Kicking the Sap Bucket

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Nolan Power pulling for ‘Murica

 

Saturday was another beautiful day for disc golf and 56 folks from the Green Mountains and beyond hit Center Chains for Sap Bucket XII.  The course was in fine shape and I think everyone who walked it would agree that the required redesign (property issues) was well-implemented and preserved or improved-on the spirit of the course.  Huge thanks are in order to Dave Frothingham, Anne Lewis, and Pete Hess (Will’s dad) for stewarding Center Chains through turbulent times and returning it to top form for 2015.

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How to park hole 1 with Travis Connolly

 

With calm winds and cloudy skies, scoring conditions were prime on Saturday and the cards reflected it.  After round 1 there were 3 rounds of 46 turned in!  One was from Travis Connolly who did not let up after the break and pulled away from his MPO competition with a spree of deuces down the stretch (including 12, 13, 14, 15, and even 18).  Connolly finished with a 2nd-round 47, making it the 2nd year in a row somebody named Travis won at Waterbury with a 93 overall (Keller did it in 2014)!  After his own 1st round 46, Jim Bailey turned in an also-ran 51 to lock up 2nd place in MPO while Evan Shper jumped up to tie Mike Habets in 3rd (100 strokes on the day) to round out the cash positions.

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Not Habets’ day but the dude can still bomb!

 

The 3rd hot round of 46 was turned in by Chris Martin in MA1.  According to my careful internet research, Chris took a break from fronting the band Coldplay and holding hands with Jennifer Lawrence just long enough to shell the Advanced Division.  Ross Dunham made a strong bid to overtake him but Chris had such a cushion after his hot round that he regressed TEN STROKES after the break and still won by 2.  Next time I see Chris I’ll shake his hand and ask him how they made that awesome reverse-motion video.  James Sweat took the 3rd and final cash position in the division.

The deep MA2 division saw a 2-way tie at the conclusion of play between Sayer Dwinell-Yardley and Josh Lapine.  After pushing on hole 1, Sayer had a strong drive on 2 and canned the putt for a deuce that Josh just couldn’t match.  It capped a fine performance from Sayer (and Josh).  Of course Sayer and sister Dana enjoyed a cheerleading advantage as their Mom caught much of the day’s action from her perch at the convergence of fairways 5/6/12.  One of my MPO cardmates nearly hit her with a drive on 6.  Her response to our chorus of “FORE!” and “SORRY!” was simply: “Thats going to be a REALLY long putt!”  She was right…

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Sayer Dwinell-Yardley for the win!

 

In other GMDGC family news Pete Hess won the “most adorable caddy” award with 5yo son Will in tow throughout the day.  Pete expressed his appreciation to competitors and cardmates for helping make it a fun and successful day for Will.  As a father who’s hopeful to one day share the sport with his own children, I loved seeing them out there and applaud Pete for growing the sport in the best way possible.  On a related note, the OB swamps on hole 1 are full of awesome tadpoles!

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Tadpole’in


Other division winners included Jeff Roland in MA3, Michael Ray in MG1, and Nick Ogrizovich in MM1.  “The Glass Man” Chris Sherwin took home his own wares after beating out Anne Lewis and the rest of a tightly-bunched MPM group.  Rick Williams ran a shady (but effective) Vibram fundraising auction then beat out TD John Sudarsky to win MPG.  Finally, Amelia Fotheringham took it home in FA2.  I’m fairly certain that Dave Frothingham and Amelia Fotheringham are related.  One of their ancestors had a drunken misspelling at Ellis island – I’m just not sure which.

Thats about it from Waterbury.  Personal thanks to John Mclaughlin for sharing some VT craft beer love with new friends from NH.  Having first “met” on the forums I can now say that John is far less whiny in person (but just as left-handed).  And many thanks and congratulations go out to first-time TD John Sudarsky for running a silky smooth event that was enjoyed by all present!

 

Sap Bucket XII

The super bowl may be eliminating roman numerals, but WE WILL NOT!  Pre-reg now for the 2nd stop in the GMPS points series and the 2nd longest running disc golf tourney in Vermont.  Sap Bucket will even be NEFA sanctioned so you can encourage your friends from lesser New England states to come up and get their NEFA points.  Dave Frothingham and crew have been hard at work getting this classic VT course primed for the event and you won’t want to miss it.  In addition to the Mad Taco catering and Marshall Street AM payouts, division winners can look forward to custom Sherwin Glass trophies.  TD John Sudarsky is flush with them (see photo) – don’t let him win another!

 

John Sudarskys stack of Sherwin Trophies, incl artist rendition of SBXII


Turning to the matchups: Mike Habets was quick to pre-reg and hopes to stay hot with another GMPS win.  Last year Habets could only watch from 2nd place while Travis Keller SHREDDED the course (93 on the day) at the Center Chains Classic.  He WILL be looking for redemption.  It may not be so easy with Frothy hard at work “Habets-proofing” the course in the hopes of claiming the MPO title for himself.  And after missing Pinnacle how long will Sean Bleything and Jeff Spring hold out before making 2015 GMPS debuts?  Elsewhere on the leaderboard Ira Divoll is still riding high on his Center Chains win last year in MA1 (where he bested your humble blogger by a stroke).  Ira has been known to lead a band of marauding Borderland Bombers through the heart of the green mountains, claiming all of the Heady Topper and Sherwin Glass in their path.  Will he do so again?  I hope so.  Andy Powell looks to lock down the MA2 division (it IS a NEFA event) but he may have to get through Pinnacle champ Alan Gofberg (division decision pending).

