Imagine getting into a small car owned by a large man and going off to an unknown destination. When you got there, you were surrounded by devotees of a sport that you thought was something only hung-over college dudes played. Then you got to play that sport’s version of The Masters.
That was me on Saturday, heading to Flyboy with raconteur, social media muckity muck and owner of a stellar beer cellar even if it’s in his bedroom Jason Dominy. He discovered disc golf by accident 20 years ago, just throwing a frisbee (note to self: do not call a disc a frisbee to a real disc golfer) around with friends when another man told them to get out of the way because he was playing through. They played. They got hooked.
What the hell is disc golf? Of course there’s an association. It’s like real golf except that you “tee off” from what looks like a thick black yoga mat, getting a running or in my case stumbling start before throwing. And yes, there are different discs for different throws. Jason and I played with three other guys and each of them had equipment like they were going camping. You don’t quite have a huge bag with clubs but there are many discs because they’re easy to lose, especially on this course. A couple of them even had little folding chairs that were useful between holes.
The course could be described as woodsy. We had to cross a private airport runway to start then as we appeared to go into the forest there was the first mat. The gap between trees was narrow on the first throw, and there was a clearing, and the basket that’s the disc golf version of the hole was nowhere in sight.
I didn’t throw hard at first, hoping to aim even though before that day I hadn’t even thrown a frisbee in years. I played it safe and eventually found the hole, quite a few strokes above par.
We were playing behind another group but occasionally they disappeared and once we found the basket, determining where the next “hole” started was not easy. At one hole we were a couple hundred feet headed in the wrong direction before the guy who owns the land beckoned us over where he happened to be waiting. Kelly is a retired Air Force pilot who thought “what the hell, build a disc golf course in the woods and invite people over to play it”.
I couldn’t get too far without describing hole three. We are in a neighborhood, although homes are well spaced out. Occasionally if your disc goes too far out of bounds, it’s not yours anymore. On this hole there’s about four hundred feet of “fairway” followed by water. Lots of water. Your goal is to get as close to the edge as possible and throw over. It’s 300 feet. I think one of our fivesome made it across. I took the “drop”, seeing as I didn’t exactly keep score and the discs I would have lost were not mine.
When we arrived at the hangar which is literally that, it was cold, almost freezing, and I wondered about the sanity of walking through the woods throwing discs at invisible baskets for hours. It warmed up and turned into an amazing day. I even got a couple of pars in the process.
Around hole 19 we headed back to the hangar and while the other three guys wanted to play through to 27, we needed sustenance. I brought two chicken biscuits that were so greasy that they disintegrated the paper bag. I also brought a couple of Westbrook Goses and Jason, who must have a sixer in his glove compartment at all times, had a Firestone Walker. We sat in what used to be seats in a 747 and had an impromptu bottle exchange as one of Jason’s friends who drove from South Carolina had bombers from all over the country for sharing. I also had the following beer, the first beer in which I could taste marshmallows so obviously I liked it.
It was a relaxing Saturday, although I need to get some kind of old man contraption to pick up the disc over and over again as my back was not happy. I saw an opening to do something new with a friend who already has a lot. It looks like I’m asking Santa for a Hurricane Driver to arrive in my stocking this year.