I haven’t posted in a while due to the fact that other than league night on Wednesdays at George Ward, I haven’t played that many different courses lately. This post is long overdue for the course and this could be a blessing in disguise that I’ve waited such a long time to recollect my experiences in a nutshell. On my first two trips to this park I was accompanied by Tony Sanders – props to him for giving me valuable insight into a straighter drive with added distance.
The course = brutally awesome
The park = sketch
- Coming together quickly for such a new course due to the efforts of volunteers associated with DGB – great job guys!
- Great layout with an intimidating first hole
- Very scenic hike – can even catch a glimpse of a rusted out car hull from the 50’s
- Tee pads are poured concrete
- For such a heavily wooded area, poison ivy is contained to the perimeter
- Gate at front entrance – doesn’t go anywhere but looks cool
- Amateur and pro pads – diggin’ this even though not playing pro pads
Sketch/This sucks/Why is this happening to me
- Got into chiggers – left and right legs from knee down covered
- Weird hiker on course
- Called a friend in the medical industry about the empty packets I found on the course and apparently it is similar to methadone – sketch
- Stung on right jaw bone by yellow jacket on hole #18
- No trash cans on course or parking lot area
- Slow drive bys in parking lot
- Found a shoe and backpack off gully on right side of #1 – don’t need a ‘Stand By Me’ moment
- Pulled tick off stomach and got a slight infection on the area it attached
- People sitting and/or sleeping in their cars at park entrance – because I normally like to pull my vehicle into a city park’s parking lot to catch a little shut-eye
- Traffic coming in and out of Lake Heather’s gated access for boats
Keep in mind that for beginners looking to have an enriching first time to play disc golf, this is not the place for such an experience. Out of the local courses, George Ward is still the best place to take people new to the sport due to: chill folks playing, easy walk, not difficult keeping up with your disc and most importantly, Tom is there. For those that haven’t met Tom, you are definitely missing out on affordable merchandise (discs, accessories, etc.) and solid advice.
Four of the Dogleg crew (including myself) returned from Denver this past Monday. Stay posted for some stories on this adventure.
It has been a while since I’ve posted and thought I’d do a quick briefing before I get into the post title. It has been over a month since I’ve thrown a disc. This sucks and it looks like it will be another few weeks before I’ve got time to get down to business as usual. The last time I played was with Jeremiah at George Ward and am definitely eager to get back to it soon. I also got tagged in the left ass cheek with a disc the week prior to meeting up with Jeremiah at George Ward on #16 – an omen?
Anyways, I saw in the Cullman Times where they have finally done a write up on the new course at Heritage Park in Cullman. For those of you interested, yes, it is awesome. I’ve played it several times and always early on Sunday morning. I am usually the only person out there but that is to be expected before 8 in the morning. Check out the article for the highlights – http://www.cullmantimes.com/localsports/x1184191812/LOCAL-SPORTS-Heritage-Park-adds-disc-golf-course . If you happen to be in the area without your discs, have heard that Werner’s Trading Company is selling discs and is on the way to the course if you are arriving by Exit 308 on I-65 – http://www.wernerstrading.com/ . They also sell craft brews. Just sayin’.
Give me a couple more weeks and another post will follow – hopefully one that doesn’t include me getting hit by another disc.
My latest travels brought me to the suburbs of Atlanta in search of the rhythm and soul sensation of Huey Lewis and The News, the crisp finish of Sweetwater’s finest yield, culinary tour of the local hot spots and disc golf at Wills Park. Matt Moore embarked upon this adventure with me with what I can only assume was gusto and trepidation. This was his first time to play disc golf.
Locating the first tee is a task in and of itself. Luckily we were able to find an employee that was able to point us in the right direction. This quest took us past pavilions, baseball fields and tennis courts until we found ourselves adjacent to a bathroom with a practice basket in the front. The first fairway brought us to one of the meandering creeks that flow throughout the entirety of the park. The majority of the holes were not only adjacent to a creek but also in a flood plain (bringing an extra pair of shoes is not a bad idea). I was one of the lucky few that managed to fall in the creek (think around #4) and later had the pleasure of walking the rest of the course with a large brown streak on my backside. Good times.
