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.

nope

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.

In Search Of Spring

I recently made the trek down to Martha’s Vineyard for the Vineyard Social XI tournament.  My intention was to put up an obnoxious “In your face, I’m playing Spring golf” post that was loaded with pics of green grass and tee-shirt hucks.  (For clarity “Spring” will refer to the season for the duration of this post, not the player.)  I was so sure of it that I convinced 3 other local friends (including MA2 assassin and fellow GMDGC’er Ryan Metivier) to join me for this annual rite of Spring (the season).  In our hubris we even took a vacation day Friday to escape the frigid north in search of snow-free fairways.

En route…

For weeks I had been dreaming of returning to the vineyard and its 3 well-designed courses (White/Blue have different lines to the same baskets and Red loops around the original courses).  The vineyard course has a special place in my heart since I played my first ever round of disc golf there.  While on a family vacation my mom dragged me into “The Lazy Frog” leisure store.  We struck up a conversation with proprietor (and Vineyard Social TD) Jake Gifford who told us about the course and geared us up for a family trip to check it out.  Jake was an able caddy and steered us toward Rocs, Stingrays, and Leopards.  After 15 years of ultimate, however, I would not be relegated to “beginner discs.”  After dismissing the dizzying flight chart I decided to buy discs the same way I buy wine (which stamp/label looks the coolest) and walked away with a Beast and Destroyer as well.  We set out on the White course (the shortest) and everything I threw went 100ft and faded hard left out of my hand.  The discs were clearly broken and I would return to the shop to buy more (and more, and more…)  One casual round with family led to 10 more that week (often solo) and the rest is history…

…found this old scorecard from week 1 playing disc golf in MV. “Under par” was unfathomable.

TD Jake Gifford and his flock.

Back to present day: despite our hopes and dreams of an idyllic Spring (the season) weekend mother nature was not quite finished tormenting us.  The weekend high was 35deg, it snowed 3” Friday night, and freezing rain followed us from the players meeting into round 2 on Saturday.  It was a war of attrition on the course and although conditions weren’t “fun”, the tourney still was.  Jake and company put on a great event every year and nearly 120 enthusiastic New England golfers showed up to the PDGA/NEFA tourney eager to get the season started right.  My traveling companions eventually forgave me for broken promises of warm weather and 3 of the 4 of us finished in the cash in our respective divisions (MPO, MA2, and FA1 – nice win Meadow!)  After this weekend I’m more eager than ever to get back to the lush greenery and friendly competition of GMDGC golf.  2015 is bound to be a great season starting with Pinnacle and Sap Bucket (registrations now live!)

Meadow Hartwell navigates a “technical” fairway

“Fairway” Ryan Metivier doing work

2014 GMC Video Compilation Complete

The 2014 Green Mountain Championship at Smugglers’ Notch drew in 144 competitors and some of the best pros in the world. The last video in the compilation has just been released featuring play from Ricky Wysocki, Will Schusterick, Simon Lizotte, Jason Dore & Kyle Moriarty during the “Final 9″.

Registration for the 2015 Green Mountain Championship opens April 15th. The Championship will run from September 18th to September 20th this year! Go here to see the GMC’s REGISTRATION PAGE.

“Training” for 2015

Back when the snow was not-quite ankle deep

 

Everybody’s got a different idea of offseason training in disc golf:  Hess and Bleything play hockey, Spring skis up and down mountains, Frothy flips truck tires, etc.  Personally, I prefer to curl up in bed with an ipad pressed to my nose and watch all the disc golf videos on the internet.  Twice.  This routine has in NO WAY improved my fitness or throwing ability.  It HAS, however, exposed me to some really memorable disc golf moments and made me increasingly excited about the upcoming season.  If you’d like to share in that excitement try watching (or re-watching) some of my Top 6 DG videos from the past year, detailed below.

BUT FIRST!! Have you signed up for 2015 GMDGC Membership!?  With annual memberships as low as $20 and options for GMDGC schwag and discounted NEFA memberships you can’t afford NOT to.  Also I promise it will make the snow melt faster.

6) 2014 Rochester Flying Disc Open Final Round (Rochester, NY).  Young gun Simon Lizotte takes on crafty veteran Dave Feldberg.  The 18th hole is ridiculous.

5) 2014 PDGA Pro Worlds Final 9 (Portland, OR).  Another fight at the finish – this time featuring Ricky Wysocki and Paul McBeth.  Watch the gallery sprint from hole-to-hole for fear of missing any action. Cue Jim Mora: “PLAYOFFS!?”

4) 2014 USDGC Final Round (Rock Hill, SC).  High drama throughout the round to crown a US champion.  Sometimes you make the island and sometimes you don’t (3 times).

3) 2014 Maple Hill Open Final Round (Leicester, MA).  Maple Hill is a beast with water, OB, and elevation.  The top card turns in a performance worthy of the legendary course that comes down to Ricky and Big Jerm on the hole 18 island green.  Also Ricky’s “approach” on 9 was pretty ok.

