The 8th Annual Fox Valley Metro Ice Bowl

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On January 25th, 2014, 63 players attended the 2014 Ice Bowl in Oswego, Illinois.  It was a cold & blistery day but this didn’t stop these participants from playing 27 holes in all (18 first round and 9 for the second).  Because of the 25mph or more winds I decided to spend most of my time photographing in the woods.  By the time the second group passed through on hole 14 the sun was shining and began to melt what ever ice was left on the tee pads.  Other than a few holes out in the open, the tee pads were great.   The week before the tournament we received several new layers of snow which, of course, brought on some ice build up as well.  Thanks to some volunteers who spent the week prior to the event prepping the tee pads, these disc golfers were able to safely stick to their normal x-step routine if desired.

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Tournament central was located indoors at the Oswego Park District building; which my frozen nose was especially thankful for after the first round.  As players gathered after 18 holes they were greeted with a warm lunch and CTP prizes (for every hole) lined up for the winners’ taking.  Although most of the disc golfers out there could be considered “die hard” for disc golf, the overall vibe I received as players were finishing up their 9 holes the second round was that they were happy to just about done.  Even though the sun was shining, the temperature continued to drop as the day went on and the winds were persistent all day.

Most players stayed for the raffle which consisted of prizes such as:  Voodoo Disc golf bags, gift cards to local pizza places, a free “ride along” and lesson in flying with a local pilot in his private plane, game ticket vouchers for multiple Chicago teams, fishing tackle boxes, autographed disc from touring professionals, autographed football from the NIU Football team, and so so much more!

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Randy Moore receiving the Fox Valley Spirit Award. Thanks for everything you do! All year round.

This years Ice Bowl donations will go to the Kendall County Food Bank and while I am awaiting the final numbers on the amount of money and canned goods raised, I will get the photos posted online! {{ They can be viewed at DiscGolfPhotography.com and a handful will be posted on my facebook page }}

Thank you everybody for your hard work and pulling off yet another great Ice Bowl!

Click here for the Tournament results!

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A preview to the 2014 Ice Bowl!

It’s that time of year again.  For some of us, the word “Ice” in Ice Bowl actually pertains to the current winter weather conditions.  For others who are enjoying 50 to 60 degree temperatures right now, it doesn’t.  Cold temperatures, snow covered fairways, and high winds are expected at my local Ice Bowl in Oswego, Illinois lead by the Fox Valley Metro Disc Golf Club.  Everyone attending tomorrow will be reminded of the Ice Bowls slogan: “No whimps – no whiners!” and will be fully prepared for the elements the day will bring.  Players will participate in one round of 18 holes in the morning and 9 holes in the afternoon; both of which are unsanctioned.

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{ Above photo from the 2012 Fox Valley Ice Bowl }

Every Ice Bowl that is held in January & February is a push to raise funds for fighting hunger.  Money & food raised for this years Ice Bowl at Eagle Ridge/Civic Center will go to the Kendall County Food Pantry.  There have been numerous sponsors and people stepping up for cash donations for this years Ice Bowl which is reflected in the awesome players packs, free lunch, and large raffle of prizes!  Click here for a full list of sponsors.  The Fox Valley Ice Bowl held on 1/12/2013 raised a stunning $5,885 & 200lbs of food!  The coordinators of this years Ice Bowl have been working hard on getting their biggest list of sponsors to date!

I will be attending tomorrow’s Ice Bowl in Oswego to capture the event – look for photos and a new blog post in the near future!

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Parting With Plastic

Parting With Plastic

A disc’s life starts off in a manufacturing plant somewhere in America, and for the ones that end up in our disc golf bag; each has a story as to how it got there.  Was it purchased at a local disc golf store, won at a tournament, given to you by a friend, or found on a disc golf course? Over time, some of these lucky discs become our “go to” discs—our absolute favorites to throw.

