Today was such a fun day! Fifty-four challenging holes of disc golf on two new courses near the Virginia border, while getting the chance to talk Eric Vandenberg‘s ear off in the van, as well as sharing the fairways with Eric and Lowe Bibby! Two incredibly nice guys, with skills on the course!
Our first stop on the day was at Rockness Monster in Roxboro, North Carolina. That was where Eric and I had agreed to meet Lowe, but when we arrived, we saw a closed gate and a sign saying the course wouldn’t be available to play for a couple of hours. But no worries! There was a second course several minutes down the road that we had planned to play today as well: Sasquatch DGC.
Sasquatch DGC was every bit as good as Eric and Lowe had mentioned it would be. A lot of variety in shots needed off the tees and in the fairways on this 7,376-foot monster! With a few chances to wind up OB wet if one decided to throw caution to the wind and/or not execute your shots properly. I bogeyed Holes C, D and I, while getting deuces/birdies on Holes 3, B and 18, to finish with an even-par 82 (an estimated round rating of 961). It was a struggle though, as I was making several mistakes off the tee and in the fairway. Feeling a bit embarrassed, as I wanted Eric and Lowe to think I know what I am doing with a disc in my hands.
I thought I would include a photo (above) from one of the tees we decided not to play during our round. Not because we were scared! Rather, we didn’t want to waste a lot of time trying to retrieve lost discs, as we had 54 holes to play today (as well as a long drive home). But the above photo will give you an idea of some of the challenging shots required off the tee! Misjudge the angle at which you needed to release your disc? Come in too high? Too low? Too short? Too fast? And “splash.” A lot of fun, from the standpoint of risk/reward and the scoring spread designed into the course!
After finishing our round at Sasquatch, it was back to Rockness Monster to see if it was open for play. Thankfully, it was! And after a few holes, I could see why it got its name. Big rocks/boulders everywhere, cleverly integrated into fairways and inside the circle around several baskets. And Holy Long/Tough Course, Batman! 🙂 9,445 feet over 27 holes! And the sixth through the fifteenth holes we played absolutely kicked my behind!
I was sitting at three under par after our first five holes. Rock solid (pun intended…ha)! 🙂 But over the next ten holes, I took five bogeys and a double-bogey. The course absolutely destroyed me. And I think I hit just about every tree from the tee to the basket on half the holes during that stretch of terrible play. I was tired. I was hurt. But worst of all, I was frustrated (later apologizing to Lowe for me sort of “losing my Minnesota Nice” and playing angry without patience). I didn’t take it out on Lowe and Eric! But I am sure that I was the opposite of fun to play with for a couple of holes. 🙁
It all came to a head on Hole 21. After hitting what felt like my 40th tree on my tee shot, my second shot, my THIRD shot, my FOURTH shot, my FIFTH shot (sigh), I felt like I was ready to let out a yell/growl and that my skin would be turning green as I turned into The Incredible Hulk at any moment! I was still about 125 feet away from the basket on the 556-foot hole, looking at me needing to put at LEAST a seven on my card (IF I could manage to not hit more trees and not go OB wet near the basket).
That was it. I had reached my breaking point! So I angrily walked up to my ProLine Squall, picked it up, and without even looking at the basket or setting my feet? I angrily flicked it (backhand) in the direction of the basket. I don’t think I even watched the flight of the disc, as I was so frustrated that I just turned around to grab my backpack to see what the NEXT tree I hit had been. Then I all of the sudden heard: “Ching!” I turned around to see my Squall in the basket, LOL. I’d been trying SO hard to show Eric and Lowe that I know what I am doing…then after struggling mightily over the past 9-10 holes, I sink a ~125-footer without even trying.
I played much looser and more relaxed after that stroke of luck, finishing five under par over the last twelve holes, to finish -3 (94) on my round, with an estimated round rating of 955. I was still a bit embarrassed for losing my patience in the middle of the round. But Lowe and Eric didn’t seem to hold it against me. For which I was grateful.
It isn’t about scores or ratings, of course! But I think I play a lot tighter when I am playing with other people. Not because I want to “beat” them on the card! Rather, because I want them to think I am a “good player.” I’ve been playing for SO many years! And hitting trees every 75-100 feet, or missing 20-foot putts, or ??? is embarrassing. When I am by myself? I can make lots of great shots and sink lots of great putts! But get other people around, and I start thinking: “What if i miss? Will they think I am a fraud? Saying I can make lots of good shots or post lots of good estimated round ratings, then not being able to ‘walk my talk’ when other people are around?”
It definitely gives me an appreciation for players who can shoot Pro-caliber rounds in front of lots of people, with lots (more) on the line! I can get some of those rounds when I am alone! But I often wilt in the presence of others. Which is one of the reasons I need to stick to course collecting to get my “fifteen minutes” in the sport. Since I too often choke when a lot more is on the line.
Magic Number = 147 (1,853 Courses Played)
How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >>
A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.
Derek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed’s (the father of disc golf and the modern-day Frisbee) vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.