Last Saturday, Ricky and his friend Josh McKinney played in a disc golf tournament that was called, “The Bethlehem Blind Hog Throw-Down.” The tournament consisted of two rounds of disc golf (18 holes each for those you who know little about the disc-ers and the discs and disc game): the first took place at a temporary course set up at the Apalachee High School and the second at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, GA. Now, let me start off by saying that I’ve never been to a disc golf tournament before and I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked. I didn’t know if my camera was going to piss people off or make people nervous. I wasn’t sure what kind of camera crap I needed to shoot a disc golf tournament either. I bought some new polarized filters and a zoom lens that I had originally planned to bring. At the last minute, however, I opted against bring the new lens because it is big and I’m not that comfortable with it yet. I wish that I had brought it, but I feel like my regular old lens did just fine. I also just wore my camera around on my neck so I wouldn’t have to deal with carrying unnecessary crap. I really wish that I had brought my cleaning cloth with me too because it is a dirty world out there on the disc golf course. Oh well, I’m writing this here so that I will never forget or not bring these items at the next tournament.
I found this experience pretty rad and awesome. SIDE NOTE: I’m not a huge sports fan. I watch from time to time, but I just get bored unless it is an exciting game. This disc golf tournament was radically different from any sport event I have ever attended. It was chill and relaxed. There were times when players got frustrated and pissed off, but there were no fist fights. Just friendly play with avid lovers of disc golf. I had a great time. There are many things I like about the sport of disc golf that I’d like to spout off about here in order to educate those that have never heard of or know very little about disc golf.
THE REASONS DISC GOLF IS AWESOME:
- It highly contrast “golf.” It is a chill sport and a cheap sport and an individual sport, but one where players encourage and give advice to their frustrated opponents. Don’t get me wrong, though. There are definitely players with their mad game faces on as well. But for the most part, everyone I encountered seemed cool.
- The sense of community: players know each other or recognize each other from playing in other tournaments and the tournaments consist of mixed level players (ranging from novice to pro). The different divisions are novice, recreational, intermediate, advanced and professional.
- The game always flows and is always exciting. Anything can happen in a round of disc golf.
- The courses vary in types of holes: on some holes, the pins are located out in the wide open and could be located either uphill or downhill. On other holes, the pins are tucked between the trees on trails or across bodies of water.
- It doesn’t matter how old you are: I witnessed a man who looked like he was in his early seventies come in either second or third place (can’t remember so correct me if that’s wrong) in the novice division. Pretty incredible. Still got that swagga. There was also a boy in high school playing alongside my husband (you can see him in the photos below) and he made trowing those discs far and accurately look easy. He could hang with the big boys. Lots of potential for the future.
- It is incredible to watch: I don’t know about you, but I find watching a disc soar gracefully through the air to be quite a thrilling and beautiful sight. It is also incredible to see the different shots each player must take get themselves out of certain situations… in other words, if one were to throw a disc into a thick forrest full of vines and branches, with the pin located outside the forrest, that player would have to strategize the best shot to get them out of that predicament and also get them closer to the pin (if not in the pin). Much more involved than basketball shots, folks.
- Creativity and Individuality: Not only do players have to get creative with their shots, but they also get creative with the style in which they throw their discs for different shots. You will notice in my photographs below, that every player in my husbands group (each division is split into groups consisting of four players each) has a different approach to gripping a disc, to putting and to throwing. Some may have similar styles, but individuality definitely shines as each player steps up to the tee pad, gets themselves out of tricky shots and approaches the pin.
With that being said, I leave you with these action shots I took from the first round of the tournament at Apalachee High School. The course was breathtakingly beautiful, but also difficult. The cool thing about this tournament was that the high school’s tennis team acted as spotters for various holes. This saved time for the players who lost their discs or didn’t see where their disc landed. The course was just temporarily set up for this tournament. The school’s hope is to have the course be placed their permanently. It was an awesome course that may need a few tweaks here and there, but overall, my husband enjoyed playing it and I enjoyed watching him and the rest of the players be challenged within this scenic atmosphere. The woods were thick on this course, so it was tricky if you threw your disc into it. There were vines and branches everywhere, as well as thorns. However, this added to the thrill of the game and course.
Another thing to look out for in these photographs: There was this kid (well, he was 22) in Ricky’s group named Matthew Wilson that was incredible and had quite the arm on him. He was ridiculously good and ended up getting first place in the intermediate division… he will probably be moving up to advanced for the next tournament. He used to play baseball in college . 🙂 (He’s the dude with the red hair). The disc golf world needs to get ready for him!