Quarries Throwdown Recap

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Quarries splendor…

Another beautiful weekend and another home-run GMPS event in the books!  The TD tandem of Andy Powell and Al Rosa stepped up to put the young Quarries course in excellent playing-shape (Al) and put on a fun and seamless event (Andy) for 45 lucky New England golfers.

The course…  I visited the course for the first time this week and was impressed by the unique vistas and impressive rock features throughout the course.  From a golf perspective, the course design is as pleasing as its setting.  The fairways are challenging but “fair” with lines that reward good shots with birdie opportunities and punish bad ones with bogies, resulting in good scoring spreads.  The longer holes utilize placement shots rather than outright distance to test players of all skill levels.  Rocks, mounds, and side-slopes make for fun, tricky greens throughout the course.  My congratulations go out to Al and company for crafting another Vermont gem and spreading the gospel of disc golf through a new community!  I think the fact that 20 of 45 tourney players were MA2 and many of them local is a testament to the grass-roots growth of the sport here.

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Andy and Al TD’ed their pants off. Figuratively.

The event…  Chances were pretty good Saturday that Dave Frothingham’s recent stranglehold on MPO would be broken.  Mostly because he wasn’t there.  Even in his absence there were a number of GMPS frontrunners and other travelling NEFA studs that would guarantee a battle for Quarries supremacy.  First-round conditions were prime with warm temperatures and low winds and the players responded.  Travis Connolly and (GMPS points leader) Mike Habets both came in with 54’s, besting Frothy’s course record by 4!  My (Jim Bailey’s) 56 was good enough for 3rd place and the final spot on lead card.  For me the highlight of a fun first round with Edwin Bedell and Sean Bleything had to be hole 13.  You reach 13’s tee after walking a beautiful ridge line over the glassy quarry below and tee downhill with your back to the water through a 300’ tunnel.  Bleything stepped up and pured the gap to leave himself a circle’s-edge comeback for 2 (which he made).  Bedell and Bailey did not fare as well, our drives threatening the porcupines nesting in the massive rock piles more than any baskets or chains.  Edwin caught a tree on his recovery shot and left himself with at least a 100ft’er through the woods from the wrong side of the fairway.  Habets was looking on from the group behind us and encouraged his friend and dubs partner to throw his bread-and-butter overhand shot.  Bedell readily complied and SMASHED center chains with a full-force overhand for one of the most unlikely par saves you’ll ever see.  One (of many) things I love about disc golf is the excitement of seeing a remarkable shot like that.  Edwin’s crush buoyed our hole group and I’ve never smiled wider carding a bogey!

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Bleything loves hole 13!

In round 2 Habets and I started slow (I blame the complimentary 2 Roads, Phil!) while Travis routinely checked off the “must get” birdies to extend a lead despite stronger winds.  The whole group struggled in the middle of the course but Connolly built a big enough cushion that our 2nd round tie at 58 left him with a 2 stroke margin and a 2nd GMPS victory!  Low scores were few and far between on this rigorous track but there was a 3rd CR 54 turned in 2nd round.  Team Buffumville’s Joe Yaskis (whos 979 pdga rating bests anyone in VT) started the day with an MPO-worst 71, then declared that he would come back to cash in round 2.  He fell just 2 strokes short with his 54 but achieved the unusual feat of carding both the best and worst (MPO) scores of the day!

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Connolly takes it down!

Elsewhere on the leaderboard Jon Moorer took care of business to win MA1 by a stroke over friend and rival James Sweat.   In the process Jon sent a message to his young challengers (not you, Alan Gofberg) that experience and accuracy win tournaments in these Green Mountains!  Chris Sherwin took advantage of Anne Lewis’s absence to steal an unchallenged 100 points in Masters, as did Todd Sternbach in Grandmasters.  Troy Dietrich bested a 3-player Advanced Masters field.  Phil Christian (beer guy!) took Rec and Nicole Dalton won FA2.

The big battle was in MA2 with a deep 20-player field.  In the end Billy Haddock shot a 122 to take his first GMPS win of the season (he took Storrs last year).  Tied for 2nd just 3 strokes back were Casey Tanner and TD and NEFA-Points-Leader Andy Powell.

