Day 1 (Sunday, July 15): Course #1 – Emerald Isle Golf Course, Oceanside, CA - After months of planning, it was finally time to begin the Tour. Did we get much sleep the night before? Nah…. But we were up at 5am in order to get to Emerald Isle by 6:30 to set up for the Kick-Off Tournament. The Tour de Rizbee Kick-Off Tournament was a great way to start our trip. We held the tournament at Emerald Isle Golf Course in Oceanside, CA, what A.J. and I consider to be our home course. Emerald Isle is what is known as a “Fly 18” course (although they are no longer affiliated with Fly 18…long story) – disc golf tees and baskets are laid out parallel to the regular 18-hole executive ball golf course and we play right along with the ball golfers. EI has golf carts, which are always appreciated by the disc golfers!
Thirty-three players took part in the one round tournament with a 7:30am shotgun start. Each player in the tournament received a Tour de Rizbee-stamped golf disc as part of their players pack. We had canvassed the area to get raffle prizes for the players, so more of the entry fee could go towards EDGE. Raffle tickets were given out as prizes and players could buy extra tickets. We also sold mulligans for a dollar each. It was great to see how the players embraced the spirit of the event – we had a great time! Unfortunately, we were in such a hurry to get on the road that the paper with the final standings was lost. However, we did keep track of some of the details of the morning:
Many people helped out with the Kick-Off tournament, and they deserve some recognition here: Skip Winship of Emerald Isle made the event possible and contributed the Vegas prize; Monica Watkins recruited most of the prizes, organized the mulligans and the raffle and provided loads of logistical support; Don Vincent helped with the CTP’s; Tommy Vincent retrieved players from out on the course; and of course all the players who bought extra raffle tickets and mulligans. Also, our prize sponsors (partial list):
At the tournament we unveiled our custom Tour de Rizbee shirts produced by Apewear. The TdR logo was embroidered on CoolMax shirts that looked and felt great. We were stylin!! You’ll see these shirts in a lot of the pictures on this site. Once the prizes were distributed we hit the road headed north on I-5.
11:45am - we’re stuck in traffic because someone crashed. It sucks. There aren’t many alternatives to I-5 when you’re driving thru Camp Pendleton. Check that – there are NO alternatives to I-5 when you’re driving through Camp Pendleton. Once we made it to San Clemente, the search for surface streets began…
We received a text message at around noon. This message was from a disc golfer in Minnesota. He found a disc that somehow had our phone number on it. This seemed impossible because we have never been to Minnesota. He told us that some area codes in Minnesota are 760 but this seems pretty unlikely. My guess was that it was someone we knew back at EI drinking some of the Stone beers pulling a gag on us.
Course #2 – Frontier Park, Tustin, CA - After about 45 minutes of sitting in traffic, we were moving again on the 5. Tustin, here we come! A few miles up the road in Orange County was Tustin. We played a quick 9 holes at Frontier Park, a small community park just off the freeway. We had played here a few times before, once on the 2005 TdR. This course is pretty short, so to make it interesting we played a game we like to call the “3-disc challenge.” Each player is limited to playing the round of golf with three discs. Part of the challenge is picking three discs that cover the types of shots you’ll have to make during the round. Allen prevailed in the 3-disc challenge, using an Aviar, TL and Ontario Roc.
Course #3 – Ford Park, Redlands, CA - After finishing the round in Tustin we grabbed some drive-thru food and drove on towards Redlands. We wanted to play a brand-new course at Ford Park. We dodged Sunday afternoon traffic and made it there around 2:45. It was pretty hot by the time we made it to Ford Park, about 95 degrees. This course was brand new, so new that there weren’t any tee signs and no signage to show you where to start, which is a little frustrating. After searching around a bit we figured out where to start for Hole #1. It was an enjoyable round on a nice nine-hole pitch and putt course. Lots of trees, mild elevation changes, and it plays around two small ponds. Once tee signs are installed, it will make a nice family course. Thanks to Bill M-H and his team for getting the course put in.
Started our alphabet of CD’s today also. Aerosmith Greatest Hits was the first on the list. We were determined to play CD's in alphabetical order as we drove along. Yes, we're a bit OCD.
Another road problem. The road to get to Wrightwood from the 15 was closed so we had to take a detour that cost us another hour. We were not giving up, though. We kept trucking with the mantra that we would do what took to play as much as we could.
Course #4 - Sunrise DGC, Wrightwood, CA - Finally made it to Wrightwood. Sunrise DGC was awesome. The course at Sunrise is laid out in the summertime on a ski slope that otherwise goes unused during the warm months. Wrightwood is easily accessible from the L.A. area, and not too far of a trip from San Marcos for me to have played a monthly there. This, however, was A.J.’s first time playing this course. It took him a few holes to get used to the change in flight characteristics of his discs, since we were now several thousand feet above sea level. Several things happen when you throw golf discs at elevation: 1) they fly straighter, since there is less drag to cause the high-speed turn or low-speed fade, 2) they fly faster initially because of less drag, so fast discs can fly farther, and 3) discs do not carry or float as much as at sea level, so putts drop quickly and discs that usually glide a lot don't.
The course is a lot of fun - lots of trees and elevation changes, definitely flora and terrain different than back home for us. A lot of the holes on the first nine are actually quite short, but they make up for it by having crazy drop-offs near the baskets. I remember playing this course once before and after teeing off on a 250 ft. hole and having my drive skip about 20 ft. from the basket, watching it go over an embankment and come to rest 300 ft down the hill, with a 60-70 ft elevation drop. Brutal. Holes 10 and 11 were A.J.'s favorites. Hole #10 is a 300 ft.+ drive with the basket perched on top of a snowboard quarter-pipe. Tough to get your approach to stop on top of that ledge! Hole #11 is the signature hole of the course. Crazy tight gap right off the tee - you tee off with two Ponderosa pines placed 15 feet off the tee in front of you, with a 5-ft. gap. The hole then descends down the ski slope, probably 450-500 ft to a basket tucked behind a hill, and a dropoff past the hill. Pass the basket and your disc could go a mile. Disc of choice here - putters. Funny how you can throw a putter 400 feet at one course but you can’t clear a 300 foot green with a driver at another. Unfortunately, we only had enough light to play the first 18 holes out of the 27, but it was great!!
We had dinner at this great little restaurant in Wrightwood, the Grizzly Café. Great choice. A.J. had his regular - a bacon cheeseburger, I had a barbeque chicken salad and we split some sweet potato fries - Yumm!!!With full stomachs we hit the road again, on our way to Barstow, listening to the Blue Brothers and Cheap Trick.
Once we hit Barstow it was time to switch over to I-40 and start heading east. I-40 between Barstow and Arizona is really dark and lonely at night. We stopped for gas around midnight in the middle of nowhere just as the convenience store locked it's door. The gas pumps were still working, so we wouldn't be stranded until morning, but the bathrooms were now locked up. Use your imagination how that ended up... Back on the road after filling up and emptying. Dread Zeppelin, cover band of Led Zeppelin with an Elvis-impersonator lead singer and reggae band, makes the drive a lot more fun.
We hit Kingman at 1am. Motel 6 had left the light on for us! After a couple of quick showers it’s time for some sleep.
Day 1 totals: 4 courses, 54 holes. 475 Miles