Saturday July 19th. 5:00 am. Marc Miller will be at my house at any moment.
We are incredibly lucky that it is not going to be 107 degrees like it has been for most of the last month. I made sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep – sometimes difficult for me the night before an event. I purchased energy bars, energy goos, energy waffles, Gatorade, beef jerky, bottled water, and Starburst Flav-a-reds.
I have my Ten-7 knee brace, ice packs, Ibuprofen, Excedrin, and SPF 50 sun block. I have 3 sets of boxers, 3 pairs of socks, 3 t-shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 golf hat, 1 golf visor, 1 pair of light weight pants, and 1 cooling towel. I bought a golf pull cart rigged to carry my discs, Marc’s discs, and a cooler loaded with frozen bottles of water.
We are about to play the Flipper Memorial – 60 holes of golf in 1 day at 3 different courses. Marc is 46 and I am 38 and we seemed to easily be the oldest of the teams. I was told that they did not offer a Master’s Division because no one that old was crazy enough to attempt to play 60 holes of golf in the Gold Country sun of Northern California in mid-July. No one but us.
Round 1 starts at 8:30 in Auburn, Ca about an hour away. We get some coffee and head up the hill. We are at the course about 7 ready to warm up. At only 65 degrees out, this is by far the most pleasant weather we will deal with today. We only throw 3 holes of practice golf – a third of our normal warm up routine. Lots of stretching, lots of putting, not a lot of driving. We don’t want to throw out our arms before we start. We won’t finish golfing until 7 pm.
Auburn has some extra holes set up pushing the number to 24. They are set very reachable but frequently tricky. My forehand usually benefits from short tricky courses and I’m able to be aggressive off the tee. Miller and I share the putting responsibilities and we get half the holes to finish at -12.
We grab a couple burritos and get on the road to Penn Valley 45 minutes away. We pull into the parking lot at about 12:30 pm feeling the 10 degrees higher temperature.
We knew Penn Valley would test us the most. Penn is longer, hotter, and harder than both of the other courses. We had hoped to play it last in the cooling evening air but here we are, showing up just in time to pick up our card and head to our tee at 1 pm in the high 90’s.
Penn treats me poorly like it usually does. We struggle. Despite feeling like we are playing a lot better than the other team on our card, we cannot seem to pull ahead. We are par-ing out more easily but getting the same par. By the end, we are only 1 under par and hoping we are more competitive than it seemed. The heat and length of the course get to us both. Miller’s back is bugging him.
We finish the Penn 18 feeling pretty rough at 3:30PM completely sweat through. Neither one of us feel good about our contribution. We left so many strokes on the course. I grab a couple more Ibuprofrin and we start to hydrate. Another sports drink on the way and get to the course in time to change into some fresh clothes.
Grass Valley is one of Miller’s all time favorite courses. It is higher in elevation and by this time in the afternoon it is cooling off quickly. We were hoping to play this course earlier in the day when we would be fresher but it feels awfully good out. Ready or not it is time to go.
We start off hot. Miller’s knowledge of the course and big back hand puts me in position to hit several 20′ putts for birdie. My forehand performs and sets Miller up for his share of the birdies.
I try to keep from thinking about being -4 after 4 holes. Then -5, and finally -6. We take a safe par on a tough hole and then get right back on the train and get to -7.
By now, Miller’s back is really flaring up but he continues to make his drives and run his putts. We manage 4 more birdies on the last 10 holes. The final hole, both of us beat up and sore, Miller crushes his Destroyer on a perfect Hyzer that gives me a straight forward 20′ putt to end on a birdie.
We ended up -24, 6th out of 23 teams in the Intermediate Division. We had several goals and we almost met them. We had envisioned not a single bogey the entire day. We only got 1 the whole event, at Penn of course. We wanted to average -9 per round, just short of half the holes. We averaged -8 per round.
Thanks to BioSkin for the Ambassadorship, the Sponsorship, and the gear that helped me feel strong at the end of 10 hours of disc golf.