Saturday, January 7th was the Tupelo Disc Golf Association’s annual Bag Tag Challenge event. I played in my first one last year, and was looking forward to this year’s event. With all the practice I had been doing the last couple of weeks, my aspirations were high. Reality brought me to my knees.

The first round was on Veteran’s Park Original DGC. It is an old course with a lot of elevation changes. Most of the holes are 170-300 feet long, with one that’s 458 from the short tee. I think that hole should be a par 4 for the average player, but then there would be a big argument about the course record on Facebook. That’s a local joke by the way.

Round One

So, the first round didn’t go as planned. I had practiced Vets on the holes that gave me a lot of trouble. My lunch breaks were well spent at that course. While the plastic did not fly as one would hope, I was never faced with a hopeless lie. The wind played a big factor on my biggest nemisis hole, and I took a triple bogey on it. More on that later. I was layered up, and with some hand warmers, I was pleasantly warm the whole day.

 

I had bought a Westside Discs VIP Harp from the new local disc golf store, Star Par Discs, the week before the bag tag event, and had spent the first three days of the year at work on the course at lunch testing out how it would work for me. It is a great overstable approach disc. The video above shows me throwing it on holes 2, 15, 16, & 17. The video below gives little better angle on Hole 2 and how uphill the tee shot is from the short pad. I used to tomahawk something pretty overstable up the hill, but the Harp is working pretty well.

 

All the practice I had went for naught once play started. My group started on Hole 5, a straight down the pipe short par 3. Beginning bogies are a killer. Off tee, I wound up 80′ short. Second shot, I went 25′ long, just to end up hitting cage on my par putt. If memory serves me right, I pulled out pars on the next 4 holes. I tried to decapitate some worms with my drive on 11. A tree limb jumped out and knocked down what would have been a very nice upshot with my Yellow Harp. My putt was low from about 45′, and I took a bogey.

After bogeying 11, I had a good look at birdie on 12. I missed right, and nearly missed my par putt when I hit the nubs at the top of the basket and it bounced off the top of the cage into the chains and in. After throwing to high on 13, I faced a long putt for par, and hit dead center chains. 14 was another high throw that hit a limb and was knocked down early, forcing a scramble for par. Hole 15, which needs a good overstable disc with my forehand, saw my new Westside VIP Harp get caught by a high branch and dropped 100′ short of the basket. I slid it down the hill for an easy par when it stopped less then 15′ from the basket.

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Vets Hole 2 Tee Shot

16 turned out similar, hitting a tree on the left side. 17 gained me more strokes over par after my upshot hit a tree and I missed the resulting bogey putt. I did manage to birdie hole 2 after my forehand Harp tee shot came to rest at the top of the hill. I finished the round with a triple bogey on hole 4. A long par 3 at 450 plus feet in the A position. I tried to keep it out of the wind with a roller off the tee, but it was blowing so strong that it got pushed left into the brush. The same thing happened with my second shot as I tried another roller. I hit a tree on the third shot, then was within 30′ for a double bogey putt that hit the cage so I could collect the triple. All in all, it was a great round for me as I scored my personal best on that course with a 61.

Round 2

The newest course in Tupelo was the setting for the second round. Music Bend DGC opened for play in November of 2015 and is right across the road from Veteran’s Park. Winding its way through the woods and underbrush that is encompassed by a nature walking trail, it is a very challenging course. I love how it can be so good or deflating from hole to hole. The layout has been tweaked since its inception, but to my knowledge it has been over six months since those tweaks were made, and they were well deserved according to the community.

My group started on hole 16. A straight par 3 with a fairway split by a line of trees. Ominously beginning with a horrible tee shot, I started with a bogey. Hole 17 was the beginning of the end. What? It’s just the second hole! I know right! Things can go bad from the start, which I’ll get to in a moment. The whole course was designed to challenge your skills with a disc. Dogleg lefts, rights, meathook holes, and one that’s like a question mark. I think of that song “I hate you, I love you” by gnash ft. Olivia O’brien when I’m playing Music Bend since it brings out both emotions, and can swap between the two from shot to shot.

On to the rest of my round. On hole 17, my tee shot hit a tree. So did my second throw. And my third. Each time I advanced maybe 50 feet down the fairway. I pured a Harp upshot to take a double bogey from about 15 feet. My nemesis hole came up soon. A bad tee shot, followed by several more notched me a triple bogey on the par 4 first hole. It didn’t get much better the rest of the round. I joked that the Music Bend Street number of the day was a 4. I did throw a majestic roller on hole 2 with my DD Justice that stopped 40′ left of the basket, to which I two putted for par.

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Hole 1 Music Bend

Cutting the story short, I carded a 76 on Music Bend. Like I said, it wasn’t pretty. I know I can shoot better than that, and I have during casual rounds and solo. The course just had my number that day. I had a blast though. I love the yearly bag tag event.

Results

After that horrible second round, I knew I would be near the bottom of the scoreboard.

I ended up 31st out of 33 people who made it to the event. Not a good showing. But I’m not a tournament player. Never will be, never want to be. I’m out to have fun.

Big thanks goes out to Philips Garden Center. They provided a prize for every golfer that attended the event. They have been a huge supporter of disc golf in the area for many years now.

Normally the top ten finishers after the two rounds are done have a playoff to determine the top 10 tags. This year, they let them vote on a few options. A safari playoff was the winner, which has been the usual format. The club officers chose to let the top ten choose how they wanted to determine the winner this year. Off they went, and I tagged along to grab a few shots with my phone. I put together a short video, but remember, I did this with my phone, so there isn’t any zooming in to follow the disc.

 

I look forward to next year’s bag tag event and hope that I can shoot better the next time around.

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