The rest of the course plays fairly quickly until you get to #s 15 and 16. Getting lost is a given but the best part is locating #17 which happens to be at the other end of the park. I will have to say that playing eighteen holes at Wills Park is sort of like performing the lead role in Jim Henson’s “Labyrinth”; you feel directionless (poor course markings), confused with the spontaneous outbreaks of song and dance (nearby pavilions are host to summer camps) and witness to things you don’t ordinarily see (neighboring equestrian arena and an overabundance of discarded baseballs).
I would definitely play this course again.
- Concrete tee boxes with awesome signs
- Saw a couple of snakes chilling (one in a creek and another in the woods)
- Restroom on the course (not sure what the deal was with the benches inside – very odd)
- The local players we met gave helpful advice on hole locations and playability
- Lack of signs, course markings, etc.
- Played course in wet shoes and muddy shorts
- There were a LOT of people on the walking trails – try not to hit anyone
- A good bit of poison oak and ivy – watch out
A chocolate flavored Philly cigar and 45 minutes later we roll into Huntsville to discover that it is after 12 o’clock. Sweet action.*Please see notation 1 at bottom. We make our way out of the closest gas station laden with a 9 pack of the new pint sized Miller Lites with screw caps and a sixer of Natty. I feel this is the right moment to include that if Bud Light Lime was willing to make the move to these awesomely futuristic, non-spill aluminum screw top bottles, disc golf would never be the same. I always manage to spill my canned beverage throughout my travels on the course with antics such as knocking it over with my foot, spilling over my hand as well as other forms of delightful inelegance. You love it.
We pulled into Monte Sano and paid our $3 admission per person to find that the course was immediately next to the gate. I was surprised to find that the entire course is wooded. For those that have been reading my posts, I’m sure you know how unwavering I am in my attitude towards poison oak. Fortunately the course was well maintained and there were only small patches throughout.*Please see notation 2 at bottom. I found this course to be the most enjoyable wooded course I have been on yet – sorry, Trussville. #6 is a bit difficult to find, but that’s all right. On your roundabout walk to the tee, you can stop by the gift shop to hit up the air conditioned bathroom or chill outside and talk to the assortment of hikers, bikers and other disc golf aficionado’s.
I was a little disappointed that the front 9 went by so quickly – it seemed like it only took us 30 minutes to finish these. Fortunately the back 9 and the scenic view overlooking the park next to #17 more than made up for this. There are a lot of trees/obstacles to throw around but not a big deal; it seems that it gives you a bit more of a challenge than your ordinary park. I was not thrilled with the course’s ratings from the website we had referenced; could use an elevated rating from its current status.
I would definitely come back and play another 18 at Monte Sano.
The ride back to Good Hope wasn’t bad at all considering we had a stop to Krystal’s on Memorial Parkway in Huntsville for a bite to eat. We later had a bathroom stop at the Stuckey’s/Dairy Queen in Lacon where we somehow managed to find the exit within the overcrowded maze of knickknack filled aisles. Helpful tip – do not venture into the bathroom stall in the Men’s Room. I’m fairly certain a small creature ventured into the toilet only to die in there weeks ago and will probably still be there to greet unsuspecting travelers in the upcoming months.
- The trees afforded much needed shade for a warm summer day
- Very scenic and enjoyable hike through the woods
- Easily navigable with painted arrows and multitude of signs
- Low amount of poison oak
- Gift shop/air conditioned rest room
- There were benches throughout to take a breather and watch the wildlife – saw a lot of squirrels, birds and even a snake chilling in a ditch
- The tees had carpet over them – wasn’t sure how to take this
- No hole was less than 200’
- Stephen did not purchase a pecan log at Stuckey’s
- Not many trash cans throughout course
*Notation 1 – For the out of town readers on the 12 o’ clock bit – please be aware of the local ordinances within ‘wet’ cities/towns in Alabama. You typically have to wait until 12 noon before you can purchase beer or wine. Also, some jurisdictions will not allow the consumer to purchase ANY alcohol on Sunday outside of a restaurant (notable example includes Shelby County). Welcome to the Bible Belt.