Speaking of Powell, the “3 blind mice” game he architected for post-tourney entertainment was one of the most memorable parts of the whole event.

  • The basic rules were: Players with the 3 lowest scores on the day are the “mice.”
  • The mice are blindfolded and play 3 holes of stroke-play golf (1,2 and 4 at Quarries).
  • The mice need caddies to direct them (line up the thrower and call out distance, direction, elevation, etc).  Names were drawn from a hat to select from the remaining player pool.
  • Lowest score wins and mouse/caddy split the cash pot.

As a “mouse” I can tell you that the experience was disorienting, humiliating, and hilarious.  It was the first time since I was about 5yo that I held a grown man’s hand to walk anywhere (caddy Evan Karge).  Mike Habets, it turns out, doesn’t play much worse without the use of sight and he and caddy Todd Sternbach split the winnings.

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Three blind mice featuring blindfolds from the Andy Powell collection.

Well that’s it for the Quarries recap.  Congratulations to all the division winners and especially to TD’s Al Rosa and Andy Powell for a job well done.  Whats next, you ask?  BCO is up in less than a week.  Sign up now for this killer event and get yourself some reps on the course that will host 2015 NEFA Finals!

GMDGC at the Maple Hill Open


Quarries Throwdown

Before moving on to the MHO I’ll remind you that its not too late to get in on “The Quarries Throwdown!”  TD Andy Powell (along with Al Rosa) promises rocks, trees, discs, and blindfolds.  Perhaps the tourney should’ve been called “50 Shades of Granite?”  Anyway the July 11 PDGA/NEFA event is coming up fast.  Contact the TD via the reg page to get on the list or just show up Saturday morning (+$5 day-of fee).  More info available in the forums and registration link here.

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The back side of hole 13’s tee box at the Quarries. Don’t try this at home: professional driver, closed course.

Maple Hill Open Recap

The GMDGC sent 2 of its regulars to the Maple Hill Open this year after qualifying at BROIII: Jeff Spring and Jim Bailey (your humble blogger).  It was my first time competing in the MHO and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t intimidating playing alongside the very best disc golfers in the world.  My first round card, for example, featured prior PDGA World Champ Jon Baldwin and eventual second-place finisher Gregg Barsby.  Spring drew Jared Roan and 3-time World Champ Nate Doss!  Despite the nerves it was a pleasure playing with touring pros – especially when they’re as laid-back and encouraging as these guys.

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Keepsake from MHO round 1 with Barsby, Baldwin, Cantow. This one is special to me because the rest of my discs are in ponds…

Throughout the round I was sizing myself up against the big boys and what I found was this:

  • Their distance is impressive but not a difference-maker on the majority of the holes
  • Consistency on the tee was huge – particularly here on MH Golds where a missed fairway on nearly every hole guarantees a bogey (at least).  Barsby quietly hit every fairway on the front 9 and took no more than a 3.
  • Short game is everything.  Barsby started the round with a 50 ft’er for 3 on hole 1 and continued to pour in putts inside the circle and out to card a solid 56.
  • Pros don’t take stupid OB.  During the week I went out-of-bounds on 1 (approach), 2, 8, and 9.  Costly preventable mistakes that you won’t catch NT champs making!
  • Sometimes they’re just really, really, eye-poppingly good.  This hit home for me on hole 6 – a downhill right-turning par 3 tunnel shot flanked by an OB rock wall that runs the length of the fairway on one side and a pond on the other.  Most players are happy to escape with a 3 here.  Gregg Barsby is not most players.  He flicked an Eagle all the way down the inside lane and skipped right under the cage for a drop-in 2.  He throws a similar shot with similar results in the third round, covered here.  Remarkably, 3 of the 4 contenders deuced that round (sorry Paul McBeth!)  Also, this shot is pretty decent.
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Treacherous hole 6…

When it was all said and done I threw rounds of 70/67/66.  I was pleased to improve each round and played approximately to my 953 pdga rating, but who doesn’t think they’re better than their player rating!?  Spring shot well, flanked by caddy Evan Spher and manager Jon Lange: 68/64/66.  Big congratulations to reigning Green Mountain Championship winner Ricky Wysocki for finally taking it down!  It was an awesome experience and if you have the opportunity to play in the MHO (Pro side or Am side) I heartily recommend it.  GMDGC represent!

