Black Falls!! (BRO-ver and Out)


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!





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?


B.R.O. Awaits as Next GMPS Challenge


Devico tuning up on Fox Run

Okay, so maybe we dragged our feet a little on a “preview” for The Brewster Ridge Open (III).  The justification was this: why hype something whose excellence is already known far and wide?  Thanks to the hard work of Jeff Spring, Pat Abbott, Jon Lange, and the rest of the crew Brewster Ridge has a growing reputation as a disc golf destination in New England.  Brewster is a well-designed course with immaculate grooming in a gorgeous mountainside setting.  The Fox Run 9 and main 18 offer outstanding hole variety and an array of challenges that will test the best disc golfers in the world.  In fact, Brewster has played host to the likes of Ricky Wysocki, Simon Lizotte, Will Schusterick, Steve Brinster, Nikko Locastro, and Avery Jenkins at the BRO’s “big brother” tournament: the Green Mountain Championship (don’t take my word for it: check out last year’s coverage).  While you might not see any of our regional pros parking hole 20 this weekend, you can bet that the competition will be fierce and fun at this standout annual.  In addition to the coveted BRO title and added cash, players will be vying for an invite to the Maple Hill Open in this qualifying tournament.

While visiting family in the area (ok my wife was visiting while I was disc golfing) I was fortunate enough to spend much of Memorial Day on the course.  I was joined by Justin Devico, Alan Gofberg, Anne Lewis, and Dave Frothingham and it was the most fun I’ve had playing disc golf in a while.  Some of us were seeing the course for the first time (nobody’s buying the “new to disc golf” thing, Alan), some of us were avoiding in-laws, and others just doing what they love to do on a free afternoon.  I can tell you first-hand that the course was looking pristine in its tournament layout and is ready to host a full field of excited New England disc golfers this weekend.  I’m sure they’ll leave Jeffersonville just as charmed as I did.  Are YOU ready for the B.R.O., brah?  We’ll find out Sunday!!


How can you walk by hole 20 and not throw your entire bag??


Kicking the Sap Bucket


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.


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.


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…


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!



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