thought for this post came from a conversation I heard between our favorite disc golf announcer Billy Crump and David Feldberg speaking about Nikko Locastro’s mixed bag he throws meaning he plays with discs put out by companies that don’t sponsor him. Anyway back to the point. Most pros will tell you to practice a lot and get good at throwing a few discs...then buy multiples of those discs and wear them in to different points and you will be all set.

Seeing as I won’t be a sponsored player anytime soon. (but one can dream right...) I have been really thinking about that piece of advice from the pros and thinking about the discs in my bag currently. Do I really need 22-24 different discs? I can say that in hindsight because I did just put some discs in to “fill the bag” but I can probably think of at least 2-4 discs that I don’t throw on a given day and that I could replace with another disc that is already in my bag. My thought is to over the next few weeks as the winter season in the Land of 10,000 mosquit....Lakes starts to close (Lord willing) is to really take a look at the discs I have in my bag and pair some of those down and look to adding a few multiples and work on breaking a few in. I’ve done that already with my buzzes. I have a pretty beat in ESP buzz that I can manipulate to any shot and I have a stiffer Z-plastic buzz that holds the line you throw it on. Which works great for tight wooded shots. To each his own in the quest for the lowest round of the day.

May the post find you inspired to play a round.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sober Up Freddy

This time of year, I miss my disc homeys. We just never seem to talk much during the offseason. Part of it I understand. I mean, what is there to talk about other than flying plastic? That said, I'm making an effort to stay friends with folks beyond the chains of the course and the pixels of the blog.

Jiggs and I had a chance to get out on the course a couple times in January. The King and I will get to catch up tomorrow. URBWes is a little harder to get in touch with, but after repeated texts and voicemails, I received a video update from him. A bit more than I expected, but it was sweet to catch up.

Anyways, I thought I'd post it all to you, figuring we are all friends, and you might be interested. He displays what's going on at work at 1:34. His music work can be found at 1:20. And his love life is at 1:26. He even gave me the good ol' Shooters at 0:55 like we used to do in high school. You can also definitely feel the influence from other videos he's done. Saturday Night Fever ring a bell, Lady's Man?

Anyways, here's the video. Hope you enjoy...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blizzard Champ

On a day when we are getting 3" of snow, I found it noteworthy to mention the new line of plastic from Innova. It is called Blizzard Champion. This plastic incorporates thousands of microbubbles into the Champ plastic line. The benefit of this is high speed with lighter weight premium plastic which equals greater distance in the right conditions. Innova stated that testing has shown discs under 140 grams of the Blizzard Champ line of plastic will float in water!

Their are only 4 discs currently available in the Blizzard Plastic line up (Wraith, Destroyer, Katana, and Boss). I think the destroyer will fit nicely in my bag to start with. Which one if any/all will you be picking up for this upcoming season of DG?


Sunday, February 12, 2012

On Phoenixes & Rainy Days: A Highbridge Hills SC Review, Pt 2... Pt 2

A Bear Woodland Recap in pictures and video...

In an effort to give a better picture of the experience, I thought it might be sweet to include some more tangible expressions of the course. While my memories contain much that was never captured for posterity, I think this could approximate in greater fullness when considered along with my words. I debated including them in the other post, but concern for length stayed my hand. Enjoy this second offering...

The above image is the group sans MRK the cameraman. Solid.

Here's a sweet pic of Jiggs the Jiggalo with some happy rays of sunshine (the last we would have on the trip). From the looks of it, this might be the putt up a mound.

This is a typical vista on the course. Many tall trees, yet some nicely defined lines that really shape the course quite nicely.

This was a great hole (#2 I believe) even if it ended poorly for me. If we could pan to the right, we could see two different alley ways to the right and left. The route to the left gradually doglegs back to the right in a long arch (~450 ft). The route to the right arches around to meet up with the first, leaving an approach when you're done... as long as you have a big arm. And halfway down the right side is a separate arch branching around, approaching the hole from the other side. Really nice set up!

