"OK, now you give it a try," Jay Pontier said as he handed me a driver. I took the 8 1/2-inch diameter disc, examined it for a moment, looked down the fairway of the 282-foot par 3 5th hole at the Middle Creek Disc Golf Course, then looked back at the disc.
Jay, the pro at Middle Creek, which winds its snakes its way through Cary's Middle Creek Park , had given me a quick tutorial on holes 2, 3 and 4 for today's story about disc golf. About the differences between the 20 or so discs in his bag and what each does. (Some are designed to go straight, then hook; some to go straight, then slice; some are intended to go far, some short ... .) About how to persuade the disc to do what you want it to do, about how the heck you get the disc to thread the impossibly narrow, tree-lined fairways endemic to a good course, such as Middle Creek. Like the 25-foot-wide alley I was expected to navigate here on the par 3 No. 5.
I stared at the chain-link basket 282 feet away, tried to ignore the gallery of loblolly pines lining the fairway, took two steps forward, planted my right foot and let loose a throw that — promptly veered left into the woods maybe 30 feet from the tee.
Now, I went to college in the 1970s and have plenty of idle time — "idle time" including classes I wasn't particularly motivated to attend — tossing a Frisbee with my beer-free hand. I wasn't the best, but I could certainly throw a Frisbee more than 30 feet in a straight line.
"Mulligan?" (In disc golf, a do-over is called a "provisional throw.")
It took exactly the same course. I managed to get out of the rough with a rough flick that landed me another 100 feet down the fairway (and just slightly back into the rough this time), did another lame throw that took me 30 feet beyond the basket, and two-putted. Let's see, using the same short-term-memory approach to counting I used with ball golf years ago, I wound up with a ... hey, a bogey 4!
I'm guessing I won't be asked to play in a best ball tournament anytime soon. At least not until I've had plenty of practice.