So if that disc you simply cannot live without ends up in a murky pond, how long would you spend searching for it?  The majority of the disc golf population probably wouldn’t hesitate to grab a rake and start scraping bottom, searching till the sun went down—or came up.   I’ve even seen “Lost Disc” flyers posted at courses with “Reward if found” written in big, bold letters.

Facebook and the social forums on dgcourseview.com also allow us to reach out to the locals with please, like, “I lost my disc on Hole 4, in the rough somewhere. Keep your eyes open for my Valkyrie please!  Call if found.  Reward!” We love the plastic that’s in our bag and would do almost anything for it.

There can be risks involved in fighting to get our loved ones back. My husband once found himself in this position raking the bottom of a pond in search of his putter; his favorite putter.  As he crossed a slick fallen down log acting as a bridge, he slipped and landed on a branch—X-rays later that night showed that he had two broken ribs and a punctured lung.  Two weeks later, including three chest tubes and a thoracotomy, he was released from the hospital.

A full recovery has been made since then and up until this last July, his putter still lay in that un-forgetful stench of a murky pond in Joliet, IL.  The famous blue Champion Rhyno was recently found among hundreds of other discs and after a phone call it made its way back into his hands.  His favorite Rhyno now hangs on the wall.  Two years later, the story is now complete; because of that phone call.

There are other lost disc stories out there that, thankfully, do not involve losing our “go to.”  Take this amusing thread on the disc golf forum dgcourserview.com about a guy who received an e-mail from a girl about his lost disc titled “I have your Frisbee!”  Included in the email was a photo of his disc being used as a plate for her sandwich.   “This is your mid-range driver in a Colorado parking lot!” the e-mail read.

At the time she was on a “post-grad rock climbing cross country trip” and continued to send more emails with pictures of his disc in various situations (in the car, on the beach or on an airplane).

After the second email from her the guy simply wished her well on her trip and asked for more photos.  Two months later the story continues as, in my opinion, as one of the most entertaining threads on dgcoursereview.com.   It sounds like he’ll get the disc back some day.  Hopefully he’ll post a photo of his reunion for all of us to see.  The disc owner appears pretty laid back about losing this particular disc, some plastic we’re okay with parting with—temporarily or permanently.

Sometimes you just have to say goodbye.

Many years ago I was doing some driving practice on a friend’s farm in Grinnell, IA.  Way before I knew what an anhyzer air shot does in a head wind, I turned one over and watched it carry deep into the cornfield.  I searched for hours upon hours for that disc. It was my first (and at that time, my only) ace disc.  Later that evening I decided to call the search off and informally offer it up as a donation to the farm—knowing that one day, a brush hog would be by to chop it up into little Pro Leopard bits.  The friend who I was visiting that weekend on that sunny farm in Iowa has since unexpectedly passed away.  In a sentimental way, I’m glad that I never found that disc.

Sometimes losing a disc is a conscious decision.  A donation so to speak.  If you live in a state as nondescript as Illinois, any mountain top or canyon you find yourself near, say on a road trip, creates a great opportunity to really watch a disc fly. Far.  If you’ve never done it, throwing a disc off a mountain top is a truly exhilarating site and feeling.  That’s why I always have a few DX discs in my hatch. Just in case.

I’ve held onto found discs of friends whom I have lost touch with over the years; I refuse to throw them or sell them so they stay in storage.  I may run into him/her again and be given the opportunity to return their plastic and maybe even rekindle a relationship.  Even new relationships or acquaintances can be born out of the return of a lost disc.

I once found a disc at a local course in Illinois.  After a phone call I found out the owner lives in California and have never been in my state.  He lost the disc in Nevada.  How it ended up here is a mystery.  For my minimal efforts to mail his disc back to him in California he offered my husband and I a personal tour of Yosemite National Park, where he works as a park ranger.  An unexpected but fantastic trade off!  We hope to take him up on that offer one day.

You never know what can become of dialing that phone number on the back of a Destroyer you pulled out of the woods.  At the same time you may never get a phone call on one or few of the ones you’ve lost – or you may just hold onto hope that one day you will. That’s completely out of our control.

