North Calais and Wrightsville Beach

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!

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Sean Bleything crushes his hole-6 drive over OB all the way for a deuce-look

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.
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MPO lead card left to right: Bleything, Bailey, Habets, Young, Olander’s thumb

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!

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TD’s Dave Carter and Paul Olander. Thank you, NCDGA!

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…

 

Base Camp Recap / North Calais Registering Now

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Good morning, hole 18

Saturday July 25 saw Mike Miller and Base Camp Outfitters play host to a sold-out field of disc golfers on a beautiful Vermont summer day.  In addition to GMPS regulars the field was stocked with NEFA-land’s finest and the course looked as good as Kyle Moriarty on tourney day!  One of the players seeing the 2015 NEDGC site for the first time was Borderland/Team Lat64’s Sam Henderson who put up the hot score for the day with a 1st round 47.  Chasing him in MPO were Jeff Spring 48, Dario Re 49, and a trio of 51’s from Kyle Moriarty, Mike Habets, and Jim Bailey.

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BCO was a blast!

With a handful of players in striking distance it was Dario Re “Taking Care of Business” in round 2 (in the words of Canadian national heros Bachman Turner Overdrive).  Dario’s steady shooting (49/50) secured the MPO win while his competitors fell off the pace.  In very Canadian fashion, Dario was gracious in victory and praised the TD’s and course as well as encouraging everyone to visit him up North for the Quebec Provincial Disc Golf Championship (which does sound pretty sweet!)  Henderson held onto 2nd place in his final event before PDGA pro worlds and Spring/Moriarty tied for 3rd.

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Kyle Moriarty looking sharp and puring hole 3

The storyline of the day was the compelling duel in MA1.  Charlie Veysey shot a HOT 49 in MA1 and then rested on his laurels through most of round 2.  When he woke up he was deadlocked with the uber-consistent Jaimen Hume and headed to a playoff (Bryan Lake dropped out of a 3-way tie for the lead late in round 2!)  As the gallery looked on, Charlie’s hole 1 drive was true – landing long and low in the fairway with an “easy” up-and-down look.  Jaimen turned his drive early and ended up deep in the woods, his prospects for pushing the hole now looking bleak.  He made a remarkable upshot from the rough – blowing right by the basket but settling long and deep of the pin (again in the woods).  Charlie threw a solid approach that left him with a “simple” 20 footer for 3.  Jaimen was faced with a long putt from the shule with seemingly no line to save par.  He made another tremendous shot to reach the basket but came up inches short when he hit high-cage.  After a roller-coaster playoff “Papa Chuck” was back to the form he displayed in the morning round and nailed his putt to seal the victory.

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Jaimen Hume played rock-solid to force an MA1 playoff.

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Charlie nails the winning putt!

Congrats to all the division winners and many thanks to TD’s Mike Miller and Dave Frothingham for another excellent event!  Full results for the NEFA/PDGA/GMPS event can be found here.  On a side-note we’ve had 2 GMPS sellouts this year: BRO and BCO.  I think this bodes well for the upcoming BurkeView Open…

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TD rockstars Dave Frothingham and Mike Miller

WHATS NEXT!?

Paul Olander and TD Dave Carter welcome you to the grand-daddy of them all – the North Calais Maple Extravaganza.  Competitors will face off Saturday for pride, GMPS points, and Maple Syrup at the oldest course in Vermont.  There is a reason why North Calais is a popular bucket-list course (pun intended) and its GMPS event is a perennial gem.  Mike Habets was undeniable there last year but Oly doesn’t take kindly to players throwing under par and is rumored to have been “Habets-proofing” in the offseason.  Sean Bleything is hitting his stride at just the right time and could give Habets and the rest of the MPO field a run.  Calais is a favorite of salty MA1 veterans James Sweat and Jon Moorer so look for them to keep their young challengers in line, including points leaders Chris Martin and Nolan Power.  If Chris Sherwin can nab a victory here it will go a long way toward catching Anne Lewis in the MPM standings.  Andy Powell will be “playing up” and giving his nearest MA2 competition (Casey Tanner, Chris Wentzell) a chance to close on the leader in his absence.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  See you Saturday!

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!