Sunday, July 11, 2010

Going for the Gold

Today was the Sunflower State Games Disc Golf singles competition, held at Shunga Park.  There is an open division, which all the younger guys play.  I play in the Masters division, which is for those 40 and over.  There is a division for 50 and over, 60 and over, and then 70 to infinity.  For today's tournament, everyone in Masters division or higher were all combined into one division, so there were 5 guys competing for the gold, silver, and bronze medals.  In the morning I played really well, throwing a three over par 57.  That ended up being the third lowest score by anyone in the entire tournament.  In the afternoon I didn't do as well, slipping to a 63.  Still, it was good enough to win the gold medal by one stroke.  I also won a free disc from the guys of LS Discs, who put on the local disc golf tournaments.
What is disc golf?  It is basically the same as golf, only you throw special frisbie discs and the hole is a basket with chains that help to catch the disc and drop it into the basket.  I have been playing pretty regularly for about 15 years now.  There are three disc golf courses in Topeka- an 18 hole course in Shunga Park, another one out at Lake Shawnee, and a nine-hole course by Rice Community Center.

Here is a photo of me taken this evening by Lyndy in our back yard wearing my gold medal.  I'm standing next to a disc golf basket which I have in the yard for practice.  You throw the discs at these baskets.  If you can hit the chains, the disc will usually just fall into the basket.  They are not normal Frisbie type discs.  They are smaller and are very hard plastic that can be thrown a long way.  There are two main brands- Discraft and Innova.  Just as you carry a lot of golf clubs in regular golf, you use a lot of discs in disc golf.  Different discs fly in different ways, depending on the shot you need to take.   The holes are generally anywhere from 100-250 yards long, and on most courses they are all par threes. 

This photo shows me and some of the competitors walking to one of the tees.   The bags we are carrying are full of discs.   At this point in the course you have to cross this parking lot.  Today's tournament was two rounds.  They add together your scores from both rounds to determine the winners for each division.  The first round started at 10:00 am and finished about noon.  For about three holes it was raining pretty hard, then the sun came back out and it was very steamy on the course.  After the morning rou nd ended we broke for a quick lunch.   I don't live far from the course so I went home and ate, took a shower and changed clothes.  The second round started a little after 1:00 in the afternoon and finished around 3:15.  It never rained in the afternoon but it was very humid.   This was my third year of competing in the Sunflower Games disc golf tournament.  I won a gold medal last year, and a silver medal in 2008.   There are a lot of disc golf players in Kansas, and there is a tournament almost every weekend somewhere in the state, part of what is known as the Oz Tour.  I have competed in quite a few of these tournaments since my first one in 1995.  I conclude this article with a scan of my three Sunflower State Games disc golf medals (L-R 2010, 2009, 2008).


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