The folk at Scarboro ran one of these on Saturday. I had never heard of a Birdie Bash before, but figured it to be similar to a Discraft Ace Race. I’ve always thought the Vibram discs were the coolest looking discs, and the rubber feel separated them from the other manufacturers plastic, but had never tried one out. The Birdie Bash gets you two discs for $25. I figured I could check out the rubber vs. plastic thing, so this Z Tier had to be a part of the 2013 Z Tour. Besides I can never pass on the chance to make the drive up to the landfill.
Part of the registration process required me to actually pick the two discs I wanted to play with. This caused some panic on my part since I know nothing about their discs. You pick one of four putters and then one of their mids or drivers. Now I have to do research! I bopped over to talkdg.com and jumped on that ad they have for the online flight guide from Inbounds Disc Golf. After playing with the disc comparison feature matching up Vibram discs with my four Innova molds (you never realized how much work went into being YDGH did you) I went with the Ridge as my putter as that seemed similar to my KC Pro without being quite as overstable. Now I really was intrigued by the Ibex, but I was worried that Scarboro might be set up too long for me to mosey my way around with just a putter and a mid, so I picked the Trak as my driver as that seemed that most compatible with my Understable Bag of Thunder.
So Friday night I start to fret that the Trak will be too overstable and I’ve screwed myself from a competitive point of view. I figure I might be able to swap out the Trak for an Ibex at sign in. Let’s face it; it’s a disc tourney. I’m going to show up and there will be a pile of discs on a table and I’ll just cat burglar an Ibex in lieu of the Trak. No one will be the wiser save the guy who rolls in late to sign in who wanted an Ibex.
Saturday I roll out. In full disclosure I have to say that The Big Screens GPS let me down this time as it wanted me to drive all the way up Route 1 from 695 to get to the landfill. There was no way I was going to sit through all those stoplights. I did that when I got lost leaving the landfill a few years ago on my first trip up there. I went out to 95 figuring I could force the GPS to take me the route I wanted to use. I cleverly knew it would likely want me to exit and go through downtown Bel Air, but that the smart way to go was one exit North of that exit. I bypass the exit the GPS instructs me to take. I smugly roll on to the next exit; where things look not like my preferred Route 543 path, but the dreaded downtown Bel Air route! Punked by the Navigator Ap. Damn you Android!
I arrive at the landfill:
The first thing I notice is one of those pop up shelters set up across from the sign in table. It’s some company pimping out a small disc bag! It looks like some kind of fanny pack. The sign says: “Carries 5-8 discs”. This sounds familiar. It’s too early for a sponsorship confrontation so I pass on getting a pic. Though the guy running the booth has a hot blonde with him. I sign in where I am enthusiastically greeted by the event staff…
…and these bastards are organized. Each player has a plastic bag with their discs (and a t-shirt) already inside to expedite the process. So much for my devious disc switcheroo plan. I slink back to the Civic to check out my swag and tools for the day:
Somewhere a Chinese takeout is missing some of their bags. So I got a t-shirt that I had totally forgotten was part of the deal:
As a big fan, and bad practitioner, of abstract art I like the front. On the back:
As far as disc t-shirts go this is pretty good. It’s also a decent quality. We all know how most disc tees are so thin you think they are the leftovers from someones wet t-shirt contest from last summer where thinness and tear-ability are the most crucial characteristics for the garment. It also is red which is key to my possibly actually wearing it in the future. I don’t recall picking a color at registration so this could have simply been fate. So here are my discs:
I had asked for the Trak to be 165 and it says 165 M on the back. Is it really 165 or did one of the Scarboro boys just Sharpie that on there themselves? The Ridge is 172. I wanted 175 but being the skilled discer I am I can deal with the missing 3 grams of mass. They seem rather pliable. I worry that this could be a problem, and wonder how they would hold up on a 95 degree day. The grip is better than any disc I’ve ever held. As you can see they are mostly green. I hate green. I also think this would be a problem in the summer when the disc world is green. They do look cool though.
