On Sunday, May 3rd, I played Standing Rocks Park for the first time this year. This was also the first time I'd played this course in almost 4 years. I was what many might consider "riff-raff", as I was against the 'pay-to-play' policy that had been initiated there some time ago. After I had done a little maturing, I realized that the money paid to utilize this park was only going to enhance it. This was the first course I'd ever played, and even now, it remains my favorite. So, I caved and purchased a season pass. I have every intention of getting my money's worth... and then some.
I noticed that there had been a few changes almost immediately. The parking had been relocated so that you now begin at hole #15. Personally, I'm no enthusiast of this change, although walking to hole #1 isn't really that difficult if you backtrack over a couple of holes. They constructed a small bathroom facility (thank you, Jeebus) and laid down rubber tee pads, a definite improvement over the dirt tees that preceded them. Other than that, everything was as I remembered it. The scenery is still beautiful, the hike still makes you break a sweat, and the grounds are still well maintained. In my opinion, the best course in the area, bar none.
My brother-in-law, Dan, came along with me, making his Standing Rocks debut. He too found this park to be one of the best he'd ever played. I didn't shoot very well (+8 and +12... eesh) but Dan managed a +2. I honestly couldn't have cared less about my score though, as I was just delighted to be playing here again. Honestly, if I had double bogied every hole, I'd probably still be writing this blog and praising Standing Rocks as if I owned the place.
Unfortunately, I can't afford to go to Standing Rocks every day, so I'm forced to settle for Willow Run. I guess "forced to settle" is a poor choice of expression, as there isn't anything particularly wrong with this course. It's laid out well, and it's a good course for keeping your skills finely honed. I have heard it described as a "Zen course", and I suppose it is. It doesn't present much of a challenge, but it does quell that "disc golf itch" that a good number of us seem to suffer from. Regardless of how Zen-like it may be, I could never take par here. That is, until today. And rather than just take par, I took it one step further, and finally broke par. I finally posted my first round under par at a respectable -1. Sure, it's nothing I'd go bragging to Ken Climo about, but it's a target I set for myself that I can finally cross off the list.
Which leads me to that final thought I made mention of in the title. You see, there are countless things I love about this sport, but I think the one thing that stands’ towering above them all is the invariable forward progress. As long as you continue playing, keep driving, keep putting, you'll constantly improve. There is no stall. You'll never come to that place where you can't go any further, throw any smoother, or putt any better. The more you play, the better you play, for as long as you play. And to me, that's icing on an already sweet cake.