Unintended Birdies

It would seem, from personal experience, that about everyone I have played a competitive disc golf round with before has made a miracle shot. By miracle shot I mean any throwing position or location that you would only try if someone was making a trick shot compilation backed with a dubstep remix of “24k Magic”. In other words, throws only attempted when imitating the one and only Brodie Smith 21 #darkhorse. Over the past few months of playing these shots tend to happen as often as every other round, and I have yet to accomplish such a feat so it seems all my throwing buddies MUST be practicing them or something.

The following is an account of the top three shots I have seen while playing a round of disc golf, excluding my father’s ace which has its own article:

Number 1

My friend Dane and I were playing a round of 18 and he was not doing well. His putts were not sticking. (That might have been due to the fact I provided the putter, but I didn’t make him use it… just saying.) I was winning by a large margin of strokes and we had reached hole 13. It was a par four and we both used two strokes to get within range of the basket, but there was a large tree between us and it. It wasn’t just your average large tree mind you, it was one of those whose limbs start growing about four feet off the ground and a way out. Going underneath the limbs was not an option and there was not space for a flick or backhand to slide through. Dane opted for a thumber (basically holding the disc vertical) and didn’t think twice about it. Now this is hard to imagine if you were not there but he was staring into the sun and he had never thrown a thumber before IN HIS LIFE. Of course you can assume what happened. He made it for birdie. It just floated around the tree and into the basket, didn’t even touch the chains. I went ahead and double bogeyed, still in disbelief.

A rough sketch of the hole Dane birdied.

Number 2

In a very similar scenario my buddy Jacob saved par one day with a hammer throw. We were on hole 4 and it was par three. The basket was hidden behind a large mound of dirt, basically a small hill. The small hill also had saplings growing out of the east side of it. The basket is behind that east side. We both used up two strokes getting to the small hill and I am in better position. He is slightly behind the hill and saplings so he cannot see the basket clearly and I am to the southeast of the hill with a direct line to the hole. He says something along the lines of, “Are you ready for this? I’m going with the Tomahawk.” I laugh at him as he lines up his putter (the same putter I lent Dane) between the saplings. That throw of his had no arch, it was a line drive. Straight into the chains. He couldn’t see it so when I cried out in amazement he lifted his hands in the air, clenched in victory. As I recall, we were playing the first round of disc golf IN HIS LIFE. Something about firsts I guess.

One of my favorite holes. If you have enough power you can flick a drive all the way around the back of the hill on the left side and birdie it. 

Number 3

And how can I not include my dad on the list? He seemingly broke the laws of physics, or manipulated them, I can’t decide. It was hole 5 and a par 3. You cannot see the basket from the tee, but there is a tree line about 80 feet ahead of the tee and about 10 feet beyond that a creek. Right after you pass the tree line and before you reach the creek there is a sharp turn right in the fairway. It takes you to a basket directly behind the tree line from the tee. Dad throws off the tee right into the tree line and it bounces back out to the edge. On his next throw he appears to be aiming the tree tops and is holding his disc vertical. See a pattern? I walk around to the other side of the trees so I can track his disc for him when he misses, because why shouldn’t he miss this? And up the disc goes, over the trees it seems, and back down it comes landing in the basket. I don’t know what disc he used but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same Gator with which he tossed his ace.

Such a weird hole. I have lost and re-found two discs in this tree line and creek. 

When I play disc golf I play for a good score and mostly to win. Dane does not play this way because once he misses his first six putts he loses hope. Jacob was still figuring out how the discs flew because he had never played before, and my dad just does crazy shots whenever he gets the chance.

So, what can we learn from such situations? I have pondered all of these memories and have come to a conclusion. In all three cases my golfing partner has been carefree about the result of the throw. Sort of a what-the-heck-this-won’t-hurt-my-score-more-than-I-already-have point of view. These people did not contemplate the end result they just went for it and now have something to be proud of. So maybe that is something every disc golfer needs to do. Not worry so much about the score all the time. Or maybe it means that we should all start putting with our discs vertically. As you can see, vertical shots lead to birdies.

In addition, I will mention that I was the one who won the whole round in the end. Maybe being carefree is not the answer, maybe it just has to do with whether you doubt yourself or not. Don’t second guess. As much as I ache for an ace or an eye-catching birdie maybe I should just be patient. I’m sure that if I play enough rounds then these pleasures will come my way. All things come to those who wait.


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