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White Birch Park, Hazelwood, Missouri--a suburb of the Dirty Lou. The first course built in Missouri c. 1979 was my introduction to the wonderful world of disc golf. The year was around 1999, and I was a sophomore in college at Lindenwood University in St. Charles. A ball-golfer since the age of five, I found during college that golf was a very expensive and time-consuming enterprise for a college student. I couldn't get on a course to save my life. Disc golf filled that void for me that spring.

Disc golf tends to bring, ahem, like minded people together. So I joined a few friends to play White Birch. Its a tight, short, heavily wooded course and is one of the most popular courses in St. Louis. Always full, the course was very tight--if you were teeing off at two, you could chat with the guys putting on three--and so forth. Its the only course i've ever played with an 'atmosphere'. Combination disc bag/cooler/radios were abundant; the sounds of Zepplin, the Dead, and Phish filled the air with conflicting tones. Playing the round seemed secondary to drinking beers and burning bowls. Those were the days.

The Birch was great for socializing but bad for your game. Always predisposed with the next jibber and wondering when you would get hit with a errant disc. But it did show me that disc golf, unlike ball golf, was an egalitarian game--anyone was welcome to play and everyone (with a few exceptions) was welcoming, warm, and kind. A trait that fueled my desire to play more and more and more.

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