How will it all unfold!?  Find out for yourself, register for the Sap Bucket XII!

Pinnacle Wrap-up

Jonny Meadows bombs hole 14 in front of the assembled elders.

What a grand opener for the GMDGC!  On Saturday May 2nd Pinnacle (Newport, NH) played host to 65 players from the deepest, darkest corners of VT, NH, and MA.  The attendees, pale and jaundiced as they were from their much-too-long disc golf hibernation, were treated to a sunny 70deg day on one of the finest tracks in the twin states.  Conditions were prime for low-scoring and a car-load of MPO players from Team Buffumville led the charge in the morning.  The lead card heading into round 2 featured Keith Burtt shooting an impressive 53 as well as Matt Kobel 55 and Joe Yaskis 57.  The other 55 on the card, though, was Newport pro and perennial GMDGC contender Mike Habets.  Crowd favorites James Beaulieu and Spencer Weatherholt also put themselves in contention with first-round 57’s.

James Beaulieu drove right up the middle all day

I had the pleasure of playing with James and Spence along with Edwin Bedell in the 2nd round and while 3 of us turned in pedestrian performances, James was catching fire to make a run at the leaders.  Hitting every fairway and running everything inside of 100ft James was as much as 5 down (course par 57) and didn’t sniff a bogey until we hit the home stretch.  His luck ran out on 14, a long downhill annie par-3 with trouble on both sides and a FAST green to brush off imperfect approaches.  After carding a hard-luck 6 to end an impressive run of golf Mr. Pinnacle’s deadpan response was simply: “That should be a par 4.”  James hung on to card another solid 57 and move up to 2nd place.

Meanwhile, on the lead card:  the course, and Mike Habets, quickly caught up with our friends from the South.  While the other players regressed (to varying degrees) Habets made his charge and improved to a 53 in the 2nd round, giving him a 6-stroke advantage over 2nd place finishers Burtt and Beaulieu.  Mike left no doubt that he was playing the best golf Saturday and he set the tone for what should be an entertaining season series in MPO.  Your move, Mr. Bleything!

Edwin Bedell challenges hole 3

Across the rest of the leaderboard, Nick Jennings bested Tim Tadlock in MPM and Jon Moorer resumed his throne atop AM1 with a couple rounds of 61.  Alan Gofberg closed out his first (and final) AM2 tournament to a deafening chorus of congratulations: “MOVE UP!”  Frank Strauss led the MPG pack with a solid 119 on the day.  Stephen Bosonac took Daniel Schroeder in MM1.  Finally, Christy Betit, Jamie Elwood, and Austin White won their divisions in FA1, REC, and MJ2 respectively.

The usual Pinnacle reindeer games entertained the masses with CTPs, CTPBRs, CTFiddleheads, and Putting Contests [which Tucker Davis won with the only 4 putts he hit all day ; )  ].  Grand issues were discussed and debated, questions of paternity settled, and a great time had by all.  Many thanks to Dan Walsh, Spencer, James, and all the Pinnacle volunteers for ru
nning a flawless event.  Full results are here.  On to Sap Bucket!!

Ryan Metivier shows off his hole-3 CTP after sticking it at the base of the pin on the treacherous slope



GMPS Season Opener / Pinnacle Spring Runoff!

Tricky approach lane on hole 2

Tricky approach lane on hole 2

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is finally here!  GMPS#1 is THIS SATURDAY 5/2 at Pinnacle in Newport, NH.  The dynamic duo of Spencer Weatherholt and Dan Walsh are running the show and its sure to be a good one.  Pinnacle is a classic James Beaulieu course featuring lengthy and challenging par 3s, 100’s of feet of elevation changes, and a ski jump.  The place has never looked better and its primed to host an epic showdown this weekend.  Pre-register now and save yourself the $5 day-of signup fee!

 

Don't hyzer under the ski jump!

Don’t hyzer under the ski jump!

Who do we like to win?  Well Sean Bleything was the class of the field last year but so far is notably absent from the reg list.  If he does try to defend his title it will be tough to repeat in Mike Habets’ back yard.  Mike is coming off a strong performance at Top O’ The Hill Apr 25th and he’ll be in top form heading into the season opener.  Whoever takes it down will have plenty of worthy challengers to get through including Frothingham, Spring, young-gun Jonny Meadows, and legendary lefty James Beaulieu.  According to our meteorological experts on the forum, forecast is 63deg and sunny with 100% chance of raining DEUCES.

