Updated: Jun 3, 2019
Have you ever been traveling, walking through a new city, seeing the historical buildings, hearing different languages, visiting old palaces with magnificent manicured lawns sprawling out and thought, “where’s the basket?” The line is perfect: evenly spaced trees running parallel for 400 feet with a hanging canopy forcing the low ceiling drive.
I love traveling, especially when I get to play disc golf along the way, and not just fantasize about throwing discs in inappropriate places. A few weekends ago Liza and I were traveling once again (no we weren't playing through people’s lawns in some exotic place), we were traveling through Washington state where disc golf has a legitimate presence and courses pop up in small parks like liquor stores in Grande Prairie.
On this trip Liza and I spent a couple of days in Seattle and the surrounding area, and in the short 3 days we were able to play 5 new courses: two 18 hole and three 9 hole courses. This brought my collection up to 44 different courses in 5 countries.
Woodland Creek Community Park: TALKIN’ ’BOUT PRACTICE!
One of these courses, Woodland Creek Community Park in Lacey, WA had an amazing practice setup.
Who cares about practice, how was the course? The course was fine, large trees shaped lines through the small patch of forest, and well beaten paths with good signage made sure we couldn’t get lost. For a small 9 holes course not far from the I-5 it was really fun. But the practice setup was amazing! When we pulled up we saw all these baskets in an open field and I thought, this course is gonna SUCK. After a quick chat with a local, he told us the course was actually behind us, and that all those baskets were the driving range.
That’s right, they had 3 DGA Mach V baskets setup at varying distances from 150 to 400 feet. To ensure you have good footing there were 4 large tee pads so your X-step would be X-traordinary.
He was very proud to tell us that this is the only official driving range in the state of Washington. Who wouldn’t want to unload there bag trying to add some practice aces? (I certainly unloaded mine, but didn’t add any aces that day). In addition to the 3 baskets of the driving range, just behind the tee pads there were 2 more baskets. They were 80 feet apart, intended for working on your putt and approach game. Clearly this club was well organized and had resources. While chatting with this local we made sure to ask for some suggestions for a few more good courses. This led us to Sheldon Springs.
We were told Shelton Springs is the best course in Washington, and it certainly seemed to check all the boxes. This course is primarily played through tall thick cedars that shape the fairways, their branches reach high to form the canopy and ceiling above. At the forest floor you have two giant colour-coordinated cement tee pads per hole, and beyond them thin brush only occasionally marks the ground. A quarter of the holes stretch out through the trees into tall grass that runs below the large power lines. The course design uses this space well, flowing from forest to grass, or grass to forest, or... from forest to grass back to forest. They used windows to throw out of the trees to unguarded baskets in the open space. While shots that start in the open had to find a lane along the wall of trees that led back to baskets hidden in the woods. Wind and sun exposure is also minimal in the forest which was greatly appreciated on that hot, windy day.
This course has everything: good baskets, signs, and teepads, an enjoyable design, and a sensible flow allowing easy navigation. This was definitely the best course we played on the trip and the enjoyment was increased by playing some decent golf, hitting lines, and making putts.
After playing this demanding course you might be in the mood for a nice beverage, lucky for you this is the USA and pretty much any grocery store has a wide selection of beers, wines and spirits. However, if you’re looking for a more refined drinking atmosphere then maybe check out one of the local breweries near Pikes Place Market.
Beers at Old Stove
While staying in Seattle we visited the Old Stove Brewery in Pike Place Market. The brewery opens onto the promenade that leads down to the wharfs filled with the popular tourist attractions. The bar seamlessly transitions from inside to out and is filled with the sights and sounds of the port. The beer is a mixture of house brewed and regional selections and the flights are long and filling. Liza and I developed a sophisticated system to taste and divide all the beers except one: a sour currant beer that was cast to the edge of the table in shame and would go untouched after the initial disappointing taste. For the most part the beer and the food were good, although I may have ordered too much beer.
Side note: If you’re near Pike Place Market and are looking for good food, you’ve got to go to Pike Place Chowder and order one of their award winning soups in a bread bowl. They are located just off Pike St.
Bogies at Twin Rivers
The last course we visited was an 18 hole course about 10 minutes off the I-5 near the small town of Arlington. This quaint town has a great coffee shop, Moe's on Olympia, which has a very tasty pastries selection, and amazing ice lattes. I’m not ashamed to say that we went there before and after our round.
The course is called Twin Rivers, and despite the parks placement at the Y of a river, water never really came into play on any holes. The course was challenging but the lanes were fair, provided you didn’t kick into the rough which could get a bit prickly on some holes. The course was primarily wooded, old large cedars that stretched tall and wide, surrounded by smaller trees and bushes that fought for space outside the defined fairways. I believe the course has only been in the ground a few years, but it easily flowed from one hole to the next. Where paths started crossing each other UDisc was there to lead us to the next tee.
There were a few open bomber holes that tested a player’s distance, but unfortunately there was one hole that tested their luck as well. The hole was long enough to challenge even the bigger arms. It had a small cluster of trees to prevent the big safe hyzer and made landing in the fairway a difficult shot. To make the shot more punishing they decided to make the rough (which was difficult to see from the tee) out of bounds. This decision would have worked had they not decided to to make the fairway a river that flowed thinly around OB islands, changing with every mowing as it meandered to the basket.
However, a course is not defined by one bad hole and overall I really enjoyed Twin Rivers and I would definitely go back to play it again (and obviously stop in at Moe's On Olympia to get another latte.)
Do you love to travel? Is DG included? Tell me about your adventures in the comments.