And boom. There you go.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

On Phoenixes & Rainy Days: A Highbridge HIlls SC Review, Pt 2

Part 2... Grin & Bear It

Course: Bear Woodland

Time: Friday, late afternoon

Round: Arriving in the mid-afternoon on Friday, we promptly exited the vehicles and, before even finding out where we were staying, got in some putt practice. Eventually, we were able to connect up with John and get situated. In fairly short order, we were heading to the courses.

Our high-minded aspirations had us completing the whole series of major courses over the 40ish hours we were on site. Reflecting back on it, naive... so naive. I suppose we merely hoped for such an outcome, which as you may have guessed by now, did not come to fruition. Anyway, the plan was to hit up the Bear, a newer course that looked densely wooded. Saturday we would ease into the day with Woodland Greens ( a shorter, easier course); roll into Highbridge Gold for the Money Putt competition (winner won the money putter); capping the day off with some Granite Ridge action. The following morning, we would squeeze in Blueberry Hill before departure. One of those rounds we would make doubles, and we planned on throwing Chestnut Grove, the night course, one of those nights.

Well, as it turned out, the seasonal rains caused delays in completing the Bear course. Instead, they played the first 7 holes, then jumped over to Woodland Greens to finish off the round. Turns out it was a fairly nifty set up for those interested in throwing the Bear, though it prevented us from throwing hole 12 located near a live bear cave. Perhaps better that way...

Warning: The following account is admittedly colored by the viewpoint of its author. My experience is forever influenced by playing such rounds through my own eyes. Other authors will most assuredly have their own varied accounts that may differ greatly than my own.

Now I can tell you about how much the round sucked.

At least it did for me. Let us paint a picture. In the picture is a young man on the cusp of the most life-changing experience outside religious. Enter an opportunity to cross off one of the more long-standing bucket list items known to him. He seizes the carp, using the traditional male ritual for such a purpose. The moment finally arrives. What follows can only be described as a cruel, cosmic joke. Suddenly a decade's worth of effort and experience vanishes, leaving the remains of shattered expectations and broken dreams. I played that poorly. To be fair... I may have been pressing.

Regardless, I was about as useful as a "Birdie" putter out there. Others had more positive experiences. MRK played well and Jiggs played outside of his mind! I thought URBWes acquitted himself fairly well, though I don't recall him being particularly satisfied with the performance. BryJohn and "El Cuñado" also did well.

Let us be clear. The issue was not the course, at least the Bear portion. The Bear is a wooded, yet well manicured course that I will be excited to play on better terms. Tight fairways and multiple lines on a number of holes provide a challenging and beautiful experience. The Woodland Greens was a different experience. Not bad just... different. It struck me as just another wooded course. Nothing too spectacular. The Bear's holes were much more precise and lengthy; Woodland much more open. Woodland had a few cool shots (a neat one on a hill), but nothing about the course particularly struck my fancy. In retrospect, Playing just Woodland would have been a wonderful warm up/confidence builder.

Heading back to the cabin after the round, I could have used that confidence. I had hopes that tomorrow would bring a new day, full of new experiences. Then came the rain...

"... the first to volunteer..."


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Fantasy Maps

I know I promised my response to Highbridge was forthcoming, however, I had to make this post instead. I hope you will see why. In the end, I leave for a conference tomorrow morning, plane departure at 6:45am. I'm not sure, but this means that I likely will not be able to complete my first course review until I return. The upside is that I have half of the post completed already.

And on with the post...

As you may have noticed (or not because it was a fairly non-descript change), we have made a long desired addition to the blog. We have, on the right side under "pages", added a course map designed to display those courses our members have played. It is far from complete, but even now you can get a sense of the breadth of experience we have. If you are a Cold Lamper and have an addition, let me know and I'll get it up there in short order.

The second update I have concerns two distinct pastimes that I know most of us enjoy: fantasy sports and disc golf. We now have the opportunity to combine the two. That's right... fantasy disc golf! Deadline is the end of February. I'm down if you are...

Short, simple, and important post. I hope you enjoy the map. I'm sure it'll grow in complexity and information as I spend more time on it. But now I need to get some sleep. See you on the flip side!