My USDGC experience

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james
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My USDGC experience

Post by james » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:12 am

Ok. So Jester gave me this idea to document my experience here at USDGC in a blog type format. I love this idea I think it gives me an opportunity to convey how special this tournament is to anyone who could possibly go in the future. I really want to give a good account of what I have learned is such a special place to come and play disc golf. So here goes...

My story begins on a sour note. After flying into Newark on Sunday I discovered that my flights to Charlotte we're cancelled so I had to get a taxi into the hole in the world that is New Jersey. From Jersey I booked myself onto the Greyhound which is the American equivalent of Megabus as I was soon to learn. So after waiting for 6 hours in this bus station (the bus was supposed to be there after 5) I finally boarded my 15 hour bus to Charlotte. I won't bore you with the details but lets just say the whole trip sucked the big one and I was happy to finally collapse onto my bed when I reached the Wingate hotel in Rock Hill South Carolina. Although, Swing Low Sweet Chariot being played at a bus station in Richmond Virginia at 3AM was a particular high point of my trip.

I had a little nap at the hotel and set off for a small explore around Rock Hill. I found Walmart. It was awesome, that is all. My next task was to get a lift to the course for my practice round on the Tuesday. I scanned the players list and saw that Scott Reek, an ex-military man who spent a number of years playing in England, was also at the Wingate so I managed to organise a lift to the course with him and I was set. We had a small chat and Scott is now running the retail side of Dynamic Discs out of Kansas City so things are going well!

We set off at 9 the next day to play the course where we met up with another Kansas man, Dick Parker. He quickly became one of my favourite people in Disc Golf and the three of us set off for a practice round. I had heard that this course was amazing, but I could never imagine what was in store! I've played some good courses in my time but this is by far the most incredible thing I've ever seen. Every hole had me in awe, it was beautiful and challenging at the same time. More importantly, I played it well! I came in from my round with a 65, 2 under par and around 14 under my projected score for the performance flight. Bagger. Highlights of the round included a par on the iconic 1083ft par 5 5th, a birdie on the very difficult par 5 13th (Nate Doss took two 8s on it last year). And Birdies on 9, 10, 15 and 18. All in all I was very impressed and I have to thank Derek for his profound advice of just throwing it 90m in a straight line!

I proceeded to the pro shop after my round and found my disc golf paradise. The place was wall to wall discs there must have been thousands in there just on the shelves alone. So after spending $70 with an intention to come back for at least another $70 I headed back to the hotel to prepare for the players meeting in the evening. This is where it gets good.

The players meeting was my highlight of the day. We walked in and it was just like any other big tournament, lots of chairs lined up and a bit of food. It was only when I saw that there was a beer stand serving Lagunitas, a fantastic brewer from San Francisco with some wonderful pale ales and a brilliant 'undercover shut down ale'. So I walked over and ordered a pint (or what the Americans poor excuse for a pint is) and to my absolute shock, all the beer and the food was FREE!! Yes you read correctly, free! In my state of euphoria I began drinking to my hearts content with Dick and nearly missed the beginning of the meeting, oops. The meeting was the usual talk but with the added touch of thanking numerous sponsors and a really great 5 minutes of applause as the volunteers came out of the back room, there was loads of them! At the end they announced the tee times and pronounced my name wrong typically. For those interested I start at 13.40 tomorrow so 18.40 for you guys. The meeting ended on a fantastic note when we were told that as well as all the free beer we had drunk we were all entitled to a free six pack of Lagunitas to take home, I'm enjoying it as I type this.

After the meeting was over we were free to come up and collect our players pack. It came in a box. Not a small box. A massive box. The highlights of the pack included a USDGC bag tag with my name and PDGA number on it, a USDGC coloured roc3 with my name and United Kingdom written on it which is now a prize possession, and a voucher for Keen that gives me 50% off my next order (I'll be getting my shoes soon so hit me up and we can all get some half price shoes dudes!!). The pack also included a Gstar Thunderbird, Aviar, Gstar Dominator, Legacy putter, Atlas, CD2 and an ultra star all printed with the USDGC logo. I also got a towel, a beer holder, a mini and a lighter along with a few stickers and vouchers for free burgers at a few food places. It's amazing. I'm gonna post a photo up of the full players pack on Facebook tomorrow.

Anyway that concludes my first day the the USDGC, and what a day it was. I really appreciate everyone's support and I hope I can represent for the UK. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be posting here with some great news about my first round. Big shout out to Matt and Mendip for making this possible.
Peace xxx
Ken Climo isn't the only Champ.

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BaggerBlakehill
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:45 am

Great write up James, it sounds like heaven! I'm sure I speak for a huge number of people back home when I say that I can't express just how much I'd love to be out there too and of course good luck for tomorrow. It sounds like you've got a handle on the course already which is really good to hear too! I'll be watching as much of the live action as I can via Disc Golf Planet TV so will keep an eye out for you!