*Notation 2 – Poison oak – Please do not be confused with a five leafed native plant that does have similar leaf margins because I assure you it is NOT poison oak. WHY? What is the easiest way to distinguish between this five leafed native plant and poison oak? Poison oak has three leaves and as the old adage goes that aids in remembering this, “Leaves of three, let it be.”
It began as a rendezvous at the Jack’s Truck Stop and Western Wear parking lot in Good Hope, AL. The plan: meet up with Jeremiah and Stephen, head to Sparkman Park in Hartselle, maybe grab a bite to eat and be back before lunch. Plans are subject to change.
I can only make it two plates into the breakfast buffet at Jacks before I have to throw in the towel; looks like it’s time to head to Hartselle. Thirty minutes later, we pull into the deserted parking lot adjacent to some baseball fields and it is already smoldering outside; it’s not even noon. Four holes into the course and drastic times call for drastic measures – I rocked an ascot. My standard attire usually consists of a Grateful Dead bandana, sweat band on the wrist, Sperry’s, collared shirt and comfortable shorts. However, it looks like I may have just added a little flavor to the usual ensemble from here on out. Beware.
This is the first time any of us had ventured to the Sparkman Park and overall I was not impressed. The ongoing premise shared by all is that it would be a good practice/home course but definitely not somewhere to drive out of your way to.
- Concrete tee boxes – made every drive a pleasure
- Bathroom on site (and not a portable one – wow)
- Easy to locate discs
- Lack of poison oak
- Not many obstacles to throw around (trees, shrubs, etc.)
- No signs for the majority of the tee boxes
- Baskets were not numbered
- Due to the prior two bullets, we were unable to find the last three holes – only played thru 15
- There was a lot of trash – this was probably due in part to the close proximity of the parking lot, baseball fields and local school
We left Hartselle and I felt incomplete. The course didn’t meet my expectations and we hadn’t played 18. Jeremiah and Stephen had already planned to play at least 1 course in Huntsville that they had not played on their last visit.
Count me in.
. . .on a nasty dunk. Shaq’s wise adage from his much exalted Reebok commercial certainly rings true on my experience with #15 at North Jasper Park – 42 foot putt for par on that bad boy. Not too shabby for the guy that has yet to even make a birdie on this course.
I met up with Stephen and Jeremiah early in the morning this past Sunday for our outing before they began their North Alabama disc golf tour. We started a little after 9 and there was no one on the course before we began or after we finished – sweet action. Stephen and I tied at 3 over and Jeremiah finished at 5 over. Not bad for a day’s work; especially when you’ve broken a sweat before stepping up to the first tee box.
- Random pair of fitness shorts sitting on the park bench adjacent to parking lot
- Deserted course
- Dead raccoon was gone – Stephen and Jeremiah watched one of the neighborhood dogs chewing on it Saturday afternoon. Apparently it was the same dog that a week prior planted himself in the middle of a nearby driveway and proceeded to go to town on himself for at least half an hour
- Still no birdie for this guy
- Tied with same score as last week
- Pine trees were knocking discs down like it was going out of style
In case you haven’t noticed, the dates of my last few postings have been somewhat irregular – like a week or two between them. Due to the recent tornado/high wind damage on the family property, I have been pretty much out of the game running a chainsaw for the last few weeks (and many more weeks to come). Combine this with me living in 1912 (yes, Stephen, I am a little behind on the technology curve) and there will be a few inconsistencies in my posts. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy running a chainsaw but I’d also be much happier maneuvering an early 90’s Chris-Craft with Roxette’s “Dangerous” playing in the background and accompanied by some overzealous dancers that hail from the Mississippi Delta.
Everyone needs a goal in life.
Saturday evening rolls around and it begins; scratching of the arms, body spasms, slurred speech and uncontrolled movement of my legs. I’m jonesing. It’s been 2 weeks since I played and the craving has kicked in with a fury; time to call Stephen.
North Jasper Park in Jasper, AL has been on my list for a while since it has been played by the majority of the Dogleg crew and also due to its short driving distance from Birmingham. For those of you that are unaware of where this course is located, please do not consult with Yahoo Maps or you will wind up in a random industrial park in the back water of Jasper wondering why the only vehicle in the parking lot appears to be the semi-trailer truck that was featured in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”.
