The other day when I got off work, I stopped at the newest disc golf course in the Tupelo, MS area called Music Bend. It’s cut out of the brush growing next to a large creek, inside an area defined by a walking trail name Music Bend Nature Trail. It opened for play last November at the TDGA mini on a Sunday afternoon. I had played the first four holes of the course a few times, but never gone past that for unknown reasons. I finally played the back 13 holes, with one disc. A Dynamic Discs Classic Warden.
Having walked the first couple of holes looking to see if any discs were visible as the vines and brush thinned with the coming of fall, I started on hole 6. Not really intending to play the rest of the course, but to just throw the Classic Warden I had gotten the day before, Music Bend became my test bed. Fortunately, the holes are mostly short, though I don’t know all the distances at the moment since tee signs are still forthcoming. Throwing forehands, I bounced around the holes taking mostly par with a few bogeys thrown in the mix.
I messed myself up on a lot of tee shots during that round. During my evening of field work a week or so prior, the forehand throw I’ve come to use was reworked. Shortening my run-up to just two steps, I was able to throw with more consistency and reliability. The discs came out flatter and flew more true to their designed flight than I would normally see. Having not used this revamped form for most of the holes, I remembered to use it on Hole 17. Granted, I wasn’t really playing to practice the course or any throws, it still irked me that I didn’t use my new form until I thought about throwing well.
Using that one putter though, made a real difference in my shots. While just throwing my normal forehand, I was only making it 100-150 feet down the fairways. Since I was learning the rest of the course for the first time, I wasn’t concerned about my distance. It did, however, make me think about where not to throw the disc. Other wooded courses I’ve played offered at least some decent recovery shots when my disc flew errant. Music Bend was a different story. Not having a ton of large trees, but mostly small diameter ones with thick brush on each side of the fairways making errant shots a trip to jail. I became more concerned with putting my shots in the fairway rather than trying to throw it as far as I could.
Watching video of the recent 2015 Hall of Fame Classic, Michael Johansen threaded the trees throughout the whole weekend. Tim over at Mind Body Disc mentions this in his latest post about course management. Reading that post really enforced what I did out at Music Bend. I managed the course with that Warden putter. Never taking a 100% shot, but throwing it where I would have a decent chance to advance down the fairway, I fared well in my mind. I wasn’t keeping score on paper or on my phone, but the running tally in my head put me at around +5 over those 13 or so holes.
Thanks to MS paint, here is a rough sketch of the hole. Before the turn in the hole, it chokes down somewhat to a narrower fairway and everything on the right side is thick brush. My drive ended up just 4-5 feet from the thick stuff before the sharp curve to the basket. As I looked to the basket, I would have needed a meat hook forehand or anhyzer to reach the basket. Being able to see the basket through the brush, and being no more than 75-90 feet from it, I decided to tomahawk my Warden over the brush, which was pretty tall. Luckily, I ended up less than 20 feet from the basket, which I banged in for a par.
During this joyful round, concerned with nothing more than learning the course, course management came into play quite often. Keeping myself out of trouble and in the fairways was a challenge, especially with only one disc. Having never played a one disc round, it was enlightening. Disc choice played a big role in my scoring. And I swear that Mind Body Disc and I do not collaborate on our blog posts at all. I played my round before his blog post was published. Coincidence has one disc wondering….