I believe now would be a good time to share with you my humble beginnings as a disc golfer and maybe a little of why I do it. I think it’s good to discuss how you started out, that way you know where the start is and maybe figure out the path you are taking.
I do remember my first time out on a course, it was in the fall of 2006. My now brother-in-law, Mario, had been talking about disc golfing for a while, at the time he had been doing for a long time.
I think he use to go all the time during the summer, but I’m not sure and since this is my blog we w
on’t go into his disc golf history. (Maybe I’ll interview him sometime, just to give this blog a different voice) Anyway, the point is that he is good at it, likes doing it, and wanted to share the experience with us. So, Mario, my father-in-law, me, and maybe my other brother-in-law, Win, all got up early and drove over to Oshtemo. Mario had a lot of discs so he shared them with us, I think we each grabbed two discs, a driver and a putter. And started to tough our way through a challenging course. Probably three hours later we walked out of the forest, muddy and in love with the sport.
It didn’t take long for my father-in-law and myself to go to Dunham’s Sports and pick up a disc golf starter pack. The pack came with a driver, mid-range, and putter. In fact I still have them: Leopard, Shark, and Aviar. (Actually, I don’t have the Aviar, I think that one disappeared in Grand Rapids) We then started going to the Oshtemo course on the weekends. I loved those three discs and it probably took another year before I bought any new ones.
The course has changed a bit since then. It used to have a lot more trees, and if you go out there now you’ll see the stumps where they used to be. They must have gotten a lot of complaints, because those trees where in some really hard spots, forcing you to throw low or really high to get around them.
I remember watching Mario throw some amazing throws, the type of throws that amaze and anger you at the same time. It was like he had a remote or a string to guide them around the trees. He made them look easy, and watching the way those discs flew was beautiful. I still get amazed by how the discs float in the air, it’s like art. Anyway, the important thing was that he gave us pointers and helped us figure out how to do those throws. Not saying that we did anywhere as good as he did, but at least we hobbled our way through the course.
I discovered that my friend Paul liked to disc golf, so I would go with him every once in a while, and I even brought my then fiance with me. It just got into my bones and spirit. Maybe it’s why people hike or hunt, to be out in nature, away from the computers and traffic and daily grind of life, but whatever it is, you do feel really peaceful out there. It was that place in my head I would go to when working at a retail bookstore or going to college started bringing me down. I’m not saying that I didn’t get frustrated out there, trust me, when you think you have thrown an awesome throw only to have it slam into a tree truck, you are as far from peace as you can get. But, you just have to let that stuff go.
We only went to Osthemo that first year getting into disc golf. I don’t know if it was because we were familiar with it or if it was the only one we knew of, but either way that was the course we used until my fiance and I graduated from Western Michigan and we moved to Crystal Lake, Illinois (not the camp that Jason haunted), but a northwest suburb of Chicago.
That is the end of part 1. Part 2 shows how my love progressed for the sport and how I was able to watch a competition and meet some great athletes.
Until tomorrow, I ask, what is your first disc golf memory?