I did not bring my discs with me this time (sound familiar?) and Stephen let me borrow some of his. I was pretty stoked about this but unfortunately the only bag I could find to carry my gear was a large mesh football practice bag with my former high school’s slogan and number. Great – throw in a gnarled hickory branch to carry it and I’m headed off to the nearest rail yard to board a box car bound for a hobo life of panhandling and malt liquor. Aside from the bag, I was able to try out some new discs Stephen had gotten in. The Ching Prism did not rank very high for use as a driver; I would have similar distance and flight pattern if I thawed a DiGiorno pizza and attempted to throw it. I primarily used an Innova Monarch for a driver and after getting used to it, I was throwing it as well as the Dragon – not too shabby, but I still missed the Dragon. Stephen finished par for the course and I finished 3 over. Overall I greatly enjoyed this park and would definitely play it again. Below are some highlights and also shortcomings of North Jasper Park.
- No poison oak, few trees and essentially flat terrain – made for an easy day of tall boys and relaxation
- There is a swimming pool adjacent to the course that was filled in with dirt and currently has a garden planted in it (ladders and other accessories still attached)
- Regularly mown – easy to find discs if they’ve traveled off the path
- Porta-john – few courses I’ve been to rarely have anything vaguely resembling a toilet
- The majority of the holes are around 200 feet
- Not many disc golf players – can leisurely enjoy each hole
- Walkers and joggers are rampant on sidewalk throughout course – watch out!
- Dead raccoon
- Somewhat difficult to find if not familiar with the area or using Yahoo Maps
As much as I would like to use the peppy yet upbeat lyrics from Milli Vanilli’s “Blame it on the Rain”, it just can’t happen. I won’t let it; the rain isn’t to blame – only the crystal-clear, head-splitting, vomit-causing disaster known as ‘shine. This is only a precursor for later in the story, so let’s take a recap of the weekend.
Friday evening rolls around and I’m off to meet Jeremiah at George Ward. Stuck in traffic and 30 minutes late I finally roll into the parking lot with a handful of tall boys and an enthusiastic demeanor. Unfortunately neither lasted very long; some d-bag intent on crushing my short-lived hopes and dreams found it amusing to change the pin location on every hole. Even though Jeremiah and myself finished with our personal course bests (9 and 21 over respectively), I still found it necessary to mumble a steady stream of unsavory words from hole to hole. On a side note, this was the first time to play disc golf without Stephen at my side. And if you’re wondering, the answer is yes – I did find it a bit unsettling but still managed to pull through albeit slightly distraught.
Saturday evening and I’ve just finished a landscaping job – off to George Ward again. I show up on time but look and smell like a prostitute from the Wild West; covered in a mulch/topsoil/funk mixture from head to toe as well an unsavory sour smell that has stayed with me since the job site. I love it. Stephen and Jeremiah show up shortly and the pre-game at the trunk begins; a touch of the ‘shine and BL Lime as a chaser. Tip, sip, swallow, burn, burn, burn, repeat. Off to a good start and my cursing from yesterday resumes though only for every other hole since I actually know where the pin locations are this time. We were able to witness a block party going on in the parking lot and outdoor sheds beginning on #15 thru #17 that had deep bass tracks reverberating throughout the whole park. We also saw a younger fellow under the influence of something other alcohol lose track of his disc after it hit a tree directly ahead of him, 10 yards away on #1 tee. Good times. At the end of the day, I finished 22 over while Stephen rocked out with a 9 over. Perhaps the secret to his success (and maybe my demise) was the sweat producing/intestinal burning/pore permeating hooch?
Friday afternoon, sun blazing, disc golf tee time steadily approaching and off I go in the ‘Russian Tank’ bound for an eatery downtown to meet up with the rest of the crew. Would anyone at the delicatessen notice the guy walking in with a backpack rattling with various accoutrements and attired in a sweat-soaked shirt? Before I could give this much more thought, I became a spectator to the new marketing strategy of a homeless gent that decided to slap the side of an SUV while it was backing up (pretty sure this didn’t pan out for him) and also saw an anti-death rally at 5 Points that featured a person tied to a cross. Should I take these events as some sort of omen? I was soon able to enjoy an awesome sandwich that eventually caught up with me (not too awesome 45 minutes later) that made me sound like a gristmill thundering it’s way from hole to hole. Mix that in with some wine and apparently that was the secret to my success for the day.