Eschewing my usual aversion to actually warming up I figure I’d better hit the course and throw the Trak and see how much trouble I’m going to be in today. I mosey over to #1. Two guys are there. I watch the first guy warm up his Vibram discs by launching them up at a 45 degree angle and they super hyzer left about 75′ off the tee. Hmmm… I turn to the guy standing next to me and we exchange looks. Meet Cult Member Brian:
I proceed to interrogate him. Brian explains that he normally carries a different bag for tourneys with more discs but since we’re only rolling with two discs today he’s busted out his ‘Sac. Stand by for a recurring theme…
Brian is local and he and I decide to warm up together. I launch the Trak and it is lazer straight and seems to go about as far as my Leopard/Sidewinder normally goes on this hole. Brian proceeds to run me through nine holes warming up. I card three birdies. Naturally I worry I’ve shot my load warming up. I’m also envious of Brian’s discs which have cooler colors than mine. Strike two against me. During this warm up I run into local Don. We embrace. It lingers. It becomes awkward. We don’t make eye contact the rest of the day. Brian and I head back in for the players meeting. Our TD of the day is Mark:
Note in the background the rival bag manufacturer. Mark introduces him and describes how the bag (which looks kind of like a fanny pack) straps to your thigh, “like a holster.” The blonde is disappointingly covered up due to the current temperature.
Mark then proceeds to run through the scoring system which totally confuses everyone. It goes like this:
If you hit any piece of metal (including the lock) on your drive, or your birdie putt, you get 1 point.
A birdie gets you 2 points.
An ace or eagle gets you 5 points.
We force Mark to run through this about a half dozen times.
Mark then pimps himself for some votes. Apparently he’s in some contest Vibram is running to get free stuff. He wants us to go to their website and vote for him. I offer to sell my vote to him.
And yes you saw that correctly; meet Cult Member Mark:
In round one I’m with Shawn, who I know, and is better than me, Mike and Kris. We are starting on #7. Heading out to our starting hole I spy something of interest on #6. Meet Cult Member Josh:
Keeping what is quickly becoming the theme of the day…Meet Cult Member Shawn:
Shawn actually has a Trak in his regular bag. Clearly this gives him a huge competitive advantage over us. Shawn went with the VP and Lace to expand his Vibram arsenal. Later I learn he has putted with a VP in the past! Ringer! We begin bashing. Shawn tees off on #7:
Followed by Mike:
Mike bashes the first birdie of the day:
We learn two things quickly about the format:
1. You run every putt. Blowing by matters naught.
2. You cheer missed putts to roll and curl back to tap the pole.
Shawn has named his VP after a former Soviet leader due to the putters distinguishing characteristic:
Mike deuces #8:
Mike deuces #10…
…in what is looking like it’s going to be a beat-down for the three of us. Kris teeing off on #11:
…finally get into the game on #11 when I put the Trak here…
…for my first deuce. Kris also had a successful drive when he converts this putt…
…for his deuce. In the comedy moment of the morning he reflexively grabbed his Wizard out of his bag and putted out with that. He apologizes profusely. We let it slide since he was 4′ out and we all agreed that even I could make that on a redo. We mocked him for carrying his other discs for no apparent reason other than habit. I park #16 with the Ridge…
…for a deuce. Mike runs his Sole at #17:
During the round we enjoy the Scarboro background music which is local John bellowing several holes away. Faithful readers will remember John as the Rockburn slapper, and the Scarboro slappee of prior blogs. Shawn deuces #2 with his overstable VP:
Walking up to #3 Shawn and I try and figure out what the numbers on the bottom of the discs mean:
We obviously know what turn and fade mean but don’t know what values 8 & 9 represent. I theorize that the 450 means in a perfect world I should be able to throw the Trak 450′. We all enjoy a hearty laugh at that prospect. My farthest throw ever was 375′ with a Groove before I gave that up. We are clueless on what the 50 could mean. Shawn tees off with his VP on #3:
Followed by Kris:
Kris bombs this in on #4….