GMDGC membership packs will be available for purchase/pickup at the event.  To support the GMDGC and be a part of the season long GMPS you can sign up for membership here for as little as $20: GMDGC membership

Event registration is here: Pinnacle Spring Runoff

See you all at Pinnacle!

Team Challenge

Tucker “Laser Show” Davis warms up at scenic West Thompson Lake

During this winter’s long, sad layoff from GMDGC play I had the pleasure of competing in the Team Challenge series with the Borderland Bombers under captain Ira “WannabeVT” Divoll.  Ira sold me pretty hard on Team Challenge when we were going head-to-head in GMPS events last year.  More specifically he brought it up at the lunch break of the “Center Chains Classic” where he enjoyed a modest lead over myself and the rest of the MA1 field:  “You should try Team Challenge.  I think you would like it.”  After edging me by a stroke to take the victory in round 2 he courted more aggressively:  “Here’s my number.  Its the most fun you’ll ever have playing disc golf.”  It sounded like the back of a “coed naked” T-shirt but it turns out he wasn’t really exaggerating.  For the uninitiated, Team Challenge is an “offseason” disc golf series that spans CT, NY, MA, NH, and ME (conspicuously – no VT).  It has 34 teams (roughly 12-20 players and at least one female) across 3 pools (A, B, C) that play monthly matchups against another team in their pool.  Each matchup between 2 teams (A and B) consists of 2 rounds:

  1. Match-play singles pitting one member from team A against one from B.  Player to win the most holes earns 2 points for his team.  In case of tie, each player takes 1 point.
  2. Stroke-play best-disc doubles (A/A players against B/B players).  The winning pair earns 2 points for their team (ties settled in playoff).

The team that accumulates the most points at the end of the day wins.  Sandwiched (pun intended) between the two rounds is a delicious lunch buffet put out by the host team.  (My first TC event I could barely make it through round 2 I was so full from lunch.)

After battling all winter long our ragtag group finished the season 3-3 with losses to powerhouses from Maple Hill, Buffumville, and Devens (the 1, 2, and 3 seeds respectively) and earned the 4th and final seed in B-pool finals.  Finals were held at the picturesque West Thompson Lake course on one of the first nice days of the year, if you consider consistent 30mph winds ‘nice.’  These 4 teams were playing for 2 coveted spots in the A-pool for the following season (Team Challenge borrows the one tolerable aspect of Premier League soccer: promotion and relegation).  When play got started Ira and I (doubles partners for much of the season) drew Kevin Gardner (this Kevin Gardner) and Devon Labelle (this Devon Labelle) for our first round matchup vs Maple Hill.  Kevin was the highest rated player in MA last year and Devon slings a Westside World wiiiiiicked faaaaah, a useful skill at the open but challenging West Thompson course.  Ira and I are pretty strong ourselves – but more so at things like spreadsheets and email than disc golf.  It was a fun round but Maple rolled us en route to a clean sweep (later beating Buffumville) and the first A-pool promotion.  The Bombers found ourselves at 0-1 and facing Devens in round 2.  We contemplated the need to win this matchup (and the next) to secure the other promotion while consuming a palette of black-and-white cookies at the lunch break.

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Captain Divoll attempts to drive the peninsula green on hole 16

 

At the start of round 2 Team Devens, coming off a measly 1-point loss to Buff, was angry and out for blood (metaphorically – they’re still really, really nice).  This time I found myself opposite Taylor Maslowski (this Taylor Maslowski) and Alex Gula (I don’t have a cool link for him but I watched him park a 430′ hole with a forehand so that’s pretty good).  Like a baseball manager faced with an under-performing lineup Ira shuffled our doubles pairings and my new (upgraded) partner was sidearm-specialist Pete Violet.  Pete and I started with a regrettable bogey and spent the rest of the round scrambling to overcome it.  Taylor and Alex complemented each other well and made it difficult to make up ground.  We were one stroke behind them heading into the final hole (#11, a 222′ downhill tunnel).  Our park-job put the pressure on them to convert a 40 footer to close the deal.  They failed to hole out and Pete and I escaped with a push.  Unfortunately for us when the rest of the cards came in Devens took the team match, handily.  Devens then advanced to face Buffumville in round 3 for the final A-pool spot, eventually losing by a single point.  Again.

So with the 2014-2015 season in the books the formidable teams from Maple Hill and Buff bought their tickets to A-pool and the gathered horde of players went home to somberly put their mittens, ribbons, gaiters and crock pots into storage ’til the snow flies next year.  And in summary, dear reader, after my first Team Challenge season I RECOMMEND PLAYING:

  1. AT West Thompson.  Its a beautiful, fun bomber course with great views.
  2. IN Team Challenge.  A great opportunity for competitive disc golf in uncompetitive conditions.  You’ll play with and against some really fun people.  In other words, Ira was right.  Which brings us to…
  3. WITH Ira Divoll.  Who doesn’t like Ira?  Nobody.  Maybe you can start playing with Ira at Pinnacle!   Its just 2 weeks away and you can register now.

Team Challenge season is dead, long live GMPS season!  Hey that means the GMDGC homepage will be populated with actual GMDGC features!  That will be a nice change.