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GMDGC crew at the MHO: Jon Lange, Evan Spher, Jeff Spring, Jim Bailey, Ryan Metivier

 

Green Mountain Championship

For a taste of world-class disc golf right here in Vermont, check out the upcoming Green Mountain Championship!  The Brewster Ridge team has made this event bigger and better in each of its 3 years of operation and top pros have responded by signing up in droves for this years PDGA A-tier.  Get in while you still can!

JULY UPDATE: Blackfalls & Gnomes Recap, Quarries Up Next

The past two events of the GMPS have come and gone with great success and immense fun, but before we provide a brief recap of Blackfalls and Gnomes, let’s take a moment to look ahead to The Quarries Throwdown (click for tourney info)! The Quarries is making its GMPS debut after enjoying a successful year one during the summer of 2014! This event will be GMPS #6, marking the halfway point of our series and will be held NEXT Saturday, July 11th. Make sure to sign up today – by clicking HERE.

The daunting throw over the quarry on hole #5.

The daunting throw over the quarry on hole #5.

BLACKFALLS:

It was a beautiful day in Montgomery as Johnny Betts again opened his doors for the 9th incarnation of the Blackfalls tourney. Unlike 2 years ago, there was no snow, ice, mud, or general terrifying weather to cancel the 2nd round – and yes – that day is still etched in all of our memories. Instead the course provided the challenge as no player managed to throw below 55 on the Gold/Gold layout. In fact, hole #14 was shut down due to the presence of a baby deer causing the silver layout to be played on the hole, making the course that much easier. There were tight races across the board and many division came down to the final hole! Here is the forum thread will all results, and below, a list of division winners!

  • MPO – Frothy
  • Pro Masters – JRapp
  • Pro GM – Danny White
  • FPO – Wendy Boutin
  • Advanced – Nolan Power
  • Intermediate – Andy Powell
  • FA1 – Kristi Bayer
  • Rec – Shannon Gokey
Sean Bleything - a fantastic TD despite a back injury

Sean Bleything – a fantastic TD despite a back injury

Josh Wedel with a forehand drive

Josh Wedel with a forehand drive

The real star of the show, a baby fawn that caused a hole change.

The real star of the show, a baby fawn that caused a hole change.

GNOMES:

The biggest story of Gnomes 2015, is the second card comeback by Dave “Frothy” Frothingham to nab his 2nd straight GMPS victory! After falling into a 4 stroke hole when JSpring shot a 1st round 44, the hot round of the tourney, Dave stayed steady as the lead card fell apart, allowing his 2nd round 47 to win the day! However, Dave did not actually win the ENTIRE day since Anne Lewis had the low score of all golfers with a 47-46 performance for overall low score, even though she was not playing in the Open division. Way to go Anne! Here is the forum thread for more detail, and below, a list of division winners:

  • MPO – Frothy
  • MPM – Anne Lewis
  • MPG – Peter “Gnome Master” Flaherty
  • MA1 – Sawyer Dwinell – Yardley
  • MM1 – Troy Dietrich
  • MG1 – Bob Penney
  • MA2 – Andy Powell
  • FA2 – Amelia Fotheringham
His and hers Gnomes trophies (adorbs)

His and hers Gnomes trophies (adorbs)

Green Mountain Championship Field Expands!

This fall, VT will be hosting one of its biggest events ever! The GMC has expanded its field to 216 players and the waitlist has first dibs! Next Monday, July 6th, any remaining spots will open up to the public. Here is the REGISTRATION link. For more info, check out our Forum thread as well! Vermonters – if you want to get into this tourney but felt like you missed out, here is your chance!

