Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Day 3: Dorey Park; Richmond, VA

Wouldn’t you know it; I couldn’t sleep last night. So day three, the first travel date, got off to a late start. It didn’t help that I ended up going to the library and then taking Route 1 up through Raleigh and then 85 to 95. Didn’t get to Richmond until 2:40.

Dorey Park in Richmond is a huge park, land wise. There is a lake at the end and many ball fields. My directions say to park on the left and that the course is beyond the pond. I follow the signs for a long walk around the pond and eventually find a warm up basket.

Since it is around closing in on 3:00, I’m tempted to run into playing, but I remind myself that this is my vacation, so I stretch and putt a bit. I realize, too, that there is a field next to the pond, so I can even warm up with a few drives.

Finally, I duck into the forest and follow the path. It goes on a way, and I wonder if I missed the first tee, but I see a golfer coming out who assures me it is ahead. Eventually the trail leads to another clearing with a message board, and I head into the woods, and it is still another walk. I decide that Dorey holds the record for the longest distance between parking and first tee.

The first hole is pretty short (under 200 feet) with a decent anhyzer, so I throw the DX-Stingray and my vacation has officially begun. My putt is about 25 feet, and I nail it (hey, I knew I warm up for a reason), and now I feel like my vacation has really begun.

My new bag pays dividends on hole #2. As I approach the hole, I feel a wet spot on the back and realize I have sloshed Gatorade over myself. This happens about 50% of the time I golf and is one reason I needed a bag with the water bottle holder on the outside. There is something about 16-20 ounce Gatorade’s that makes you feel like the tops are screwed on but if they are not exactly flush they just go over everything. So I get a little on the outside of my bag and shirt, but at least my discs are not soaked.

On hole #4, I hit a tree, take my first four, and now I feel like my vacation has really, truly, begun.

The front 8 is a lot of uphill, and a lot of right turns. I kind of wish I had worked on my flick more. I’ve notice one way short course designers try to make course harder is by having a lot of uphill and right turning holes. I’m not driving fairways too well, but the holes are short enough that I ride the 3 train to hole #9.

Number 9 is basically about 220 and then a right dive into the woods. I throw the Leopard, but not hard enough to turn it and it fades parallel but away from the hole. My approach is one of those where I have a 40 foot approach and sort of lazily toss it, and the next thing you know I have a 20 footer to save par. I get it, but a reminder to not have concentration lapses.

Hole 10 is my saving grace. It’s about 330 elevation to elevation, and although I only 3 it, the extra length makes me bear down to get more snap, and I get a good 280-290 and the muscle memory starts to kick in. I just need to focus on pulling across my body rather than making an arm loop.

Hole 11 is 180 something with a left hook and downhill. This is an easy shot, except for three trees that you have to miss. There is nothing to do but throw the Valkyrie, let it turn and hope it misses the trees. It does, stopping 5 feet from the hole, and I’m back on the happy side of par.

Now I’m under par for a short course, and I’m mostly just thinking “course management.” Hole 14 is about the only hole that I think could get me in trouble. There are a few trees on this downhill shot that are close enough that if I hit them, my approach would not be a chippy. The Leopard does its thing, and even though my 18 footer for birdie clanks off the tip of the basket, I’m happy that I stayed out of trouble.

Hole 16 is a straight, short, downhill that’s all about splitting two trees like goal posts. This is not a hard shot at all, so I basically only need to think before I throw, “Is there anyway, other than hitting those trees (which are close enough I shouldn’t) to mess this up. Perhaps throwing a too having disc and not having enough on it, so I throw the tie-dye Stingray (which has a little fade after its turn, right down the center. It turns a little, fades a little, and easy putt for birdie.

I manage another birdie on 18 by throwing the Leopard flat and letting it turn just a nudge.

Dorey’s a short course, true, but any score under par for the first round, I got to be happy with.

By the time I’m leaving the park, I have a call from Steve and I let him know I’m running late. Still, the traffic is not bad on 95 and I’m able to get to NoVA in good speed. Tali’s delightful (almost walking, already), and it’s good to see old friends.

Dorey Park:
2-3-3 4-3-3 3-3-3
OUT: 27
3-2-3 3-3-3 2-3-2
IN: 24 (51)
Day Three Tally:
Courses 4
New Courses 1
States 2

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