…for a deuce. Note my Ridge to the left and front. I blow the putt. Mike cards another deuce on #4 with his Sole:
Shawn matches him with his VP:
Yeah so I botched the star frame. I get my revenge on #5 when the boys whiff:
Meanwhile I got CTP with the Ridge for a deuce:
We finish the round. Shawn has graciously kept score for all 18. He adds it up and…
Shawn: You won the card.
Hawk: Disc Golf Hero baby!
I’ve got 11. Shawn and Mike have 10. Kris had 6. We head back to tourney central. I retire to the Civic to eat and bust out The Big Screen to try and solve the mystery of the flight numbers on the bottom of the discs. It turns out the 50 is the ideal speed of release in miles per hour to achieve the maximum distance of the disc. So my Trak will go 450′ if I uncork it at 50 mph. Clearly my arm speed is not 50 mph since I’m tossing the Trak in the 300-320′ range. It did go further than the Leopard/Sidewinder I normally roll with on holes I’ve driven in the past with a Leopard/Sidewinder. The turn and fade indicates degrees off the straight line. Aha! The rubber is definitely floppier, but that didn’t seem to be a problem in performance or throws. As mentioned the grip is very good. So good that dirt actually sticks to the disc, so you have to rub it off periodically. I did see some players having grip lock issues and yanking drives over due to the unfamiliarity of the grip vs. plastic. The other thing I noticed is that unlike plastic discs when these hit the ground they don’t skip. I’m assuming that’s the rubber factor. I return to tourney central to inform Shawn of my flight rating findings. I run into…Cult Member John:
No that is not apple juice in the glass. Yes that might be underwear he’s wearing. Learning we have another half hour to the second round I head back to the Civic. I pass two guys in the parking lot and overhear…
Player A: Sunscreen?
Player B: No thanks I’m good.
Player A: You’ve got a nice tan by the way.
When I return to tourney central I again run into John:
He’s drinking Pong beer. Now; though I don’t drink, I’m familiar with many beer brands, and have never heard of Pong beer. It’s back to the phone to Yahoo! Pong beer. They have a website. It comes in a 30 can “rack pack”! It’s the “official beer of beer pong.” They have a YouTube video:
I am totally convinced that following John around with a camera could be the greatest reality show ever.
TD Mark gathers us around for a group pic he can send to Vibram to prove this event actually happened. The blonde from the holster bag kiosk takes our pic. She’s out of the big hooded coat. Several of us express our interest in getting our picture taken with her vs. her taking a group shot of us. We discuss how much we’d be willing to pay for this.
In round two I’m carded with Cult Member Brian from my morning warm-up, Scott, and Matt. We are the second card so we start on #2. Apparently my 11 has me in eighth place. Matt gets us going on #2:
Followed by Scott…
…who is rolling with two discs in hand and his big ass towel. Followed by Brian…
…who is in full Unabomber mode. Brian putts on #2:
Matt putting on #2:
Scott deuces #2:
…#3. He was so fast all I got was him bowing to acknowledge his greatness. I get revenge for my first round debacle on #4 with this Ridge drive for a deuce:
Scott deuces #5:
My Ridge drive on #5:
Brian insists snapping me putting my deuce on #5:
Check out my ass. All that leg press work at the gym is paying off! In the background the card on #7 attempt to recreate the Abbey Road album cover. Scott deuces #7:
My Trak drive on #7 for another deuce:
This was better in terms of distance than I had ever done with the Leopard/Sidewinder on this hole. Hmmm… Scott unleashed an awesome tomahawk on #8 leaving him with this deuce putt:
The Ridge and I deuce #9:
The Ridge and I deuce #10:
Scott: Anytime you want to start missing Hawk will be fine with me.