Go out and tear it but more importantly, enjoy it dude!
Still suffering from early wood

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Jester
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by Jester » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:14 pm

Great Day 1 report, James, keep it coming. Having had the privilege two years ago to do what you’re doing, I know what you mean about the whole USDGC experience just being so overwhelming - from the players meeting to the hospitality to the pro shop. Oh, and the course! Please say hi to Scottie Reek for me. :)

Have a great 1st round, looking forward to reading your blow by blow account. My caddy tip – go for the ace on #17 every time. It’s only gonna cost you a couple of shots if you miss it and get wet, but hit it and you’ll be a legend!
Jester
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BaggerBlakehill
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:23 pm

Jester, if you go OB in 17 you play from your previous lie so if you miss and go in the water you're reteeing for 3 surely?
Still suffering from early wood

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Mark.A.D
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by Mark.A.D » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:40 pm

the caddy book says rethrow from lie if you go ob at any time, even on the green
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BaggerBlakehill
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:53 pm

Exactly so if you went OB from the tee, you re-tee for 3. Don't get me wrong though, you'd still be a legend in my eyes for even trying it! :)
Still suffering from early wood

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Mark.A.D
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by Mark.A.D » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:06 pm

good one to run on a 76 metre hole
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Jester
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by Jester » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:13 pm

BaggerBlakehill wrote:Jester, if you go OB in 17 you play from your previous lie so if you miss and go in the water you're reteeing for 3 surely?
Yep, that's right, mate. My point was if I had the chance to do it again, I'd run the ace 4 times out of 4 as in my (limited) experience it’s just as easy to mess up trying to play safe. When I layed up in the first two rounds I went dbl OB 6, dbl OB 5. When I went for it in the last two rounds I went 3, 2!

James is the kinda guy who I'd back to go for it. :) But if he's on a good round with two to play will he hold on to those guns? I can't wait to see!
Jester
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BaggerBlakehill
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:01 pm

Ah I see what you mean jester, sorry :)
Still suffering from early wood

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Jester
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by Jester » Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:03 pm

NP, pal. Our boy tees off in just of 90 mins, hope he's hitting the practice 9 and driving range about now...
Jester
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BaggerBlakehill
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:08 pm

Yeah I'm already watching the coverage :) I'm sure he's doing some sort of practise
Still suffering from early wood

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james
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by james » Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:07 am

Ok then here we go with the eagerly anticipated second instalment.

My day started at 6:30am. Me and Scott headed to the course to get in line for the special edition rocs. We had no idea what they were going to be so it was a real surprise. The rocs are a full colour champion roc3 I think. They made 7 different designs with the 7 champions names and the years they won on them. A few of you will have seen my photo on Facebook, the disc is beautiful. We had the choice to buy 4 but I only wanted 1, such a Climo fan boy. I used my other three so that Scott could complete the set and have all 7, it's the least I could do!

I started my round at 13:40 with three guys- Rocky, Colby and Brian. They were awesome and the general banter throughout the round made it a really enjoyable experience. I started averagely with pars on 1+2. A stupid bogey on 3 was followed by what I felt were well played pars on 4+5, two of the hardest holes on the course I think. Sadly on 6 I lost my straight flying red firebird short of the sand and had to settle for an OB 4. I smartly laid up to the opening on the bamboo hole 7 and took my easy 3. Hole 8 bought about my first birdie of the round, I played two good shots up the very tight fairway and nailed a 14m putt to take the 3. By this point I had my fellow players figured out, Colby and Brian were aggressive players, they loved to hit the big shots and when they did it was really good. However, when it went wrong they were punished, badly. Rocky was steady and had a solid putt but a few errors gave him a tricky front nine from which he never recovered. I played a good hole 9 and narrowly missed my birdie putt but took a solid par. 10 was my first really bad hole, after driving OB I misjudged how far it was from the drop zone and landed short. My second from the drop zone was inspired and ended up 7m away leaving me a putt for 6...I missed it. Coming away with a 7 was disappointing but I knew I had time to fix it. Another OB on 11 would leave me with a 5 and 2 over the 4s. This was where it started to get good.

I played hole 12, a 900ft par 4 to perfection and took a well deserved par which felt like a birdie to be perfectly honest. And so we moved on to the aptly named 888 hole 13. A par 5 with a fairway that can be no wider than 15m with a road on the right side to allow a skip. I threw my sidewinder straight down the road and finished ahead of where most of the guys were for 2 so I was fairly pleased with the result. My second, a low hyper out over the road skipped into a ditch type thing leaving me no run up but I still managed to hyper my viper to within 11 meters. Unfortunately I couldn't make the putt and had to settle with a par, still a good result in my eyes. 14 produced a great drive down the hill leaving me a downhill putt of about 13m which I laid up in order to ensure my 3. 15 is a hole I love. A 90m alley that opens up and bends 50m round to the left with a basket situated amongst a host of trees. I threw my drive perfectly down the alley with a krait and left myself a hyzer shot round some trees. The hyzer managed to skip through what seemed like a forest and give me an easy tap in birdie which was followed up by a simple par on 16. At this point I clocked that were I to par 17 and 18 I would finish -8 to my projection and be in with a real chance. However my disc selection on 17 was just off, my fuse ended up the wrong side of the hay bales by what can only by a couple of feet. I subsequently put my other fuse straight into the water and luckily made my third with an aero. I really wish I had taken Jesters advice here and run it with a putter as the finesse with the fuse really cost me the score I was after. But hey there's always tomorrow to attack it! This took me to 18. I threw my drive a bit short and had a decision to make, did I go for a big hyzer flip to reach the basket for the birdie or lay up and take the easy par? Having just taken a 7 I convinced myself I needed to attack, a stupid decision and the only bad one I feel I made all day. Some shots were executed wrong but this was just bad course management. I hyzered out and ended up OB only managing to scramble for a 6.

