Frisbee fun for Dad and son
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I
come up short when it comes to earning the title "World’s Best Dad."
a couple of weeks ago might just have been the most fun outing I’ve had
with my children while giving my wife an extremely-rare "kid-free
The last weekend of May, I loaded the three
kids for a
trip up north to Barrett to visit family. While the girls opted to stay
with Grandma and cousins on Saturday, Parker and I hit the links — the
chain links, that is.
Each year my uncle hosts "Discstock," which
is a disc golf tournament and bluegrass music festival at his homemade
course, Sumac Hills.
The tournament was the brainchild of my late
cousin Jason, who died a few years back in a kayaking accident. Now,
the tourney is held in Jason’s memory and honor, using the same format
that he used for the first one: two rounds of two-person best-throw,
with a random draw for partners before each round. And each round, each
player’s drive must be used at least three times.
For a (very)
amateur thrower, the format can have its advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest disadvantage is the tourney attracts a number of serious
throwers from the Alexandria area, as well as numerous throwers from
the Cities who come primarily for the bands.
The big advantage
comes in the chance you could be paired with good throwers each of the
two rounds, thus improving your score. Each player keeps their own
scorecard. The individual with the best overall total is the winner.
other big advantage is getting to spend some quality time with my son,
who loves disc golf to the point that it’s how he wanted to spend his
sixth birthday. He’s also converted our yard into his own personal
course, with every tree being used for a target.
In the two years
I’ve played Discstock, my fortunes have been mixed, at best. Last year,
I saddled my aunt Kathy, who wound up finishing with the worst score of
This year, I was well on my way to the
prize for the highest score — a dozen golf balls. The reason for golf
balls? Because the person with the worst score "should take up a
My first-round partner and I posted an
uninspiring +10 score. We only had one double-bogey, but couldn’t make
our short-range par-saving putts.
After the redraw for partners,
I got paired up with someone different and my fortunes drastically
reversed. Despite having to use my drive three times, my new partner
and I posted a -10 on the second 18, leaving me at even-par for the
day. He finished at -19 to win the overall tournament.
Parker, he wore down after the first round, but got a second wind as
the second round started after chugging almost a whole quart of milk.
He wound up taking just about every throw I made, although he
technically wasn’t part of the tournament.
At the end of the day,
we were able to sit down, share a hug, a fist-bump and a couple of hot
dogs and reflect on the fun of the day as the bands started and the
girls came out for some supper.
And as I drifted to sleep that
night, exhausted from walking 36 holes on fairly rugged terrain, I
could feel satisfied in the fact that my kids, particularly my son,
could see me out of my normal element and spend some real quality time.
About Sumac Hills
years ago, my uncle Tim Ray converted his grove and pasture land into a
disc golf heaven about five miles east of Barrett.
Most of the 18
holes now have chain-link disc golf targets. The ones that don’t use
old creamery cans or chicken feeders as targets.
All the holes
are played as par-threes, even though a handful are pushing 300 feet or
more or have incredibly difficult fairways. In addition, Tim has given
each hole a name, much like you’d see at Augusta National.
the most scenic shots is on Hole 7, a long, bending downhill drive with
my uncle’s small vineyard to the left. The vineyard takes center stage
on Hole 8, which he calls "The Grapes of Wrath."
However, some of
the holes are "links style," which means the same target is used for
two different holes. In fact, the same fairway is also used on a few
One such case is what I consider the
part of the
course. Holes 5 and 11 use the same fairway — a narrow, tree and
sumac-lined tunnel of fairway. For Hole 5, the tunnel is off the tee,
giving the hole the apt title of "The Tunnel." Hole 5 is also known for
the "car hazard," as a rusted out car sits in the woods, making for a
sick-sounding thud of disc hitting metal. For Hole 11, the tunnel is
nearer to the target and low-hanging branches off the tee make high
throws impossible. Hence, the name "Par Buster."
most-recognizeable hole at Sumac Hills is Hole 15, where an old chicken
feeder is the final target. It has the title "Tin Man."
There is also a stock pond that one has to
throw over or around on Hole 16, but it can also come into play on
Holes 14 and 17.
you’re ever in the Alexandria Lakes area, give it a look. Although it
is private land, the public is welcome if they call ahead.
For information on Sumac Hills, including
contact information, go to www.sumachills.com.