A good course is one you want to play over and over again; a great course is one which kicks your ass so much you never want to play it again. Well, you want to play it again, but you wont play it as carefree as you did the first time. Its that cautiousness which haunts me all to often in tournament play. Of course, this won't prevent you from trying to get others to play that same course. Trauma loves company. It's the reason we reach out for someone's hand, or look for a hug or a shoulder to lean on in our worst moments. It's just nice to have someone else there. There's a part in Huckleberry Finn where two con artists pose as actors and fool a town into watching them perform. Their show is horrible but the people who came to see the show can't tell the rest of the town that they were duped into watching the performance so they are left with no choice than to give the performance a good review. Im sure you see where this is going. Often when Minna and I play a course which comes highly recommended we feel like the town folk from the second performance - A little bitter. Not at the con artists but the people who recommended we go see the show.
It all starts in Deleware...
Brandywine is a course which was supposed to be our salvation after two full weeks of tight technical courses. It was supposed to be a quick in and out round which would leave us enough time for other business - we were wrong. It's a huge prairie course set on a high sloping hill with a farm at the bottom of it. It was a windy day and the course took a huge toll on us physically. Huge drives up and down that hill just sent out bodies into panic mode. It was such and odd feeling to use a driver after so long, but that actually irritated my elbow. It is like blue valley with stone wall fences in the fairways.
We regrouped and headed to New Jersey for what we were told is the second worst state for disc golf after Wyoming. Vineland was anything but easy with lots of familiar technical challenges from the week before. So the miscalculation of difficulty came as a shock and we played it with a little chip on our shoulders. Believe it or not, Jersey had just survived a major hurricane and most of the course difficulty came from downed trees laying across the fairways. And correct me if I'm wrong, you can't move obstacles in front of you. Sideways trees are murder on rollers.
I think I should mention Larry. Larry Kirk is a 50 year old man from California who is traveling around America promoting disc golf by... Traveling around America playing disc golf. I'm not sure of the whole gambit there but he is quite a character. He has the personality of a mouseketeer on red bull, and the youthful energy of a 10 year old. We ran into Larry at the blockhouse in virginia and he has shown up at every course we have played since (well, not Brandywine). He's a talker and he putts with a graboid. I dont know why I mention that other than I find it odd. He is playing four courses a day and he is on his second tour of all 50 states. Anyway, he played Vineland with us.
After another trip to the ocean and a quick tour of Philadelphia, we played Sedgley Woods, America's second oldest course and it shows. In its present state it's 27 holes of under 300 foot shots. Not too bad of a course really, but a putter and another putter just for show was all it took to clean up this course. Still, Steady Ed designed it and that's pretty cool in my book.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Tyler park. 27 holes of disc golf ass-kickery. Larry was there for what would be the fourth course in four different states in four days he would play with us. I wish had a more fluid vocabulary to make everyone understand how challenging this course is. Everything fly boy is, this course is, but public. Instead of removing the limbs and trunks of trees from the course they neatly stack them as obstacles. Imagine down under from hole 1 to basket 18 all in one hole. It's that sort of long and thats just the beginning of this never ending punishment. I loved it. But there's no way I could play that course everyday.
We took a day off due to severe weather and so we could figure out the riduculous streets of Pennsylvania. And so we could pay close to 30 bucks in tolls in the process. It was aggravating. I will never again complain about the very simple roads of the Midwest after this. It can take 3 miles to go around the block and require a toll of 3 bucks or take thirty minutes. Or both.
Pittsburgh is famous for its collection of tough courses. Deer lakes is on the top ten at dgcoursereview. We found Moraine and Knob hill to be harder and more enjoyable courses but they both lose points for their flypad tee boxes. The courses kicked our butts bad. A lot was working against me but ultimately I just didn't play the courses that well. Minna won by showing up. They let her play with the open ladies and she did just fine. It proved she could hold her own on courses which beat up a lot of people.
In front of us is Brent hambrick and Idlewild and Vettiner and other great courses. After re-injuring my elbow, I think we are going to let Minna bring home the bacon for a while. I will be glad to play at a diminished pace but still, better to play half as well on a great course than lights out on a dull one. Or, at least, that is how I'm going to tell you I did.