Friday, October 14, 2011

Disc Golf...One of My New Favorite Activies

My Dad always tells me, "You know, you are always busy doing something."  He knows this because he follows me on Facebook and also has access to my Google Calendar.  Between my work, brewing, tailgating, preparing to be a new dad, working around the house, going to concerts or sporting events, and all the other activities I like doing, I've recently taken on another hobby....disc golf.

What I looked like when I
lived in Vermont
I've been aware of disc golf for years, maybe as far back as my years of living in Vermont (94-99).  I mean seriously, there's so many hippies with hacky sacks and frisbees up there, it's not event funny!  The issue here is that I've always been a contact sport guy and disc golf looked slow and never really interested me, especially when compared to my love of street hockey.  Well shot up knees and a few concussions later, I needed to stop playing hockey and find a new sport as a hobby.  I tried kickball and it lead to me drinking too much.  I tried softball, but couldn't find a reliable league for softball players who just weren't that good at it.  I even tried curling, but my free time usually comes in the summer and curling is only a winter sport around Maryland.

Then last year, a good friend from my homebrew club named Chris mentioned he was going to play disc golf and I should come along.  He and his friends were going on the morning of my birthday and I figured that would be a great way to kick off the day with some fun in the sun.  I met him and his crew over at Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge and I completely sucked.  In fact, my first throw (along with many other throws that day) went whizzing into the woods.  Chris and his friends were patient with me and helped spot me all morning long.  They offered nothing but encouragement and it meant a lot to me.  Now here's the thing.  I've never really been good at accepting I'm not very good at something.  This is especially the case when dealing with sports.  So as the winter went on, I kept thinking to myself that I really needed to give the whole disc golf thing another try.

Well my opportunity to take on disc golf again came this past April when my wife and I ventured out to San Francisco for her Spring Break.  We drove north of San Fran so that we could go to the Anderson Valley Brewing Company (AVBC).  As one would expect, AVBC is a brewery located in the heart of the Anderson Valley region of California.  They make absolutely excellent beers and it has always been a dream of mine to visit the brewery.  As luck would have it, AVBC has an 18-hole disc golf course on site.  So my wife and I took to the course after taking the brewery tour and sampling all the beers on draft.

The yummiest beer made in the USA!

Somewhere around the 5th hole, I realized that I was having a great time.  The weather was absolutely beautiful (sunny, no humidity, around 70 degrees), the beer that I was drinking while playing tasted so amazing (mmmmm...Summer Solstice cream ale), and the land surrounding the valley was beautiful and scenic.  It was quiet and I ended up having some sort of happy zen moment out there as I enjoyed some of the best of what Mother Nature had to offer.  This was what it took to get me hooked!  I had found my new hobby.

Throwing the disc from the tee at Anderson Valley Brewing Company

So luckily I live here in central Maryland and there are some great free courses in the area where I can play.  I also have some friends in the area who enjoy playing so that makes it fun.  Here's my take on the 2 course in Maryland I've played so far.

Rockburn Branch Park (Elkridge, MD)

This is a great park that I tend to go to a lot because it is 5-minutes from my house.  I feel this park is somewhat challenging because of all the trees in the area (for some reason my discs are attracted to tree trunks).  There are also a few water hazards out there.  There's a full 18-holes at this course spread out over some fairly hilly territory.  I love it because I get a good workout walking around the course.  I think the only downside is that there are some shaded areas and it gets dark pretty early there.  Still I love this course.

Druid Hill Park (Baltimore, MD)

I recently played this park at the recommendation of my friend Fred.  Don't get put off by the neighborhood that you have to drive to in order to get here.  Druid Hill Park is beautiful and I think a great place for beginners to start out at.  There are far less trees and hills than what you'd encounter at Rockburn.  It's a neat park though and in addition to the regular 18-holes, it has 9 extra holes out in the woods.  I had a lot of fun playing this course as well.

Can you tell I'm a happy guy
when I'm out disc golfing?
Well like I said I'm pretty new to this so I haven't been to a lot of courses yet.  If you have any courses you'd recommend me play in Maryland, please let me know in the comments area of this blog.  I'd love to try some new courses before winter hits.

That's all I got!  It's 11:30pm now and I need to get up at 6:30am to hit the course at Rockburn with my friends.  Maybe I'll see some of you out there someday.  Say hi if you run across me.


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