Just like a sweet birdie streak the Eastern Canadian Disc Golf Championship has come and gone. I think it’s safe to say it was worth the wait.
So lets start at the start. In the beginning there was nothingness, well at least no disc golf courses. Then some things went bang and people started throwing pie plates as discs and the rest of the universe fell into place. Eventually we got wise and brought baskets to Maritimes, after that things basically worked themselves out and we began planning this bad boy. This weekend our tree of (disc golf) life bared some fruit and we all became richer (definitely not money-wise) because of it.
This weekend was a bench mark, a pie-in-the-sky idea we knew we were capable of hosting but just hadn’t put the whole thing into being quite yet. Luckily a Houck designed course was already in the ground and an island was floating just offshore ready and willing to host us. So nothing to it but to do it. And we did it. Six months of planning coming into realization for one beautiful week.
So lets get to the recap!
Junior: the small but mighty. I don’t know what you were doing at 12 years old but I would wager a pretty safe bet it wasn’t playing 76 holes of disc golf of two of the most challenging disc golf courses in Canada. Our two juniors traveled 5 hours over 3 provinces to compete, and although 40 stokes separated them they still competed. Sometimes distracted by the natural beauty of the course (and the snakes and frogs) the future of our sport represented themselves smashingly and even had a round where they beat some of their AM 2 competitors, or at least one of them. A mini basket for the winner and two tired kids means we are doing something right and the future looks bright for disc golf in the Maritimes.
Am 2: the second most traveled division. Ooh la la! the Quebecor’s devotion to travel translated into success with a 14 stoke lead for Sebastian Masse over fellow provincial playing mate Magnus Johansson. Although we forgot to do it publicly we did send our winner home with a marksman basket for his victory. Our lone grandmaster, Bruce Richards, playing out of the Sackville club finished a very strong 5 place. The gap from 2nd-8th was a mere 10 strokes so lots of place switching was in play to very end. I think a lot of cars drove home happy from here.
Advanced Women: the gals with the spirit. Three traveling players and two locals made up the most spirited group on the course. The biggest cheers of the weekend came from this group, not for the sweet ace run (Danielle Duplisea) but for the discovery of fresh, ripe, wild strawberries. Still this was a tight fought battle that came down to the last round. Lana Kelly pulled out the win and the new Ranger bag in the preferred ginger colour to be the first of two winners in her car for the long ride back to Ontario. The top two women of this card will meet again in a few weeks for another big event on Toronto Island, redemption or repetition? I guess only time will tell.
Am 1: the locals. The lead up to this event was filled with more smack talk then a WWE match. Most of the islanders who registered early had already cleared a spot in their yard for their certain victory and their new acquisition of that sweet recruit basket. It really seemed fitting that the winner of the Canada day tournament (the kick off to disc golf week in PEI) and a last minute entry, Dan MacQueen, took home the victory with a dominating weekend as the only Am player to stay under par. The big man had 4 victories this week including Canada day, both doubles rounds, and the ECDGC. Not to mention the fact that he preformed magic right in front of our eyes by rebuilding a bike in about 20 minutes flat with an audience of 50 people who will never ever buy a bike from anyone else from here on out. People like Dan remind me why following your bliss is the right thing to do. A very special shout out goes to one of our apprentices, Matt-my-main-man-Curch, who shot a pb and the Am hot round at 8 under par on the last day of competition. Nothing like posting a lights out round in tournament play. Feels good to let that score live on the internet forever.
Masters: come-from-aways for the victory! Winner number 2 in the Ontario car, the sweet-smiling, pro-positive, Nao Nasu pulled out another wire-to-wire victory. The tight race here was for third and forth but anybody who shoots 10 under on the final day deserves to jump a spot or two, way to go Spike! MDGA members filled the middle spots with a solid 4-7 finishing (Don your an honorary member, if not an actual one).
Mens Open: chasing the cash is worth the drive. Hillcrest, the main course for our event, was built for this division. The long course, which we played twice, opens up to players who can hit lines from four hundred feet. When we planned this event this was always the feature presentation. The show did not disappoint. Most of Sunday was designed to allow our players to witness the final card and see the shots they hadn’t even dreamed of and bring to life lines they didn’t even know were there. Four fifths of this card can rip a disc longer than most of us can hit a golf ball. The lone MDGA rep managed to stay in the top group for the whole weekend so that was a small victory in itself. A new course record for the blue tees was set by Scott Jameson (second overall) at 2 under par including an unheard of birdie on 18. Although the lead tightened more than it should have it was still a convincing win for Maine’s own Kieran Nichols. Seventy five percent of this division traveled here to play in this event. One hundred percent of the people playing loved it. On the final nine holes a gallery of close to 50 people followed around the lead card and was treated to some of the sweetest disc golf played on the island so far. If you were here for this event you will talk about it for ever, if you weren’t you’ll regret it for at least that long.
The courses: short, long, and ball golf with power carts. Not enough good things can be said about Hillcrest Disc Golf Course and the Best (best) family that runs it. This is a destination course in every sense on the word. Proper tee pads, signage, benches, fairways, sight lines, trash cans, baskets…… etc etc. You could not ask for anything more out of a course. It played mostly over-par for the pros on the long side with a fair but punishing layout. Hit your fairways, hit your putts and never talk about 18 ever again and you will be a happy camper. Do you go for it or lay it up? You basically have to ask yourself that on every hole. You become a better player when you go for it and the winners this weekend did just that. To compliment this course we designed a second course at Strathgartney Golf Club using the existing layout with some strategically placed o.b. and baskets. The big arms from away really put some separation between themselves and the pack with drives that regularly approached (or exceeded) 500 hundred feet. Every golf green was out of bounds and errant throws often ended there. Again this was a tough but fair layout that exceed 11,000 feet where not many players managed to get under par. Still this was an experience that not many disc golfers have ever enjoyed. A play where you could rip your discs out in any direction you choose and baskets that appeared very reachable were often out of reach. Plus if you were quick enough you could rent a golf cart and ease your sorrows (and sore arm) for the few miles you chased your disc around.
Extras: Lord’s seaside cabins, Hunters Ale house, Upstreet brewery. The places we couldn’t have done without. Since it was county music fest on the island we almost didn’t come up with a place to house this whole travelling show, but luckily we had Elayne Lord to the rescue. Lord’s is located on the south west shore of the island with 9 cabins overlooking the bridge and lapping at the oceans edge. The scenery here was as idilic as the courses we played and our gracious host also put on a banquet and feast for the ages. Saturday night filled us with food glorious food and a putting tournament that saw a Maine-Maritime union against the Upper Canada connection. Life was good (for those who got to play). Our good friends, and forever partners, Upstreet and Hunters Ale house wet our whistle and satisfied our appetites in every way you could ask for. Disc golfers from every region will be right at home on island if you find yourself here. Basically everything went off without a hitch and although there were no aces a lot of people went home feeling like a king (or queen). So now all that is left to do is start planning the next one.