 

GMPS Recap and GNOMES

This note just in from Chris Young (the Prez and Gnomes TD) about the upcoming Gnomes tourney:  “Peter Flaherty the course superintendent and self proclaimed “Gnomes Master” is working hard to get the course in tip top shape. He is also making up the traditional Gnome trophies for all division winners. This is now one of the longest running NEFA/GMPS events in Vermont, right behind Black Falls and Sap Bucket. There will be random draw $5 dubz after with $50 added cash to winners! Celebrate one of the longest days of the year!! We are almost at the half way mark in the GMPS and races are heating up. Make sure to reg this event has sold out the past 2 years. Lots of Mass and NH players like to make the trip for this one. Great swimming, throw over the river. One of the shorter, yet technical courses in the Series.”  I’m paraphrasing a bit but I think he said that if you respect the office of the president or just want to add to your lawn ornament collection, sign up for the perennial Gnomes party before those Mass-holes do!  Registration info is on the forums.

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Who’s the man to beat in 2015? This guy.

Forging ahead, after Black Falls we’re now 4 events deep in the GMPS (Green Mountain Points Series).  Lets take a look at how some of the division races are shaking out:

MPO

Mike Habets  (343.3)

Jim Bailey (239.1)

Evan Spher (235.3)

Bad habits are hard to break and Mike Habets is hard to beat.  Competing in every event so far, Mike’s WORST points showing was an 80 (Sap Bucket and Brewster Ridge).  With a season-opening win at his home course and a history of contending at virtually every track on the schedule Habets has established himself as the man to beat in 2015.  Giving Habets chase in MPO is tremendous blogger and all-around-swell guy Jim Bailey in 2nd place.  With North Calais as his next scheduled GMPS event Jim’s stay in 2nd will be short-lived.  Evan Shper is right behind him after logging consistently good scores at every event.  Further down the leaderboard we have some of the most dangerous players on the tour poised to make a move.  Jeff Spring and Dave Frothingham both have GMPS wins and are perennial contenders (BTW, GMPS points get updated QUICKLY when Frothy wins).  2014 MPO champ Sean Bleything may be sidelined by injury for the moment but is a threat to win as soon as he returns to GMPS play.

 

MPM

Anne Lewis (208.3)

Chris Sherwin (150.0)

Josh Rappeport (100.0)

Anne Lewis currently has the crown thanks to steady play across 3 events but her pursuers are packing wins: Chris Sherwin bagging his own hardware at Sap Bucket and Josh Rappaport making a triumphant return to GMPS play at Black Falls.  Every competitor is capable of winning and MPM (as always) will be a fun race to watch as the season progresses.

 

MPG

John Sudarsky (271.7)

Todd Sternbach (85.0)

John McLaughlin (40.0)

John Sudarsky has made a commitment to taking down the “mileage division” and he’ll be hard to catch if he continues to log solid scores at each and every event.  Todd Sternbach and John Mclaughlin are his next-closest competitors but it will take strong attendance and strong performance to unseat “Jsuds.”

MA1

Chris Martin (275.7)

James Sweat (185.0)

Nolan Power (162.5)

Chris Martin has been outstanding with a convincing win at Sap Bucket and strong finishes at Brewster and Black Falls.  He’ll have stout competition in James Sweat, however, who has won at virtually every level and excels on some of the toughest courses in VT.  Young gun Nolan Power has a ton of potential and showed this past weekend that he can close, taking down a nice win at Black Falls.

 

FA1/FA2

Christy Betit

Amelia Fotheringham

These two ladies are 1 and 2 in both FA1 (Christy over Amelia) and FA2 (Amelia over Christy).  I’m not sure how to score this – maybe they can both be winners?

 

MM1

Daniel Schroeder (50.0)

Brian Betit (50.0)

Deadlocked!  Betit and Schroeder are tied in advanced Masters.  With Betit also logging MA2 scores its not clear if this division race will continue.

 

MA2

Casey Tanner (373.2)

Andrew Fisher (294.8)

Andy Powell (285.2)

MA2 is the deepest GMPS division and with a lot of players logging a lot of events it looks to be a tight battle moving forward.  Casey Tanner has the honors with strong finishes at every event so far including a huge W at BRO.  Andrew “DrooFish” Fisher and Andy “Iron Man” Powell are right behind him and ready to take the lead if Tanner slips up.  Alan Gofberg looked to be the early favorite in this division with a season-opening win but then he succumbed to peer pressure and moved up to MA1 before eventually just going back to ultimate.  Hopefully we didn’t break him.