2) 2015 Memorial Championship Final Round (Scottsdale, AZ).  Capping a tournament that saw a Nate Doss hole-1 ace on the SportsCenter Top10 was an absolute battle between Big Jerm and Paul McBeth.  The thrilling finish highlights the camaraderie and competition that go hand-in-hand at the pinnacle of our sport.

1) 2014 Green Mountain Championship Round 3 (Jeffersonville, VT).  This is the latest and greatest installment of throw-by-throw coverage from the biggest tournament Vermont has yet seen.  Watch some of the best in the world shred your favorite course and listen to the soothing tones of Jeff Spring to boot!

 

 

 

2015 GMPS Schedule Released

Remember when the world gets green again? It may seem like a long way off...but it's coming!

Remember when the world gets green again? It may seem like a long way off…but it’s coming!

Mark your calendars because the 2015 GMPS schedule has been released! Featuring 11 events and a 2X Points GMPS Finals to be held for the first time ever at Wrightsville Beach Disc Golf Course this year looks better than ever! This gives competitors 13 chances to record points. Competitor’s top 6 scores will be kept to determine each division’s champion, meaning if you score in more than 6 events, your lowest scores will be dropped. The scoring system and division offerings remain the same as in the past, with winners scoring 100 points and the remaining players dividing points based on place and depth of field. All events are on Saturday unless otherwise noted. Event registration will open no later than 3 weeks in advance and will be posted on the forum, homepage, and social media. Events of note include the return of the Sap Bucket, the first ever GMPS at the Quarries in Barre Town, a 25th anniversary for the NCDGA – the oldest disc golf course and organization in the state, and the return of the BurkeView Open @ Lyndon State College! Check out this stacked line-up!

THE SCHEDULE:

GMPS#1 – Pinnacle Spring Run Off VI: May 2ndTD(s): Spencer Weatherholt & Dan Walsh
GMPS #2 – Sap Bucket Open XIIMay 16th –  TD: John Sudarsky
GMPS #3 – Brewster Ridge Open IIIMay 31st – TD: Jeff Spring (Maple Hill Open Qualifier)
GMPS #4 – Black Falls IXJune 6th – TD: Sean Bleything
GMPS #5 – Gnomes Challenge VIIISunday, June 21 – TD: Chris Young
GMPS #6 - The Quarries ThrowdownJuly 11th – TD(s): Al Rosa and Andy Powell
GMPS #7 – Base Camp OpenJuly 25th – TD: Mike Miller and Dave Frothingham
GMPS #8 – The North Calais Open & 25th Anniversary Celebration! – Aug 8th & 9th - TD: TBD
GMPS #9  – Wrightsville Beach OpenAug 22nd – TD: TBD
GMPS #10 – The 2nd Storrs Pond ClassicSept 12th – TD: Spencer Weatherholt & Dan Walsh
GMPS #11 – Burke View Open VI @ LSC – Oct 3rdTD: Jim Bailey & Jamie Struck
VT States/GMPS Finals (2x points) @ Wrightsville Beach – Oct 17th – TD: Chris Young

On top of this NEFA Finals are being held in Vermont this year! Base Camp has stepped up to run this event and it promises to be a doozie! Therefore, many events this season will be NEFA sanctioned. The great part about this is that NEFA has offered to cover all per player fees associated with their events in order to increase participation and pump up finals in VT. They are also offering a reduced $15 membership when purchased with your GMDGC membership! Sanctioning, including PDGA sanctioning, will be announced individually for each event.

Speaking of membership, we would like to announce a new, reduced cost option for 2015 members!
  • 2015 GMDGC Membership – $20 (includes membership, GMPS qualification, and numbered bag tag)
  • 2015 Membership PLUS – $35 (includes membership items, PLUS personalized reusable scorecard, GMDGC stamped disc, and stamped Mini)
  • 2015 GMDGC/NEFA Combo Membership – $35 (includes basic membership for both organizations)
  • 2015 GMDGC/NEFA Combo PLUS - $50 (includes membership in both organization, plus the disc, scorecard and mini)
  • 2015 GMDGC Junior Membership – $20 (still includes all the fixins for the junior rate of $20)

2015 Membership sales go live on Thursday, March 5th on this site, so check back and get your membership ASAP!

Other Events:
  • March 28th – Vergennes Spring Fling – Kick off the season right!
  • May 23rd – 2nd Annual LEARN to PLAY DAY – At Brewster Ridge and other courses across the state! Turn out some new players!
  • June 13th – The North Calais Shootout – A fun format to compete in!
  • July – Trilogy Challenge @ Brewster Ridge – Date TBD, featuring the release of 3 new models from Westside, Lat 64 and Dynamic.
  • September 18th-20th – The 3rd Green Mountain Championship – PDGA A-Tier, full week of events including a craft brewfest and live music. Bigger and better than ever.
  • Early October – NEFA FINALS – BCO, more details TBA.
Let us know if your event is missing and we will get it on there! Next week we will be releasing the League schedule for the season so check back in to check out which league to choose this year!