Wrightsville Beach Open
The Wrightsville Beach Open is upon us! It’s one of the most fun tracks on the schedule, offering challenging deuce-or-die golf in a beautiful lakeside park. Wrightsville has a special place in MY heart as I played my first disc golf tournament there in 2013 and hide there frequently when visiting my in-laws in Middlesex. Here’s what co-TD Collin O’neil has to say about the event:
“The 6th annual Wrightsville Beach Disc Golf Tournament is this Saturday, August 22nd. This is a NEFA & GMPS points event. In addition to all the standard payouts & prizes, Wrightsville continues its CTP-Palooza tradition with a CTP in play to all on every fairway. The weather forecast for Saturday looks great. I hope you’ll join us at the Beach for another day of fun Disc Golf competition.”
Thanks, Paddy. Register here and hit the beach!
North Calais Maple Extravaganza
The renowned North Calais DGC is a special place and its annual GMPS event is appointment-disc-golf for good reason. The private track just up the hill from #10 Pond celebrated its 25th year of operation in 2015 (oldest in VT.) Under owner Paul Olander’s careful stewardship NC has evolved into a 7832’ par 65 beast that challenges every aspect of the modern game while preserving a unique throwback appeal. With foot traffic limited to workdays and “monthlies” the beautiful property remains pristine. The 18 rare “Taj Mahole” targets employed at the course are works of industrial art that catch amazingly well, especially for serial “band-bangers” like myself. The course layout makes excellent use of length, elevation, OB and tough greens to present risk/reward tradeoffs on every hole. One wrong move and you may need to take advantage of the communal wader boots hanging on hole 6! Par is a very good score at North Calais and when Paul catches wind of a hole playing “too easy” chances are it will be remedied by next season. According to Statmaster General Sean Bleything only 2 of 18 holes had scoring averages under par in 2014 (incl all divisions) and 5 of 18 averaged a full stroke over par!
56 competitors converged on NCDGC Saturday 8/8 to play for pride and syrup at the North Calais Maple Extravaganza. The conditions were as sweet as the payouts with mild temperatures and a light breeze setting up some strong competition (full results here). At the end of the day Jon Moorer toyed with his 14 MA1 opponents (incl #2 Josh Wedel and #3 Ross Dunham) before pulling away to a 9-stroke lead for his 3rd GMPS victory of the year (in 4 attempts). Anne Lewis formally requested that Dan Desch* and Dave Carter’s** 1-2 finish in MPM be denoted with asterisks because they were too old or too young (or somehow both) and relegated her to an uncharacteristic 3rd place finish. Dan’s “fairway golf” approach and deep knowledge of his home course led him to the 2nd-lowest score for the tournament with a 131 from Golds. Will Gilbert took a tight race in MA2 besting Clayton Davis by 1 stroke while Chris Wentzell (who aced 15 for the coveted warm Budweiser) was 2 more behind. The payout is better, Chris, if you remember to enter the ace pot! Dan Griffiths had a convincing victory over Todd Sternbach and John Sudarsky in a 7-player MPG field. Amelia Fotheringham notched another FA2 victor while Abraham Beningson (whose impressive beard makes him look Masters-eligible) made it back-to-back wins at North Calais in the Juniors division!
In the MPO division Jim Bailey (yours truly) pulled out a victory after pacing the field with a 1st round 63 and holding on with a 66 in the afternoon. My goal all day was to play “boring golf:” keep it in the fairway and avoid bogies like the plague. With the benefit of some lucky breaks and in spite of a few lapses (from the tee and on the putting green), it payed off. It was a joy to score my first GMPS win in MPO and a humbling experience to do it alongside players that I like and respect so much. For example, the North Calais MPO lead card featured the top 3 finishers in 2014 GMPS points (Bleything, Habets, Young) and myself. For the uninitiated, a little bit about them:
- “The Prez”, Chris Young is the heart-and-soul of the GMDGC and his tireless efforts to advance the club too often go unheralded. Also he’s been throwing the same Innova Beasts since the Clinton administration (with great success!)
- Sean Bleything, despite being a statistics zealot (he’s entered thousands of hole scores for THIS COOL PROJECT), is so charismatic that he convinced Paul Olander to pick up a pole saw and walk out with him for some fairway adjustment BETWEEN ROUNDS!
- Mike Habets, in the midst of a breakout season one year ago, duelled Sean to an outstanding win at North Calais by going 63/60 and beating his own course record in the process.
This year I had the good fortune of being carded with Habets in round 1. I quickly learned that he was not himself after having suffered a fractured rib less than 2 days prior (taking a come-backer to the side in a softball game.) He was playing in obvious pain and on very little rest. Without the luxury of taking a full breath he made his way gingerly around the steeply up-and-down course. Unable to keep the blistering scoring pace he set last year, Habets adjusted his gameplan to be as effective as he could given the circumstances and carded a solid first-round 65 to land on the lead card. I played with Mike both rounds and picked his brain all over the course (who better to ask than the guy with the 2 most recent CR’s?) All day he was helpful and generous in his responses and relentlessly supportive to his cardmates even as he labored. You might question his decision to play but Mike’s attitude and performance Saturday were exemplary and I look forward to his healthy return at Storrs!
In closing, how about a big round of internet applause for TD’s Dave Carter and Paul Olander for a top-notch event and especially to their NCDGA cohorts for bringing the course to pristine condition after a devastating winter. This small band of brothers put in hundreds of hours in cleanup, hauling and burning SIXTY TRUCKLOADS of brush and branches in the process! Great job, gentlemen…