Disc Golf Etiquette

2013 Penn Valley Ice Bowl and 2013 Auburn Rain or Shine

Pre-Putt routine, Hole #2 Auburn I played in 2 tournaments in the last month – both C-tier PDGA events.  One was the Penn Valley Ice Bowl and the other was the Auburn Rain or Shine Pro/Am run by the Chain Zombies.  I had fun, played pretty well, had some high points and some low points.  Most distinctive was the way the 2 tournaments posed a completely opposite set of challenges.

The first event was the Penn Valley Ice Bowl – http://www.pdga.com/tournament_results/99574 – and my back hand pulled through remarkably well helping me to a 4th in MA2.  I was happy with my rounds largely because I displayed some good mental fortitude. The event started 1 hour late because the organizers kept letting players in.  There were so many players that I was in a 6-some both rounds and it was tiresomely slow.

Despite that, I was feeling really good with how I was holding up.  I was even tied with Jere Eshelman after about 6 holes at 3 under par in the first round; it was a pleasure playing with a pro on his home course.  I know Ice Bowls are laid back events but there was little professionalism to be found.  The event was difficult due to the lack of organization.  There was no lunch provided despite having no time to go get food.  I barely made it to a convenience store.

Second round I was playing solid -2 golf with 4 holes to go.  The darkness was fast approaching.  Par – Par.  2nd to last hole, island green, through the trees, in the dark.  Take a bogie after 3 lay ups and a drop in putt.  Last hole, short left hyzer through the scrub oaks, 175 feet, in the pitch black.  No idea how it went; I found my disc 75 feet from the basket.  Approach landed 10 feet from pin, drop in putt spit out I think; couldn’t see.  Finish bogie – bogie in the dark.  Those two strokes would have put me in 2nd.  Did everyone play the last 2 holes in the dark? I’m betting no.

So there were challenges that were out of my control.  So I feel like I dropped some strokes.  I was still in control of how I responded to those situations.  I was still in control of my process though I was rushing to play faster.  As it turns out, this is just one way to let external factors get to you.

Two weeks later I played in the Auburn Rain or Shine Pro/Am – http://www.pdga.com/tournament_results/100200 – and I had an entirely different set of challenges to face.  The Chain Zombies always have well run events.  They are timely and organized with enough support personnel and resources.  They never let in too many players players so we were in groups of 3 or 4.  Things ran very smoothly.  The problems I had were participant related.

On the 2nd hole of the first round, I flicked my max-weight Pink Firebird 10 feet from the pin on hole 11.  Everyone else putts out with a couple birdies.  I approach my lie as the rest of the group starts taking scores 10 feet behind me.  I didn’t think much of it.  I figured I was 10 feet away and the group was just assuming my putt was in.  I was assuming my putt was in. I would make it and move on despite the distraction.  I missed.

Hole 5 auburn Feb 2013

That one putt set a weird tone for the round.  The group chatted about taking score after everyone was done and being more careful.  I didn’t feel bad about it at all.  I could have waited; it was all on me.  But it set a weird tone.  Maybe I was overly aware of my surroundings.  Whatever it was, I threw my first sub-900 rated round of the year, by one stroke.

The second round was worse in some ways.  Someone near-by aced the first hole and the noise just would not fade.  I stepped off the tee a couple times before every thing quieted down.  The next holes were similar that I had to wait a couple times for people to be quiet.  On the fourth hole of the round, a member of my group yelled across a fairway at another player.  A few minutes later that same player was in front of me when I needed to approach – he had his iPod in and could not hear me. My approach was errant; I took a bogie.

He hadn’t been using a marker, he was unreasonably loud, he was standing in my lines, I let it bother me.  I warned him at the next tee-pad and he got upset.   On the next green, he asked if everyone saw him using his marker.  Even his girlfriend told him to tone it down.

I was shaken – the first warning I had given in a tournament.  The round turned out to be passable for me at 915 and I bested my opponent by a couple strokes.  I like to think I “out level-headed” him no matter how shaky I felt.  We ended on good terms so I guess everything was as it should be.

Warnings, and having to give them, are part of the game.  They will need to be a bigger part of the game if we are going to grow as a sport.  I did learn that I should have dealt with the disturbances immediately and directly and not let it go on for 3-4 holes hoping it would calm down.  Allowing such behavior is tacit approval.

As usual, my past failures only make me want to try again.  They make me look forward to the next opportunity to perform.  That will be the Lava Creek Classic – http://www.pdga.com/tournament_results/99581 – in Paradise, just outside Chico.  I’m thinking this will be the last event I play at MA2.  Despite my rating being a little low, I think I will benefit from a higher class of competition.   MA1 it will be for the St. Patrick’s in March.

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