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USA  Golf In The Sun
USA
Friday 1st January
 
This article is to encourage other BDGA golfers to plan a trip
to Florida around February some year. Jonnie Burden and Liam
Young made the trip in 1998.



The Florida Triple Crown is a series of tournaments, 3 amateur
legs followed by 3 professional ones. Prizes are awarded for
each one, and for the overall amateur and professional series.
We decided to time our trip to play in the third amateur leg
(in Orlando), and still be around to see the first professional
leg (in Gainesville). Home of Disney We were based in Orlando.
Our tournament was in Barnett Park, so we played there a lot.
We also took the chance to play a couple of other courses in
town. Orlando is also full of theme parks so there is plenty
of opportunity to fill your days away from the golf course.




Popularity of Golf

We phoned the Tournament Director (Bob Lewis) on our first day
and arranged to meet him while he was doing some preparatory
work on the course. In Britain, you'd arrive at the course and
the one guy there would be the one you arranged to meet. We
realised our mistake when we got to the course. The car park
was full of vehicles with golf stickers and there were players
relaxing after a round. There were others on the course pulling
caddy-cars full of discs, drinks, umbrella, towel... This was
a week-day afternoon, when presumably some people in Orlando
were working. Only once have I played golf in Edinburgh and
met others on the course, without arranging the round beforehand.
What a difference on a US course with baskets, tee pads and
course information! We felt like Disc Golf was a normal thing
to do, just like the activities on the nearby tennis courts,
BMX track and basketball court. Let's try to reach that stage
in Britain. Even some non-golfers we met in Orlando had heard
of Disc Golf, or saw some baskets and wondered what they were
for.Golf In The Sun

by Liam Young UK (page 2)




What Division?

Back to the tournament itself. We had no idea what amateur division
to play in. There was Amateur and Advanced Amateur (sometimes
just called Advanced). Jonnie felt comfortable with Amateur.
The TD watched us play a bit and checked our scores in a practice
round. He said I could play Advanced but should try Amateur
and have a shot at a trophy. We entered random draw doubles
on the Friday, still not sure about our 'standard'. I was in
a group with a superb player, as good as anyone I've ever played
with. He wasn't a Pro, just Advanced. That made the decision
easier - amateur for me please. Turned out that this guy ended
up winning the Advanced division easily, with good natured mutterings
of "sandbagger" from some players. He's not turning pro so he
can have a real go at Amateur Worlds this year. Summary would
be that any regular BDGA player will enjoy themselves playing
Amateur. Anyone who's consistent and sneaks under par regularly
(top ten finishers in BDGA tournaments?) could win prizes at
Amateur, and should consider Advanced. Anyone who's capable
of burning up a course on their day and has won a BDGA tournament
could play Open/Pro.
The Tournament

So Jonnie and I both ended up playing Amateur. It was a marvellous
feeling to spend days playing Disc Golf, in shorts and t-shirts,
in February! The organisation was superb. Scoreboard and cards
were used together to indicate positions and starting holes
on each round. The lead player in each group had to collect
the cards from the appropriate slot on the board and meet the
others on the right tee. Everything went according to schedule,
penalty shots would have been awarded for late starters. There
was an 'ace' pool, Closest To Pin prizes, players' packs, food,
disc shop... A separate board gave all the information you could
possibly want, allowing the TD and helpers to concentrate on
things other than basic questions. My putting was on form for
the tournament. I ended up winning a playoff for 2nd place.
Prize was a nice big trophy and I think about $80 worth of "Bob
Bucks", to be spent at Bob Lewis' mobile disc shop. Add in a
CTP prize and I had trouble spending it all. Nice problem.



Not Too Serious?

US tournaments are bigger, with plenty of good players around,
and substantial prizes available. It could be intimidating.
Rest assured that everyone still plays for fun. We've all heard
the debates about British and US 'humour'. Does the average
American 'get' irony, or take a friendly slagging off? Get outta
here dude! You'll have a ball in your groups. Here's a couple
of examples (which also allow a little bragging by me): On a
'blind' hole, the spotter returned to the tee after my drive,
holding out a set of keys for me. I stood there blankly, about
to say they weren't mine, when he said: "Your keys, sir. Your
disc is parked." On one of the longer holes, it looked like
my drive was again spot on. One player turned to another in
the group and asked: "Do you think that's a deuce?" The reply
came in a great southern drawl: "Deuce? S**t! You'd bump your
head picking that sonofabitch up!" Not bad. But they still have
a long way to go to reach the dizzy BDGA heights of farting
and giggling.
   
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