Friday, June 14, 2013

Where the Frisbees Landed

This is the art for the 2013 GRFGA T-shirt, celebrating the 38th summer of Frisbee-golf for our group in Richmond. Click on the art to enlarge it.

On the heavy duty 100 percent cotton shirts, which will be your choice of either an athletic gray or a military olive, short or long sleeve, this black and white image will be about 10" wide. Send me an email if you want one.

"Where  the Frisbees Landed" is also the name of a history of our group that is in the works. Here's how it starts out:
Like particular notes blend to create harmony, a perfectly released shot combines factors. Among them are the proper grip, the thrower’s weight-shift from back foot to front, and most importantly -- the angle, timing and righteousness of the snap. Once it’s on its way, spinning in flight, the magic of sudden breezes often determines just where the Frisbee will land.  

During the summer of 1976,when I was playing Frisbee-golf on a course laid out around a lake in Byrd Park, I certainly had no sense the game itself would matter to me decades later. It was new to me then. Three of us simply agree upon which trees to aim at. Then we counted the strokes it took to hit them from a certain spot.

After 37 years I’m still an avid Frisbee-golfer. These days I play what my younger colleagues call “disc golf” on Sunday mornings and on most weekday afternoons. Without membership cards or dues, our group of regulars plays all year round, weather permitting. At times, we’ve shrugged off what problems blizzards and hurricanes have thrown our way. Since 1978 our group has been known as the Greater Richmond Frizbee-golf Association. More about the name later.

Frisbee-golf began in Southern California in the late-’60s, when a visionary designer/marketer at Wham-O, Ed Headrick (1924-2002), created/codified the pastime. Headrick eventually became totally devoted to the game he is credited with having invented. In the beginning Headrick used discs already being made by Wham-O. Later discs designed for the game came into use.

Of his game’s first 25 years “Steady Ed” Headrick observed: “Thus we have a new generation of young and old whom we can welcome into our home, our parks, and yes our lives, with confidence and open arms. The vast majority set examples for others on a daily basis. They share their lives, teach other and most of all, they clean up other people’s trash.”

Likewise, our group plays its version of disc golf in public parks on unmarked courses without leaving a trace that we’ve been there ... except that we tend to pick up trash we find. There are no baskets or tee boxes. When we encounter picnics and other scenes that might be in a fairway, we pick a different tree to shoot at and avoid the clash. 

Ol’ Crush No. 3 was an orange Super Pro Frisbee (133 grams) that was the only tool I used in winning two consecutive singles tournaments in 1979. That has to make it my all-time favorite of many Super Pros I’ve had. I still use one for most of my putts.

With the evolution of the game, new styles of discs have superseded some that were in wide usage 20 and 30 years ago.  So some of my favorite models from yesteryear can’t be easily replaced today, because they aren‘t being made anymore. And, yes, old golf discs are collected and sold via the Internet.
To be continued.

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