I found the disc golf course today.
It was everything I hoped, and more.
Rather than meander for two hours along the Schuylkill River, like I did two weeks ago, the first time I tried to find the course, today I used google transit.
If you have never used google transit before, I love it. You can pick any two points on a map, and google transit will determine the best way to get there using public transportation. It also has a setting where it will tell you the quickest way to walk between two destinations.
According to this magical site, from our apartment to Sedgley Woods, it takes 53 minutes to walk 2.5 miles, or I can take a bus, and in 26 minutes it will drop me off right at the front gates of the park.
I decided to take the bus there, then walk home. By walking home, I am able to obtain my bearings for a return trip by foot. When you are someone who gets lost easily, you learn tricks to help you out in the future.
So anyway, I got on the bus and in 26 minutes it dropped me off in possible the worst neighborhood I have been in since moving to Philadelphia. That always seems to be the case when you get on a bus, and you are not exactly sure where you are going. The bus always dumps you off in Beirut.
But across the street from the hood was a driving range. And behind that was the disc golf course.
Entering the course, it was like none other I had visited. Mind you, I have played courses all over Iowa, Minneapolis, Nashville, etc., and none of them had a welcoming crew at the entrance.
Walking in the gate, there were several couches set up around a barbecue grill. There was a hodge podge of men sitting around, grilling, tossing frisbees, drinking beers and just generally hanging out. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be invited to play, or even if I had to pay somebody.
I wandered back and forth along the gate, too timid to approach any of these unbathed individuals. I found a practice tee, and
there were two normal looking dudes practicing their putts. I did approach them, and asked if they knew the course very well.
Two dudes, Mike and Brian from New Jersey, asked if I wanted to tag along with them, so long as I didn’t mind of they “burn.”
Of course I don’t mind.
Mike and Brian were great guides, and good guys with whom to throw a round of disc. They had only been playing for a year, but were very enthusiastic about the sport, and didn’t mind me regaling them with tepid stories about frisbee golf.
The nice thing about playing with newbies, is they are incredibly impressed with my play. When it comes to disc golf, I am average. I play for par, and occasionally score a birdie, and on the even rarer occasion I have thrown a hole in one.
This has little to do with skill, and a lot to do with the fact I have played this sport for over 10 years. You throw a frisbee at a basket enough times, eventually it is going to go in.
On this May Day in Philadelphia, I had a relatively good game. The course is 27 holes, and mostly wooded. Since the course is in the middle of the city, the course designers made the most with what they had. The holes were short, averaging 150-200 feet, but tricky. You had to throw around a lot of trees, down a lot of gullies and through a lot of brush. But compared to Sugar Bottom and Turkey Creek in Iowa City, Sedgley Woods was like miniature golf.
I even nearly threw a hole in one. I had a perfect throw on a 200 foot dog leg left that gapped through two trees and knocked the chains, landing two feet away. Brian and Mike went ballistic. They had never seen a throw like it. It was a nice through, but it would have been better if the frisbee had gone in.
By the end of the round, Mike was trying to convince me I should join the league. I hedged, and I didn’t go into detail why. Lucky for you, I will at this time.
League players take disc golf way too seriously. For me, the game is a way to get out in nature, have a nice walk and challenge yourself with a little game. It is a relaxing afternoon, and while leagues aren’t as cutthroat as say, the regatta, there is still the added pressure of competition.
Plus, I don’t like to keep score when playing disc golf.
If there is one thing I know, it is where I stand in this world.
I don’t need a disc golf score as a measuring stick of my self worth.
That is what facebook is for. And Uggs.
Meanwhile, I did make the 53 minute walk back home. It actually took longer because I stopped to take a bunch of May Day pictures. Here are some of my favorites (get ready for a TON of pictures):