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Anniversary Disc Golf

I am new to disc golf. I've played a couple of times over the years, but it's not a game that has stuck with me. Some might argue that it's a sport, but probably not me. There are different discs for different types of shots—a driver, a putter, special discs that hook to the left or bend to the right. Proper form is key, and just a slight misstep can send your driver sailing off into dense forest when you must face the shame of letting others play through while you search the thicket for the brightly colored saucer.

You have probably driven past dozens of disc golf courses and never recognized one. They are well disguised, sometimes marked by nothing more than a faded wooden sign behind overgrown vegetation on a vacant shed. Other courses begin at the back of a wooded playground, with only an arrow painted on a tree to point you to the next tee. I hear that some courses are more evolved, perhaps like mini-golf courses where you pay an entrance fee and get a custom scorecard with a tiny pencil that lacks an eraser. Finding an adjoining ice cream stand for post-play refreshment is less likely. A quick Google search displays a surprisingly long list of local courses and speciality stores where you can load up your backpack with a colorful array of discs for every shot scenario.

Disc golf can be surprisingly strenuous, not so much the actual play, but the hiking and climbing required to span an 18-hole course. The terrain at the course in Devens is steep and dense, and there are places where players must grab onto chains to traverse rocky ledge. The holes at the course at Wickham Park are exceptionally long, so play for 9 people went on for hours. Pelham's course is fairly flat and pet-friendly, the perfect place to take the dogs for an adventure on a beautiful September afternoon.

The object of disc golf, just like regular golf, is to fly your disc into the hole in the number of shots posted. The "hole" is basket of chains atop a metal post. Birdies and bogies still apply, and reaching par seems to be just as daunting in this wilderness game as it is on a finely manicured golf course (that has a clubhouse and bathrooms with personalized towels and a bar). There are leagues and tournaments, and my guess is that there are legends, superstars and players to watch. I'm not sure how you would find out about them, except to hear it from the horse's mouth.

I chose not to play golf the day we went to Pelham, but I did take Hans's suggestion to bring Moxie and Mabel along, so I managed the dogs while Hans and Max played. I mostly went because Hans promised me DQ on the way home. It was our anniversary, after all. If I had consulted my DQ tracker, I would have realized there was no DQ for miles around, but I was too easily persuaded by the prospect of ice cream to question the offer.

The boys were respectful and quiet on the course. There was no loud screams or swearing when shots went astray, and each one took their penalty strokes maturely. Most of the commotion was me yelling at the dogs or trying to untangle myself from their two leashes. It never occurred to any of us that Moxie's favorite past time is catching frisbees in our back yard, so she was nearly apoplectic when I had to restrain her from chasing the discs. Mabel was less interested, and happily romped through the woods after squirrels and chipmunks who teased her then climbed easily to safety.

We kept a vigorous pace on the course for about 2 hours as the parties behind us were moving at a decent clip. I don't recall any shots worthy of the Red Zone, but my guess is that the boys can recount each hole as if it were yesterday. Neither Hans or Max got close to par that afternoon, and I never got DQ. I took a few photos along the course, when I wasn't ensnared in leashes, mostly since I didn't have enough signal strength to call my mother instead.

At least next year, if COVID permits, it will be my turn to choose our anniversary activity........

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