Driving in to Toccoa is a bit like going to the dentist.
You may like the dentist you have now, and your memories of past incidents may not be uniformly horrific, but there usually isn't much on the plus side of the memorial ledger to engender nostalgia feelings.
Driving in to Rose Lane, then, is a bit like meeting up with a friend who stood by you during a court martial or a unit you fought a war with. On the one hand, you have strong feelings of loyalty. On the other, those feelings are inextricably embedded in negative memories.
The course is windy. Very, very, very, windy. The kind of windy that when I was living in Toccoa I would have turned around and driven home. But I've driven six hours, so I guess I'm staying.
Despite the wind, I birdie three of the first six holes (and make a long putt to save par on another). And then...
...then the same old tournament same old. I hit trees a few feet in front of my tee pad. The wind carries me places I never shoot from. Despite putting well all day, I manage to turn a 3 down into a 4 over, and when I come back for the afternoon session, I have to play the long tees. I'm tired. I've driven six hours. My ankles hurt on a course that's a tough walk, and the holes get longer.
My agressive putting results in my first three putt on the opening hole of round two, but despite that and an out of bounds, I jump on the three train for some long holes and manage to put together a stretch of play. Then the wind blows up again and I go out of bound on hole 5 and take a circle 6. Pffft.
You know, I should be happy. Lot of good things are happening in my life. I just bought a house, my work year is drawing to a close. But I've been in a terrible mood all day. Maybe I just shouldn't play tournaments, I don't konw.
Last Monday, I was playing blind-draw doubles at OT Sloan with a payout of the top 3 teams. My partner and I shot a -10. Three of the last five groups to come in tied at -11. It's been that kind of Disc Golf year.
And the thing is, I putted well. I could have been an additional ten strokes easy. I try to tell myself that it was the wind, the layoff, the new hole configurations, but the truth is I'm Michael Chang slugging it out with Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Moving up to Masters level just means maybe that it's Jim Courier or Boris Becker. Maybe they don't hit as hard as Sampras, but they still hit harder than me. And I can make all the twenty-five foot putts I want, that still itsn't going to gain me strokes if they are to save par on 325 foot holes.
I try to tell myself that I've just got residual bad mood from a conglomeration of negativity that has been surrounding me recently. People saying they aren't in a bad mood who obviously are. Cruddy drivers on the road. Passive-agressive sulkers in many spheres of life.
Anyway, it's nice to see the course, even if the holes I remember nostalgiacally are being systematically moved, lengthened and replaced.
Round 1 (5664 feet) (Starting on hole 12)
3-3-3 2-2-2 4-5-3 3-3 (33)
3-3-4 2-4-4 4-4-3 3 (34) 67
Round 2 (6580 tired feet) (Starting on hole 11)
4-5-3 4*-3-3 3-3-4 3-3* (38)
3-3-3 3-6*-3 3-4-3 4 (35) 73