In the last ten years, I have been busy with my wonderful wife, and what now are five beautiful children. Disc golf for the better part of this time has been casual throwing of discs at a Tri-state basket I bought from Avery Jenkins (best wishes, friend). We are departing next Friday for a week in Williamsburg, VA. In noticing the path to drive there, I can't help but recall a fond memory of a virtually identical journey on this trail...
In 1998 (I think), I was playing in PDGA tourneys around the Midwest pretty regularly. Whenever I had an opportunity to travel, I tried to see if there were opportunities to play where I was heading. As it happened, on this occasion, my sister was graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Of course, I wondered what opportunities may present for some disc golf on a three-day weekend trip. I contacted a good buddy from the local scene, Bill Vaughn, whose interest was immediately piqued. The obvious first stop that came to mind was Pittsburgh, as we'd both played Knob Hill in tournaments, absolutely loving that course, but also we considered Schenley Park in the city proper. In checking out the map, we noticed we would pass by a few courses we'd heard about from locals, as well as had seen in Disc Golf World News back in the day. So, guaranteed the trip was on...but we weren't done there. In checking the PDGA schedule, we noticed something called "Two Days In May" in Spotsylvania, VA...and better yet, it was on Sunday and Monday of Memorial weekend. Bill did a reconaissance call to the contact number and got the details...it was a private course called "The Grange", and the Wife of the course architect, Jenny (I think it was Jenny) Trapasso, told Bill it was not to be missed, saying it was the best course in the region. I can't recall if she said Virginia, the East Coast, or what, but it doesn't matter, because in my limited experience all are correct. So, it was a done deal. Thus began a fantastic weekend journey:
Day 1: Journey to DC.
In keeping with family obligations, I couldn't miss the Georgetown commencement, so we had to be certain that we left plenty early...overnight, as I recall. I seem to remember a radio broadcast through the Pennsylvania Appalachians of "Coast to Coast AM" with Art Bell, where he was interviewing some former military guy who was a part of the study of Mars, where they discovered robots carefully watching over eggs with some humanoid-type beings in them. I guess some things are so surreal you never forget them. At any rate, by daybreak we cross into West Virginia, right at that thin point where you almost immediately proceed into Maryland. But instead, here is where you take a departure West. We arrive at this scenic overlook of the Potomac River valley, and Bill feels inspired to launch a disc. To this day it's likely the farthest a disc has traveled after leaving his hand...I'm betting at least 2000 feet, though most of it was down. It was a crush, though. We then pressed onward through the town of Paw Paw, through some winding dirt roads up a mountain, until we arrived at the Woodshed, home to the West Virginia Open.
Aside from the wood barn that marks the land, and the sudden appearance over the mountaintops of a number of military aircraft, there is little disturbance in this land. large fields and plenty of woods identify this course, and one pretty pond guarding the front side of what I believe was basket number 1. It was an exciting course, and super challenging. We even saw someone from Ohio at the course that we knew, but I can no longer recall who it was. I don't have a ton of memories from this course, as we had to play quickly, but I recall something like a 500-foot hole through narrow, dense woods. Absolutely crazy, but fun nonetheless.
We pressed onward towards DC, and decided we had just enough time for option #2, Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, MD...at the time known for the Seneca Creek Soiree annual supertour event. This course was in a beautiful park, well-kept, with plenty of doglegs and some modest elevation changes. I loved everything about this park, except the Cedar trees, similar to arborvitae, except they are taller, pricklier, and love to eat up discs. Fetching one or two out was a time-consumer, and drained a little of the enjoyment of the course. Bill to this point had never had an ace in his life, and again I'm a little foggy here (because I'm self-centered and it wasn't me), but he hit chains on a long downhill hole, and I can't recall if it stayed in or not, but I remember him freaking out about it a bit. I also liked the cool hole by the creek, where a rusted-out car was meshing with the woods behind the tee area.
Well, we arrived at Georgetown just in time, and we hung out with my sister for a bit afterwards. We were boarded up in the Georgetown dormitories for the night. We made sure we prepared for an early departure, though, because the next day was the Grange.
Stay tuned for part 2...