Toronto island is the best disc golf course you should never ever play. The design is beautiful and the challenge is top notch, but absolutely everything about this course says stay away.
First off, you have to travel to Toronto, one of the busiest cities in the world. Then you have to find a place to park under twenty dollars that is under a mile from the ferry launch you must take to get to the island. It will then cost you 7 bucks to ride the ferry over. It leaves twice an hour. After a fifteen minute boat ride it’s a half mile hike to the course. It’s not super well marked but you can make due – if you’ve made it this far, you’ve played a course or two in your life where you had to do some blind orienteering to navigate the course. The most unpleasant surprise was to discover a YMCA day camp using two offbeat holes for their own needs. They explained to me that they always use the space during the summer, so if you want to play he whole course you will have to wait for winter in Canada to do so. If all of this seems worth it, then I encourage all of you enthusiasts to go, but I strongly urge you to reconsider…
Everything in Pittsburgh should have told me not to pick up a disc and to just rest the arm for a week or two. Of course, we don’t have a week or two out here and each day provides new adventures for us. But more importantly, we needed all the famous cash found at the Brent Hambrick tournament to get us home. Well, had we cashed, which we didn’t, the famous cash was no where to be found. The tour was livid. Huge entry fee, tiny players pack which was underwhelming – the disc was a poorly hot stamped discraft disc without any ink. Most of the stamps were only half stamped. There were over twenty sponsors and “added cash” yet first place in the por womens division paid 400 bucks. Now there is going to be a lot of huffin’ and puffin’ about pay out to number of entrants, blah blah blah, but this only showcases one of the major faults to the old way of presenting tournaments – the prize should be established before the tournament and advertised as such. I bring this up because there was a lot of burn out in Columbus. A lot of it. I thought it might just be me.
Superstars are bored. The old guard is swimming in hubris. The new wave of talent wants everything given to them and they don’t want to know how all that work gets done. Speaking of which, everything Pittsburgh did wrong, hambrick did right. The courses were beautiful and well-marked. However the courses I had envisioned at that dam were not what I found. It was smaller, easier and oddly not the super course one would expect of such a prestigious tournament. And if the money is this low, there is no reason to ever go back. I think Des Moines and the Majestic are much better values. And if things continue like this other top pros are going to regionalize too. And all you have to do is say, “the Pittsburgh $5000 challenge” and people are going to come. Otherwise expect to see attendance to drop off.
The open road is a wonderful place for us to hide from all that ails us. And with every ache and even pain, comes the sight of a new course and it all goes away for a while. We played Charlie Vettiner in Louisville along with Severin. Both interesting courses. We played the mountwood monster in west Virginia famous for it’s 1000 foot down hill finishing hole. Minna drove it over 700 feet with an archon. Sadly the course is under fire from “zip line developers” who have built huge towers everywhere and eventually the course is going to lose to the thrill of zip lining over west Virginia forest. Side note – the town of mountwood is the town from Silences of The Lambs where the first victim lives.
But the big highlight of our week was idlewild. Northern Kentucky is home to some serious disc golf and this course is one of the top five rated courses in America. It’s gnarly. Long, diverse, technical with lots of water and elevation. This course is a great place to come visit, but I would drive if I were you. The park is located near the airport and there is a plaque in the park for the “3″ commercial airline crashes which have occurred there. Airplane debris is casual relief, right?
I wanted to mention his last time but I wanted to say it before I forget this again, he storms have beat up some of America’s best courses. Everywhere we go there are courses with massive tree loss. So get out and see these gems before every course looks like Shawnee Mission.
We have this last week to play Maple hill and finish off the last five states of the lower 48. IRS our hope to be home for the lions den and see everyone again. I think I will hold off the last update until we are home and I can decompress and actually write one of these things on a computer and not an iPhone.
We finished playing chili in Rochester and loved it. It occurred to me that I can’t group all courses together for a top ten. So many courses are great in their own unique way. One cannot compare Augusta National with St Andrews. They are both great and challenging, but in two vastly different ways. Such is true of what we’ve seen out here on the road. Chili is a great course and is one of my all-time favorites, but it’s not a better course than Tyler park. So how do you compare the two?
See you all soon.