And remember, no disc is worth a life.  As innocent as your search for a lost disc seems to be going, always use caution and remember that, at the end of the day, it’s only plastic.  Even if it is a 10x Roc.  Some stories will have happy endings, and others will not.  But for the ones that do, isn’t it great to have been a part of it?

Skyline Amateur Series visits the Janesville Jammer

The Janesville Jammer recently took place on August 25, 2012 at the beautiful Lustig Park in Janesville, Wisconsin.  Players competed in the Gold (Advanced Men), Silver (Intermediate Men), and Diamond (Advanced Women) divisions led by Tournament director Terry “The Disc Golf Guy” Miller.

Shooting a 46 the first round was Alex Bisegger from the Gold Division and following closely behind him by a single stroke were; Robert Martin,  Mike Strauss, Justin Lamers, and Ryan Conto.  After the 2nd round Paul Johnson and Robert Martin would go on to battle it out for the win in the “Gold Super 6”  During the “Super 6” Alex held onto the lead for the win as Paul Johnson and Robert Martin would finish 2nd and 3rd.

The top 3 players from the Silver Division; Brian Michel, Dustin Skorupinski and Mike Brose played along side the Gold during the “Silver Super 6”  Brian Michel came out on top with the1st place win while with Dustin ending up at 2nd and Mike at 3rd.

Kim McVicar from the Diamond Division won 1st place with Bree Welch taking 2nd.

View full tournament results at www.pdga.com

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** Thanks Terry for the free lunch!

Discraft Ace Race

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Discraft’s new prototype disc was thrown by over 100 people at Oswego’s Ace Race.  $25 for the day included two rounds of golf, players pack of one pair of sunglasses, water bottle with carabiner, pencils, and of course two new discs.  This was my first Ace Race and even though it was pushing 100 degrees that day, I had a blast.

If you’ve never played in an Ace Race I highly recommend checking out the event calendar at www.discgolfacerace.com to see if one is scheduled near you!

Hinsdale Disc Golf Course now open!

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The beautiful Katherine Legge park in Hinsdale, Illinois now offers yet another outdoor activity. Disc Golf.  After a lot of determination and hard work from the volunteers, the baskets are finally in!  A  doubles league will most likely be forming shortly before Fall approaches.
Go to www.dgcourserview.com for course reviews and information.

 

What Disc Golfers do in the Redwoods!

Check out this video: “Drive Thru Tree.”

My husband and I recently took a trip out west to play the Beaver State Fling in Estacada, Oregon.  We decided to take a different route home, this time working our way down the Pacific coast towards the Redwood Forest.  An easy entrance and exit from Highway 101 the road “Avenue of the Giants” is a road to remember.  Along the way was the famous “Drive Thru Tree” which you can view scenes from in the video above.  I will cherish the memories of the greatness of the trees that tower over you as you drive past and walk around them.  They dwarf everything around them, an amazing site if you ever get the chance.

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[ I am currently in the process of editing my second short “film” and will publish upon its completion! ]

An 8 is not great

It all started with a snowman.  Not the kind made from snow, but the kind that can creep up on a scorecard as an 8.

Hole #2 punished me with a 7.

Hole #3: Another snowman.

From hole #4 and on, I probably didn’t see a score on a hole better than a 6.  It was frustrating how every shot I threw only went 150 feet and raced straight to the ground. Hard.  After that hot summer day of playing disc golf in Rockford, IL, I only played a handful of other times, most often in the streets of my college town for a round of object golf.  Other than that, I wasn’t sold.

One year passed.

The summer of 2005 brought many changes to my life including a new commute to and from my new job.  Along that route I discovered a much less intimidating disc golf course:  A little “9 hole-r.”  I stopped to admire the oak trees with metal baskets peppered throughout the property.  It was beautiful, convenient, and reminded me of why people called me the outdoorsy type; “I should be out there,” I thought.  “No, I belong out there.”

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Soon after my mini revelation, I decided to buy a few discs from the local mart, swallow my pride, and hit the course. Even if it was going to hurt, I was going to give this disc golf thing another try.

