Monday, June 16, 2008

Hole in One!

I've been disc golfing on and off since high school, when i used to go to Santa Cruz Riverfront Park with Geoff Ward, Larry Klien, and Raphie Goldman. We used to use regular frisbees as opposed to golf discs, and we weren't particularly good. This was before I even played Ultimate.

Since then, I've thrown thousands of frisbees, I've gotten some golf discs, and lately I've been trying to disc golf about once a week with my friend Andrew - mostly because otherwise I never see the guy. I've got some friends (ex-ultimate players) who golf a lot, go to tournaments... last I heard, Will Wilson was winning tournaments left and right. Those guys used to tell me about these "Ace Pools" they have at the tournaments, where money builds up, and if you get an Ace (a hole in one) then you get half of it.

My personal opinion of Aces in golf as well as disc golf are that they're all luck. I mean sure, you're "aiming for the hole" in general, but really when you're driving you're not aiming for the hole. You're aiming to get near the hole - but it's not like you're targeting the chains and planning to sink the drive.

Even on approaches you have to make a conscious choice sometimes to just get near the hole for an easy putt, or to "go for it" and try to sink the longer, harder putt. the risk there is that if you miss you could be equally bad off for the next putt, which can really hurt your score.

So then, if it's all luck, how do I explain good players getting multiple holes-in-one? Simple... numbers. You throw a disc over and over at the same general area, it's only a matter of time before one happens to land in the basket. So the more a person golfs, the more likely they'll inadvertently get an Ace.

That said, I was golfing last Saturday. I started off well, but quickly began having a really miserable game. I was missing birdies I should have gotten, then I bogey'ed a hole and double bogey'ed another. I was ready to throw in the towel, and when teeing off on hole 18 all I wanted to do was go home.

Hole 18 had been moved since the last time I'd been out there, it was about 25% closer to the tee than it used to be. I've been known to overdrive the hole with a putter, so now that it was closer I was extra careful not to put too much on my drive, instead I used the putter (not a driver) and I put a lot of loft on it to clear the trees that are between the tee and the hole. I expected the disc to fly up, over the trees, and drop right near the hole for an easy Birdie. I did not expect the disc to drop directly into the basket.

So I got my first hole-in-one, and even though it was all luck, it still cheered me up and made me feel better about the day's golfing :)

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