I don’t think you could have asked for a better weekend than this past weekend to go out and play disc. Most of the leaves were off the trees, the weather was warm, and the wind wasn’t horrible. Plus, with it being fall, there were not that many bugs out there and considering the places we went, that is a good thing.
I was in Illinois visiting my wife’s sister and brother-in-law with her parents and on Saturday we visited some disc golf courses that I had never been to. Fox Hill Disc Golf Course and Summit Park. Both courses had varied terrain and some interesting holes, with none of them having any hole longer than 400 feet.
The first course was a well taken care of course, my guess is that it has hosted a tournament or two. The neatest thing they had, I wish I had taken a photo, was the markers for each hole. Nice tall wooden post with the hole number and length carved into one side and on the other a picture of the hole with either a circle or arrow pointing out where the basket was. I think that was an awesome concept that more courses should think of doing. Being able to have an image pointing out where to aim and to compare it to what you are actually seeing helps a lot. I like the visual maps that most courses have, but those are not real accurate and for some holes you have to walk up some to be able to see the basket. Having a picture at each hole at least gives you an idea if you need to aim at that tree to the left or the tree to the right. I imagine it might be a pain to change that photo if you move the basket or take down a tree, but I bet it’s cheaper than having to paint a map of the hole again.
We walked away even in the world of lost discs at this course. For the most part the course had a pretty basic layout, half about in the woods, half out in the open. However, with it being fall, there were a ton of leaves on the ground, which were the cause of
us me loosing a disc. But, I’ll back up to how we broke even. On the fourth or fifth hole you are throwing on a long hole with the basket hiding a bit behind some saplings. But, on the right side of the hole is a wooden fence housing some sort of warehouse. I wanted to try out a disc I had found on a previous outing, a Discraft XL (now, don’t get mad at me about finding this disc and keeping it, there was no name or number on it). It’s a great disc, and it flies straight until the end when it cuts to the left. It just doesn’t help when you let go too late and it takes off to the right and goes right over the fence into a bunch of garbage brush. I was willing to just give it up, I didn’t pay for it. But, Mario (brother-in-law) commented on how great the disc is and that it is worth the time to hunt it down. So the hunting began. Took us about twenty minutes to find a white disc in a bunch of green and brown weeds, but we did. During the search, we found a Championship Boss. Which I was very happy to take.
Now on to how
we I lost the XL again. This was near the end of the course, probably hole 14 or 15. Again, it was a fairly straight hole, however it was in a heavily wooded area. And on the right, instead of fence, it was a couple of small hills (probably as tall as I am) with a lot of trees growing on them. I wanted to give the XL some more love and drove it toward the basket. It was flying fine, yet I had let it go just a smidge to the right, so it kept on that path and cut through some of the dead leaves still hanging on the hill trees. It ended up going through a patch of brush and not coming out the other side. We had been having some luck of our discs not stopping at the first contact of leaves hanging from trees, they would just push past them and continue on their path. So, we assumed this was the case for the XL. Those damn leaves that blanketed the hill. At first I wanted to blame them for hiding my disc. But, after hunting all over that hill and not seeing it anywhere. There wasn’t a lot of places for it to hide. The trees and bushes that were on that hill didn’t have much on them, especially close to the ground, to make it difficult to see. And besides the piles of dead leaves, there wasn’t anything else there to make it difficult to search. I now blame the disc. I believe it was cursed and wanted to slow me down by losing itself twice. I was not sad to leave it there for some poor soul to find.
Skill-wise, I think I did really well. Most of the holes were par 3 level holes, and I kept myself at about 4 on every hole, hitting a three on a couple. My putting has improved, from what, I’m not sure. My long game has actually improved the most. I will assume that is from my working out a bit more (army = a lot of push-ups) and I was able to say that my drives kept up with Mario (who has been discing a lot longer than I have) and my father-in-law. One of my putts I am very proud of. I was probably ten to fifteen feet from it, but I had two big trees in between me and the basket. There wasn’t much space between the two trees, yet I was able to slice my putter through them and have it land right in the basket. It was a great shot.
I still needed to work on my control. I had a couple of throws that were just plain bad. I know that at the last minute my concentration would move on to something else causing me to let go to early, or to late. Especially when there would be one or two trees right in front of me. I would focus on the basket or a tree further up the hole, and at the last second I would look at the tree right in front of me and smack my disc right into it.
After the first course, we hit up Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville. A great place in between Fox Hill and Summit Park. It was a little hard to find, the only sign for the place is on the door and it looks like a warehouse on the outside. The only way we could verify that it was the right place was from the smell. But, if you are into beer, I recommend it.
According to the PDGA website, Summit Park is a challenging wooded course, and one commenter on the webpage said that on many of the holes you just have to throw it and hope it doesn’t hit a tree. These are quite accurate, even with it being fall and many of the trees having lost their leaves, you still had a lot of holes that bent crazy ways hiding the basket.
The park is really nice, has a lot of soccer fields, a mini-golf course and a pool. The disc golf course follows the wooded area around the park, only peaking out on a couple of the holes, having you throw along the wooded line as well as the soccer fields. The trees are bad. Seems like they only cleaned up some areas to give you a decent fairway. Otherwise, you are just throwing around the trees, even when you are putting you have to constantly worry about the trees, some right on top of the basket. They also have a number of holes that follow what appeared to be a snowmobile path, with a lot of trees and the narrow path being your fairway. On those holes the basket was so far hidden to the left, you did have to just throw the disc and hope for the best.
The only story worth telling is how
we Mario almost knocked out a kid on the soccer field. Hole 16 has you behind blind spot throwing on the side of a soccer field with a basket hidden to the left in a pocket cut into the wood line. Mario was the first to throw and after commenting on our father-in-law not getting to go out and spot for us(therefore not getting an “advantage” that Mario said he was getting) he drove it hard to the right, the exact opposite direction he wanted to go and it cut through the blind spot, with us not able to see where it landed. We hunted all over that soccer field trying to find it. You would think that being an open field it should be easy to spot a disc, but not so much. We almost gave up, thinking that some punk kid took it, when Mario found it a lot further than any of us would have thought.
Mario had commented before we started that would probably end up +20 at the end of this course, which was fairly accurate for me. I started strong, keeping up with the other two and doing about four throws a hole. But then I got caught up in those couple of holes near the snowmobile path. I had a hard time throwing blind. My disc would often end up in the garbage swampy area to the right of the path. After that, I pretty much went on a downward spiral of hitting lots of trees and easy putts. I could only hope to hold my score, trying not to make it any larger than it was, but a couple of the holes had me hitting up to two or three over par.
It was a fun course, I would like to do it again. Probably not in the summer time, I can’t imagine it with a lot of leaves. Thought I guess it would be helpful in strengthening up your tight shot.
So, if you are ever in the Illinois, check out those two courses. And if you have been there, let me know what you thought of them and if you had any tricks to doing better than I did.