So in two holes I managed to take myself from -8 to -1. It wasn't ideal. But I felt confident with the way I played, the sidewinder was flying perfectly for the straight shots and there was a lot to be positive about. If I can have a bit more conviction tomorrow and make the right decisions I know a round in the 60s is out there. I finished with a 77, not the best score but I feel like I haven't done myself a disservice.

The performance flight is interesting, there are a few guys who are -16 but as Scott told me today, they can very easily shoot a +2 tomorrow and fall down the order. My aim for the week is to finish -15 or more and finish in the top 10 to qualify for next year, that's the dream! Scott played an awesome round and starts tomorrow in the top card, long may it continue!

I feel as though this course is amazing. But it doesn't even begin to account for how amazing the tournament is. All day at the hospitality tent you have guys making burgers and tacos and meatballs and all kinds of stuff for the players with big coolers of drinks. All free. Needless to say after a 4 1/2 hour round it's amazing to be able to pop in and get some home cooked food for no charge, just another little thing they do and it's much appreciated. This is accompanied by the golf buggies that drive around and pick you up to take you to and from the parking lot and the HQ. These little things are what I will really remember about the tournament, they really do make all the difference to your experience.

As you saw, Paul shot a 53 today. Let me tell you first hand. It was sickening. But this tournament is not over by a long shot. There a lot of twists and turns yet to come. Never rule out Nate Doss!

On a side note, me and Scott went to Applebee's tonight and I had chilli cheese fries (after seeing them on basically every tv show). Now I see why this is an unhealthy country, people have a meal as a side to their meal, but god it was good :)

Again I wanna say thanks to all you guys sending me messages of support, I know there's a good round out there and the beauty of the performance flight is you only need 1 hot round to get in contention. Last year the winner shot a -13 in the last round to come from nowhere and win, that's the dream.
Thanks for reading, I'll be back tomorrow. Ya'll come back now! X
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LostMeow
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by LostMeow » Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:39 am

Mmmm, chilli cheese fries...

Great work with the round and the blog - I enjoyed the auto-correct phrase "managed to hyper my viper"!
Tom
ND

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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by SteveCox » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:55 am

Yeah great work James... stay inbounds.....

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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by abonjour » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:36 am

Enjoying the updates, good luck for round 2! :)

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BaggerBlakehill
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:47 am

Nice work James and like Tom mentioned already "hyper the viper" is superb. That's gotta be a tshirt print or maybe even a disc dye ;)

Anyway, good luck for round 2 man!
Still suffering from early wood

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Jester
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by Jester » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:11 am

Ah, hole #17. What a teasing little bugger it is. ;) Solid start to the week though, James. Coming in -1 your projected score in the first round is very tidy. Keep that scorecard looking as good as this in the next three rounds and you'll def move up the leaderboard: http://www.usdgclive.com/leaderboard/performance/

Caddy advice for round 2? It'll sound clichéd, but try and forgot everything that just happened in round 1 and take round 2 one shot at a time. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and the 2nd round trap that's all to easy to fall into is trying to make up 1st round mistakes while taking on other shots that aren't there. That path only leads to one place, the wrong side of the ropes, and you don't want or need to go there! :) Just keep the head switched on like you did on the tee of #7 and keep it all steady.

Looks like you might be playing with Dustin Fournier in round 2? I'm sure I've shared a card with him in the past, please say hi from me.

Good luck!
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BaggerBlakehill
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:24 am

Wise words there Jester. I think I need to print that out and carry it with me to read just before every 2nd, 3rd and 4th round ;)

More importantly though.... "HYPER THE VIPER!!" :D :D
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Still suffering from early wood

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Jester
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by Jester » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:31 am

#HyperTheViper #DeepInTheGame :D
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Paul Holden
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Re: My USDGC experience

Post by Paul Holden » Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:23 pm

Any comments on the Hazard rule? Looks like it might be a really good way to set up holes in large fields, e.g. 9 at Croydon or new 14/15 at Burnlaw where if there was a continuous OB line it would be difficult to really know where you have crossed without several spotters. There are a couple of holes on the Mendip full course that might benefit as well. Makes a change from having a single drop zone.
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