I picked it up again on that same 9 hole course.  Hole #1, started with a 4.  Not bad, I thought.   But as I looked around at all of the other people playing, I concluded that my 4 was a disgrace to this 235 foot hole.  I’m not going to lie, I was intimidated at first.  Not just because I was terrible, but because I didn’t see another female disc golfer.  I weighed my options: Miss out on something that could change my life, or sit in the corner worrying about what all these guys thought of the “only girl out there playing.”  It was obvious; I would press on.

After a month of playing every weekday after work until dark, I decided it was time to befriend a few of the locals.  I wanted to be educated about disc golfI quickly accepted a few tips on how to improve my game along with my first putter: A Pro Line Rhyno. I figured that if I kept swallowing my pride and played with people who were better than me, that I too would rightfully start earning more deuces and grow as a disc golfer.  The weekends now belonged to disc golf, too.  It was me, my Disc Golf Course Directory, and my map.

By no means did I become a better player overnight, and my first tournament proves this point with these two letters: DL (dead last).  Because no other women were present that day, I decided to compete in the Men’s Recreational Division.  That’s not the only thing I finished last in; I was DL for the entire tournament.  Well, I thought, I can’t do any worse from here on out.  It will only serve as inspiration to keep on competing.

 My competitive edge crept up on me during the summer of 2006.

I appreciate a casual round of disc golf as much as a round that is played for a rating or money.  But at the end of the day, all I wanted to do was compete.  I joined the PDGA.  After I played my first tournament that year, I started a journal and wrote about every tournament I played in.  This journal has, since then, served as a tool to help me to learn from the mistakes I made during the round, and also take note of what I did right.

Being one of the few females playing courses over the past few years, I have observed the number of male disc golfers compared to females is significantly higher. Proof of this can be seen during a casual round and on a tournament registration list. This jump in numbers is often a topic of discussion on public forums, social media and even talked about among friends. I often hear the disgruntled male disc golfer chatting about how he can’t seem to get his girlfriend or wife engaged in the sport. My advice to those men is, “Don’t worry, there’s still hope.” Listen to her reasoning for not wanting to join you and your friends to play a round. It could be that she simply doesn’t enjoy playing. Disc golf isn’t for everybody, believe it or not! But if she says it’s because she’s not good at it, then you have some options. Introduce her to less stable and/or lighter discs, stick to mid ranges only, one-step drives off the tee pad, invite other women to play with the group or browse the web for suggestions from women’s disc golf forums (such as Facebook and discgolf4women.com).

The disc golf community can often times feel small, but it is making an impression in all corners of the world.  When I moved to Hamburg, Germany in 2007, the local disc golfers made me feel right at home.  Showing me their local temporary course, they insisted that I never had to be the one to push the portable basket when setting up each individual hole before we played it. They were also the ones to take me to my one and only sanctioned tournament in Germany, where I placed first in Open Women and also tied for first in the doubles tournament the day before.  To my amazement, my partner and I exchanged very few words during the entire round; non-verbal communication at its best.

Moving back to the U.S. I was grateful to again be surrounded by courses which gave me the luxury of driving 20 minutes to the nearest course, and I didn’t have to go by train, foot or trolley.

There are hundreds of reasons to get involved with disc golf; each of us has a story.  But what I find most interesting is how this sport has affected us differently.  Disc golf has the capability to engulf our lives in ways that might cause us to hang 200 plus discs on our wall, carry 25 in our bag, and keep an extra 40 in the trunk of the car.  For others, it’s a homemade bag with five discs and a hobby to take up with friends on the weekends.  Any of these reasons or somewhere in between makes us all have the same thing in common.

My goal is that disc golf will always be part of my weekly routine, whether it’s playing a round, taking pictures on the course, writing about it, or teaching new disc golfers.  I can only hope the next generation will consider easy access fairways for the old ladies like I will one day be, so that we may be able to, at the very least, walk the course and remember the “good ol’ times.”