Sunday was PDGA League day. I have looked forward to the past three Sundays with much anticipation. I’m not a good disc golfer, but I enjoy just being on the course with other players. My home course is not a very difficult one for an Intermediate player. You can go to the league result page and see for yourself. My best on that course is a decent +4 on the course par of 60. Sunday though, I shot an acceptable 9 over.
I started off in bad fashion. My card started on hole 1, which is not a terribly hard hole. You can throw a forehand along the walking path that runs to the left of the fairway and hyzer right towards the hole. And there is the backhand option, which has a gap you must hit on a hyzer line and follow the fairway straight to the hole. I throw the forehand route, as expected, and face one obstacle. I have dubbed it “That One Tree.”
What’s In A Name
All courses have them. Trees that seem to catch many more discs than the others in the vicinity. It’s not always the first tree to the right of the tee pad, better known as the “Billy Tree.” That term is explained on Final Round Radio episode 32 around 16 minutes in. The tree that I am talking about is the one that you mention when you make the following statement: “If that one tree wasn’t there, I’d be parked.” And if it’s not that exact statement, it’s something very similar. That’s why I have designated a few trees on my home course “That One Tree.”
Some holes have more than one of “That One Tree” guarding a safe path to the basket. I’m not talking about when you have to throw up and over a grove to make it to the fairway around a bend for your upshot. With a cannon for an arm, you could make that up and over shot without to much of an issue. Take Paul McBeth this past weekend at the BHMO in Ohio. On Hole 13, he threw a forehand up and over the trees to make it to where he can make a good upshot or putt. Those types of obstacles can be avoided with enough power.
What’s In a Throw
The forehand is my dominant throw, and has been since about six months after I started playing. It gets me in trouble from time to time since I don’t have a reliable anhyzer flight with most of my discs. I can only trust two discs to go left and stay that way when I try a forehand anhyzer, and those are a Dynamic Discs Lucid Warrant and Fluid Warden. That said, I tried an anyhyzer forehand on Hole 8 on Sunday. There’s a mando tree, and I missed it badly. It was sort of like that WTF Richard video everybody likes to laugh at from time to time.
Take a look at the following video. It’s the 2016 Masters Cup at DeLaveaga DGC. Hole 10 doesn’t seem to be that hard of a hole. At just 347 feet long, I would consider it one that would almost be a given birdie for a 1000+ rated pro. Just watch what happens.
Three out of four fall victim to “that one tree.” While I don’t relish in their misfortune as they are playing to make money, I do relish the fact that even pros hit trees. On Hole 17 at my home course, I have one last tree that I battle with almost every time I play. From the tee pad, there is nothing to block a good tee shot. Both the forehand and backhand routes are wide open, with only the riverbank to worry about on either shot as long as you can throw it over the large creek that crosses 100-150 feet in front of the basket. I have no issues getting over the creek, but as my disc hyzers to the right, that one tree gets me almost every time.
What Happens To Your Score
The foreboding in this sections title gives even me a sense of what is to come from that one tree. Higher scores. It can’t be helped once you hit that one tree. You gain an extra stroke immediately, and if it happens on more than one hole, it can take you out of contention for the round or tournament if it happens to often. When I hit that one tree on Hole 1, I ended up taking a 4. The same thing happened to me on Hole 17. After I hit the tree, I ended up with more than par, though I can’t be specific on whether it was a 4 or 5.
Using a just crowned World Champion might seem harsh, but Ricky Wysocki hit an early tree on Hole 16 at the Northwood course during the Ledgestone tournament the week after Worlds. He immediately knew that it was going to cost him as he turned around in disgust at the bad throw. He tweaked his ankle again late in the semi-final round during Worlds, and I bet that injury is still lingering, since he hasn’t been quite the same since. He played much better at the last NT of the year, coming in second, and funny money says he’ll enjoy a not so stressful month of September to let that ankle heal up and get back to Worlds form.
Cut, Chop, Burn!!
So now what do we do. I say fire up the chainsaw, grab some fire starter, and hit the course for some “improvements.” If that one tree is on your private course, it shouldn’t have lasted very long before it was fuel for a barbecue. If your club has an agreement with the city or whoever owns the land the course is on to manage and maintain the course, load up and head out and make a difference in somebody’s score!! If you don’t have the rights to do so, I guess putting in the backyard will have to do for now, or just learn how to avoid that one tree.