Matt deuces #11:
The Trak and I deuce #12:
So we get to #13. It’s uphill, there’s a bunch of trees and rocks. It’s the only par 4 on the course today. I botched this so badly that my discs are in the ‘Sac after three throws with no point potential, and I’m not halfway up the fairway. Scott is laying two. He’s got an awkward 75′ turnover to the basket for a three. I don’t get the camera out figuring there is no chance. He unleashes his putter and it’s golden halfway to the basket. It hits dead center chains for a birdie. It was the best shot of the day I saw. Scott birdies #15:
Matt putting on #18:
He’s ditched the hoodie to reveal a Vibram t-shirt which says, Trust your rubber. I explain to Matt that I’ve been doing just that for 33 years now. We get bogged down on our last hole #1. Some casual players have shown up. Two guys, two gals, two dogs. We enjoy the scenery, and I’m not referencing the guys or the dogs. Most of the cards are rolling in past us. John leads a chorus of heckling as Matt tees off. He handles it like a Scarboro veteran. Scott punks me 16 to 14. Matt and Brian finish behind us.
Naturally I Nomad roll out before winners are announced.
Place / Name / Rnd 1 / Rnd 2/ Final
1st Steve Campbell 14 /16/ 30
2nd Shawn Johnson 10 /18/ 28
3rd Scott Hawks 12 /16/ 28
T-4th Dave Dietz 3 /22/ 25
T-4th Hawk Corrick 11 /14/ 25
T-4th Jake Grimm 13 /12/ 25
7th Josh Scarff 6 /18/ 24
8th Dennis Borries 15 /8/ 23
9th Paul Laubner 13 /8/ 21
10th Matt Dietz 12 /8/ 20
T-11th Brian Curlee 11 /8/ 19
T-11th Don Simonetti 7 /12/ 19
T-11th Rob VanDroof 5 /14/ 19
T-14th Cory Sokolis 8 /9/ 17
T-14th Dan Hiser 9 /8/ 17
T-14th Mike Malone 10 /7/ 17
T-14th Ryan Sokolis 8 /9/ 17
T-18th Anton Smith 8 /8/ 16
T-18th Eric Grosh 6 /10/ 16
T-18th Jeff Grosh 10 /6/ 16
21st Mark Laubner 4 /11/ 15
T-22nd Jared Brazil 9 /5/ 14
T-22nd Jon Bojarski 5 /9/ 14
T-22nd Josh Lemly 7 /7/ 14
T-22nd Joshua Hays 4 /10/ 14
26th Nick Carrillo 5 /8/ 13
27th Steven Penton 6 /6/ 12
T-28th Andy Haller 7 /4/ 11
T-28th Ryan Beckner 8 /3/ 11
T-30th Ben Garback 3 /7/ 10
T-30th Phil Caine 7 /3/10
32nd Zakk Bailey 3 /6/ 9
T-33rd Dayne Markland 3/ 5/ 8
T-33rd Kris Kehr 6 /2/ 8
T-35th Jimmy Scarff 5 /2/ 7
T-35th Mark Snyder 4 /3/ 7
37th Tim Przekop 5 /1/ 6
T-38th Anthony Mayer 2 /2/ 4
T-38th Glenn Anderson 4 /0/ 4
T-40th William Detwiler 1 /0/ 1
T-40th Darryl Broll 0 /1/ 1
T-42nd Doug Hentz 0 /0/ 0
T-42nd Glen Kron 0 /0/ 0
T-42nd Ryan Moyer 0 /0/ 0
The Trak and Ridge are going in the ‘Sac. I’m going to try and track down an Ibex. Several players were using the Lace today. It’s flight numbers would make it appear to not be a candidate for the Understable Bag of Thunder, but most of the players using it found it to be surprisingly understable. Those familiar with the Trak felt the Lace was more understable than the Trak but longer.