Black Falls!! (BRO-ver and Out)

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Evan Spher prepares for launch on hole 11

Before we cover the action from this weekend’s BROIII, get yourself over to the forums and register for the 9th annual Black Falls tourney!  Black Falls and its owner, the great Jonny Betts, are incomparable figures in VT disc golf.  The course is as beautiful as it is challenging and has earned its ranking as the 13th highest-rated venue in the country via DGCR.  Sign up now and enjoy your pilgrimage to Black Falls this fine weekend!  Go now – we’ll wait.  Are you finished?  Okay then, read on…

The Brewster Ridge Open means 3 things: severe weather, bad “bro” puns, and the deepest competition in the GMPS.  With a field of 76 players from all over New England, Sunday’s BROIII more than lived up to its billing.  The MPO race pitted BROI winner Jeff Spring against BROII winner Daniel Marcus, who shot the hot morning round of 55 on a mixed Brewster Ridge / Fox Run layout.  Spring started the second round on the “OG 18” with a 2-stroke deficit and kept himself in the hunt with steady golf despite the cold and rainy conditions.  Back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 brought Jeff within 1 stroke.  He had a chance to overtake Marcus on 15 but his 40’ deuce putt sailed long to push the hole.  Both players threw good drives on 16 and it appeared they’d each have a routine up-and-down.  That was true for Spring but Marcus ceded the lead with a rare misstep when his next 2 shots found early trees.  From there Jeff defended his one stroke advantage with 3’s on holes 17 and 18 (which Marcus matched) and secured his second BRO title in dramatic fashion.  The victory was all the more impressive with Spring juggling a full plate of TD responsibilities leading up to and during the event.  This was a 2-man race the whole way with lead card mates Jim Bailey and Dave Jackson enjoying the show!

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Spring FOR THE WIN!

 

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Marcus narrowly missed back-to-back BRO titles

 

BRO saw the return to prominence of James “Rangduce” Sweat with an MA1 win, narrowly edging out Chris Martin (with another strong showing on the heels of a Center Chains win) and Eric “Kovo” Kevorkian.  Julius Caesar once said “Veni Vidi Kulchuck” which loosely translated means Bob Kulchuk came to VT and kicked butt in the Pro Masters division.  Playing the course for the first time (a little GMC tune-up trip) Bob was outstanding on Fox Run, carding a textbook 28 en route to an 11 stroke victory over Anne Lewis and the 6 player division.  Who knew Devens guys could throw well in fields?

Elsewhere on the leaderboard John Mclaughlin threw well on his home course to take the MG1 division.  Casey Tanner emerged victorious in MA2 with a 1-stroke advantage over “our favorite intermediate player,” Andy Powell.  Amelia Fotheringham made it back-to-back wins in FA2 beating out a competitive 6-player field.

“Family” was a key theme yet again at this well-attended GMPS event.  Steve and Joy Hartwell kept it in the family by completing another “Hartwell sweep” and taking their respective Grandmasters divisions.  Steve did so with a come-from-behind win over the 4 player field.  The Ogrizovich boys had a sweep of their own with Nick taking MM1 and Dan MA3.  The story of the tournament, however, was 5 year-old Finn “McMissile” Etter (thats a Cars 2 joke) playing all day in adverse conditions to notch a victory in the Juniors<10 division.  Finn was supported by his parents/caddies on the course and turned a lot of heads with his impressive drives and solid touch inside the circle.  Thanks, Etter family, for brightening everyone’s rainy day.  Mark your calendars, MPO players, you’ve got a 5 year window to win some $$$ before this kid is eating your lunch!

 

Get this kid a Vermont craft-brewed root beer!

Get this kid a Vermont craft-brewed root beer!

 

Finally lets have a big round of internet applause for Jeff, Jon, Pat and the whole Brewster Crew.  Its a beautiful course in immaculate condition.  You don’t need to take my word for it either – you can ask Maple Hill superintendent Dave Jackson who gave glowing praise throughout the 2nd round!  Its also not clear whether Jeff was a better player or TD on Sunday and thats a very good thing.

With GMPS points updated through BRO stay tuned for an update on the points races in the coming days.  Did I mention you should SIGN UP FOR BLACK FALLS?