Greg Carter Memorial DGC was the latest of the courses to conquer. It’s around half a mile away for Poison Oak Gulch (John LeMaster DGC) and for anyone that has a can-do attitude and a pocket full of dreams, both courses can be played in a matter of hours with a driving time of less than 2 minutes. Sweet action. This was my 5th time to play and first time to play this course. While there is a bit of poison oak beginning with #7 thru #16 (excluding #’s 12 & 13), it is in no shape or fashion a disaster area like the other course (still carrying Benadryl cream and a grudge from weekend prior). #’s 14 thru 17 are hazardous – the road is precariously close to the holes, so watch for traffic.
I had my longest putt (between 60 – 70 feet) and also my longest drive (unfortunately onto neighboring baseball field). I am still using one of my Carson Classics (Pig) as my putter and the Dragon has been a champ on the drives. I observed possibly the longest drive with a Beast by Stephen – 3 to 4 football field lengths at a 45º degree angle straight into the woods; the Beast was never heard from again. The results of the game are as follows: J.T. in the lead, Jeremiah in second and I tied for third with Stephen.
Had a great time and hope to see the rest of the crew soon.
Note to self: always have a spare set of clothing on hand. You may drive a Wrangler and the clothing will probably become moldy and foul-smelling after a short length of time, but at least have the option. I also came to a harsh realization after playing on Sunday evening; much to my amazement and utter disbelief, it is not always awe-inspiring to have your rugged chest hair exposed. Why you ask? Because the whole time you’re traipsing around the course looking like some d-bag in a JC Penney advertisement, you’re thinking about that undershirt you could have worn during the wedding and then later be clad in it as your outer garment the following day. Case in point – Captain Awesome is wearing the striped button up with khakis followed by some thick-soled Wellingtons and played two courses in this ensemble. At least I left the jacket in the vehicle. I love it.
Prior to playing this day (third time I’ve played), the only discs in my possession were 2 drivers. Wish I could have played them but unfortunately they were at home with my spare clothing.
Course #1 after the wedding was at Civitan Park (John LeMaster DGC) in Trussville including Tim, Jason, JT, Stephen and me. This was the third time for me to play and first time to play this course. Due to different departure times, only 12 of these holes were conquered. I really enjoyed this course because it didn’t seem heavily populated thus making it more convenient by not having anyone needing to play through. Seriously, I think there were maybe a dozen people there at most including ourselves (especially on a nice afternoon – weird). This course boasted a wide assortment of flora that included a robust amount of poison oak; be careful picking up your disc and try to hold that deuce until you get back to civilization. So what did I learn about this course you may ask? Out of the holes we did play, #2 was a heart/leg breaker – if you don’t fall on the rocks or fling a disc in the privet/poison oak medley then you must be a straight up champ. It is also a good idea to watch out for people chillin’ in or around the shores of the Cahaba on #6 thru #11. We may have been witnesses to a baptism. With my aim it is only a matter of time until someone inadvertently places themselves into my line of fire. Overall this course was fun as hell and would really like play it again at a later date. Much appreciation to Stephen and Jason – I can now play a game without having a driver as the only disc – Thanks guys!
Course #2 after the wedding was at George Ward Park in Birmingham with Stephen, Jeremiah and me. This was my second time to play this course and fourth time to play. We not only played 18 but also the ‘extra’ 6 between #14 & #15. I had a 76 at the end of the 18 not counting A thru F. Sweet action. This course is great to play but can get rather crowded – at least there are some patient folks in this ‘neck of the woods’ that are able to put up with my driving shenanigans and not send a disc in the direction of my face like I am mistakenly doing to players on other holes.
Greg Carter Memorial DGC next – nice. . . . . .I am also up to 5 discs – score. . . .
I had a great time catching up with everyone this weekend and hope we can do it all again soon – Vegas anyone?