Nothing Like it in This World

Welcome to Crowley’s Corner, the place for Disc Golf players everywhere.  .  .  .

Edition, #OO5 will look at the experience of playing Worlds, what to expect and how to prepare.  So enjoy, while you rest up for your next round of disc golf.

Nothing Like it in This World

Playing in the Disc Golf World Championships can be one of the most exciting events of your disc golf career. To earn an invite is an acheivment, but to actually be able to play in this PDGA major, is special. The people, the golf and the events all make this an experience that will stay with you for a long time.

If you want to play Worlds someday, the best way to do it is to get automatically invited. How? Well, you play in alot of tournaments and get alot of points in your division and end up in the top 25% in your state.  These are the first qualifiers who will be able to sign up first. You pay your entry and you are IN. After that, it goes by criteria such as years in the PDGA and such. You have to get on the list and see if you make it when the second wave of invites come out.

So- you’ve got your invite and registered for the tournament, now what?

Time to book the hotel. The host hotel is usually the best choice, otherwise, try to be close because it’s normally centrally located within the courses and events. Staying at the host hotel is really fun when you see Climo and Feldberg and these kinds of World Class players all week. Plus, alot of the events are scheduled there and PDGA Headquaters and staff are onsite and have the scoring boards posted for all the divisions.

Before you get there is the time to practice and get your game at it’s best. Once you get there you try and practice or at least take a look at the courses you are about play. You might be playing 5 courses so it’s likely that you will have to play a course that you have never even seen before. This can be a frightening proposition.

It gets hectic ’cause you get up about 5 am everyday to eat and practice a little before teeing off at 7:30 or 8. Then in the afternoon you eat some lunch and get to another course across town and hopefully practice a bit before teetime. You better have clear directions or a GPS or driving around a strange city can get crazy. It’s a little stressful ’til you actually arrive and know you won’t miss any holes. Plus you should really check your starting holes because if you have a long walk to get there, you’ll need a head start. Better to practice near your hole. You’ll see players running down fairways at full speed when two minutes is called. Not a good way to start a round.

Next day, same thing, but different courses, and  you are grouped according to your score. From now on you will either move up or down the list. By day 3, you might get a morning or afternoon off but then comes the “Great Shuffle”, where the final pool assignments come out aligned by score in your division for the final stretch.

Next is the events, which seem non-stop. Each night something different if you can keep up the pace. There’s the Flymart, which is like a huge disc golf market, selling everything disc golf. Good day to pick up any plastic you might need or check out all the good deals.

Everyone is so excited about being there and it’s alot fun ’til the exhaustion sets in. After a couple days of playing you start to get tired but there’s no rest because that night might be the Banquet, which is also the PDGA Awards Dinner. You get to see the big shots win their Player of the Year Awards. It’s the one night to dress up and treat yourself. Also a special night for Hall of Fame Inductees.

Another night is the Players Party, which you can’t miss. They feed you good and this is the night to slug a beer or two with your disc golf competitors. Your starting to see alot of the people you’ve met during the week and by now we have leaders in every divison to talk about.

The PDGA does a great job of making it a great experience for the players but the Volunteers are what keep the whole operation from falling apart. Most players thank the volunteers as much as possible and tip the spotters sometimes when they find your errant throws, though of course it’s optional. Especially if they get your disc out of water or a tree. You are not allowed to delay play and climb a tree so if your lucky, someone might get it for you while you move on with your group.

Also a great time to check out the city you’re playing in. You might be tired but this may be your one and only chance to see or do something special. These are the kinds of memories you bring home along with the birdies and the bogeys(and 9′s) . Most of the players are gracious and will sign a disc for you as long as it’s not during play. Another cool thing is meeting some of the same people from Worlds of past that you met before. You’ll begin to feel like you belong in the disc golf “family”. All of a sudden, it’s almost over.

Ok- the most exciting part is the incredible spector of disc golf’s showcase round, the Final 9, where the champion is crowned at the end.

The top 4 players in the world that week play for the  title on a layout that sometimes has double length holes. To see the shots these cats make will blow your mind. With alot at stake. With a huge gallery. For huge money, in front of cameras, making history. This IS the bigtime.

Finally-  the awards ceremony and payouts. Game over and time to go home ’cause you checked out of the hotel that morning. Also the time to say good bye to all your new friends and new champions and get back to your real life.

There’s nothing like it. . . . . in the World.

DISC GOLF RULES!

From the PDGA rulebook:

802.02 Mini Marker Discs

Mini marker discs shall be used to mark a player’s lie as required by the rules. Mini marker discs must have a diameter of between 7 and 15 centimeters and a height not exceeding 2.54 centimeters.

GOLF TICKER. . . . . . .

Congrats to Larry Oyler, Greg Meitus, Chris Sweet and Don Courbat for earning invites to Am Worlds in Ohio this year…………..and KC Cummings, Eric Trippany, Bob Honch and Gary Crowley for earning automatic invites to Pro Worlds in Indianna………..Dave Feldberg wins Memorial in Arizona……Josh Anthon came in second,  Ken Climo third, Nikko Locastro fifth and Paul McBeth 6th……….2010 Ice Bowl raises money for local food banks as 44 players attend Clay event Hosted by Doug Courbat…….NY State Disc Golf Championships at Warwick April 24, 2010……

MENTAL NOTES

-To be a great golfer, it’s very important that you’re self reliant and have the ability to function independently.

-Acceptance is tightly linked to the patience that is required of all great golfers.

-Patience means knowing that you can’t dictate when success occurs.

(all from sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella)

THOUGHTS ON GOLF

So Far I’ve been lucky enough to play in 4 World Championships, twice as an amateur and twice Pro. Each one was special in so many ways.

Nashville Tennesee in 2001 was my first,and it was such a whirlwind, I really didn’t have much of a clue about how it all worked, but I made the semi finals. Then Iowa, which they were calling the best Worlds ever at the time, where I made semi finals again.  Played my first Pro Worlds in PA and missed the cut by one single shot. My last Worlds was in Michigan. I missed the cut by 10 shots.  My favorite moments at Worlds was seeing Ron Russel (99), Barry Schultz (04), Nate Doss (05) and Dave Feldberg (08) win their World Titles. Being there for these historic moments makes the whole trip worthwhile, and makes you want to go back.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of the ‘Corner. It’s a pleasure for me to write about America’s fastest growing sport- Disc Golf.

Gary Crowley – Writer- Crowley’s Corner

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