Story last updated at 5/21/2014 - 5:35 pm
The list of things at which I am not very good continues to grow, which isn't as bad as it sounds.
I've always loved fishing, but you need other things, and when expanding your recreational life, chances are you won't be good at everything.
Some things, you can't be good at because it's a one-time deal and doesn't work into a normal weekend routine. In something like skydiving (which is pretty awesome), the two basic types of accidents are outside your control and thus have nothing to do with skill. The catastrophic type would be the fault of the dude strapped to your back and the other is more of a brain and bowel betrayal than you not being good. Plus, it's not something you're going to be able to add to your weekend routine.
Which leads me to my latest potentially habit-forming dabbling. My buddy Corby is a frequent disc golfer and helped spearhead the creation of a course around the high school in Craig. On a warm Sunday afternoon he invited me to partake in what I called "Frisbee Golf" until I was later corrected on Facebook by a disc golf connoisseur who lives in Portland. As is the case, there are recreational types and serious types. People who go to the Innova Discs website and see a Speed 13 Dominator Disc Driver has a -1 turn rating, a glide rating of 5 might say, "Oh yeah, perfect."
I'd say, "Huh?" There are your extremes.
Corby has over a dozen discs, each with a specific purpose from "driving" to "putting" and gave me the closest to a one-size-fits-all type since I didn't know what I was doing.
I've never been able to throw a frisbee straight, so on the par 3, 278-foot first, I wasn't surprised that I sent the disc into the baseball field where nine local dudes were working out on the diamond.
I hopped the fence fine, avoided a shot to deep left center, threw my disc back into play, then caught my shoe on the way back over and compressed my sternum when I hit the ground. I wound up with a bogey which was OK considering the potential damage to my internal apparatus and there were no scorecards.
The second tee pad is on a plateau above the highway. Of course, "highway" doesn't mean much to an Alaskan because most Alaskan highways are little more than side streets when compared to down south. Still, I didn't feel like sending an object into oncoming traffic. My throw started straight, then took its usual left-hand turn, looking for a car, or runner, or maybe a poor little kid on a bike. Seeing none, it reluctantly crashed in the grass next to the shoulder.
I was relieved.
As we made our way around the course, I saw how this could really be addicting. My buddies and I played regular golf and would stressfully spray our shots all over the place, but disc golf can be super casual, and since you don't have to spend time looking for "that stupid ball" hit with "that stupid club" you can stay in a better mood. In theory, because, really, who curses their own arm? Plus discs are much easier to find when you chuck them in the woods.
IF YOU GO...
A three-disc starter kit costs $20-$40. As for where to use it, the Internet consistently claims that Juneau has the only disc golf course in Southeast, but I found evidence of potential courses in Haines, Ketchikan and of course played the one in Craig. Asking Google will take searchers to websites like Discgolfcourses.localdata.info which claims: "Wrangell Petersburg County, Alaska currently holds 0 beautiful easy and hard disc golf, frisbee golf and mini disc golf courses."
Towns might have unofficial courses and clubs, so ask around. If I get information about others, I'll be sure to pass it, and more stories about my ineptness, along.