There are many reasons to buy gifts for a loved one: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, bribery. Yes, bribery. I’m not above it. I love my brother dearly, and though I’m sure the feeling is mutual, sometimes it’s difficult to get him to spend time with me. In his defense, he lives a few hours away, and he’s not looking to spend a weekend grabbing HH with the girls, or sitting in a manicurist’s chair. He will, however, play a round of disc golf with his buddies. And, with me, if I bring supplies. Read on for my experience with the Disc Golf Crate, my first time playing, and sneakily spending quality time with my brother.
Over the river and through the woods
The course was actually straight into the woods, about a 40-minute drive from my home. Blue Ribbon Pines, or “BRP” is a well-known course among disc golf enthusiasts such as my brother. The place was had a gift shop, two or three wandering “course dogs” and subtle, 20-foot-tall letters spelling out B-R-P…the kind I would expect to see at some well-known music festival. But this wasn’t Lollapalooza; this was disc golf. And aside from both being outdoors, that’s about where the similarities end. Oh, if you didn’t know: disc golf is pretty much what it sounds like. Golf, but with a flying disc.
Surprise and delight
I pulled into BRP’s parking lot and hopped out of the car, Man Crate in hand. As I approached a wooden picnic table at the beginning of the course, my brother’s friends turned toward me. “Whatcha got there,” one of them asked. “Well, it’s called a Man Crate. I picked up the Disc Golf Crate to get my brother to hang out with me.” They all laughed. More politely than heartily, but whatever, I’m counting it. “Seriously, I just thought you guys might want to check it out.” I handed my brother the crow bar and they all looked on as he popped the top off the crate and peered inside.
It’s a disc in a box
Actually a couple discs: a putter for those closer throws, and a lighter one for distance, my brother explained. The box also had a bag to carry said discs, a really nice can cooler, and a bag of sunflower seeds (I’ll hang onto those, thanks). Tucked into the side was a quick blurb about disc golf and a note on top from Man Crates telling me how great I was. (Or, that someone out there thought so). “This is actually pretty legitimate,” my brother assessed. He popped a cap off a Sharpie and started writing his name on one of the discs. “It’s definitely more of a starter pack; good for you to try it out today.”
Three tips for Disc Golf beginners:
- Get a grip. It determines your trajectory.
- Hips don’t lie, so listen to them. Where you set your hips (lower or higher) can determine your flight pattern.
- Oomph there it is. Put a little more strength into the first one, but pull back a little as you get closer to the hole, which is more of a basket than a hole.
Let the games begin
We took off toward the start of the first hole of 27. TWENTY SEVEN! Like, more than 26 and definitely more than 18, which is what a typical course has. It was “springtime” in Minnesota, so the temperature was 40 degrees in the sun, 20 with the wind. I was told to wear waterproof shoes, and I was glad I did. I was also told to wear gloves, which I regret forgetting. The first several holes were spent surveying the heavily wooded course and watching everyone’s throwing style. Around Hole 13, I gave it a go. The only kind of golf I’ve played is miniature, and at that, I was mediocre, at best. I found that my skill level transferred flawlessly to disc golf.
What I learned while playing:
- To be a legitimate tournament competitor , you must write your full name and phone number on the disc, or your score could get “thrown out.”
- “Mando” means “mandatory.” As in, a disc must be thrown a certain direction to play the hole correctly. These guys don’t have time to say full words, there are 27 holes to play.
- A fun drinking game might be:
- Take a drink for every time someone says, “It’s a shame that tree was right there.”
- Two drinks when someone says, “Glad that tree was right there.”
- If you only play on one hole, you will have the lowest/best score.
- Another word for disc golf is “frolf” (short for “Frisbee Golf”). Serious disc golfers never refer to the sport as frolf.
Even though I did not have a raw, natural talent for disc golf, I technically walked away with the best/lowest score. (Not playing every hole will do that for ya). I also walked away with some quality time with my brother under my belt. It was so fun to watch him in his element, and to see his excitement to share his enthusiasm for the sport with me. Thanks, Disc Golf Crate, for spinning up a good reason for my brother and I to hang together.