The Masters Worlds at Flagstaff was a fantastic tournament. It’s amazing that such a relatively small city has the infrastructure to host such a large event. The local organizing committee did an amazing job in preparing the courses and other events throughout the week. Not only was it a great tournament, but they’ve left a lasting legacy to their local community with course upkeep, new baskets and even a new course. I recommend to anyone traveling through the SW of the US to put Flagstaff on their itinerary.
This was my second Masters Worlds event, having given it a go last summer in Peoria. This time I knew a bit more what to expect and had been mentally and physically preparing for it. I signed up for all the side-events (Doubles, Putting, Long Drive, and Skill Shot). Why not?!?? Playing the doubles was a really great way to start the week and preview a course I would only play again if I made the finals. It was extremely windy on the day of the field events, so it was impossible to know how you were doing in those. I was thrilled to learn afterwards that I took 1st place in the Skill Shot and 2nd in Putting and Long Drive.
As for the main event – 5.5 rounds at 3 courses, It turns out I was physically prepared, but I found the mental aspect extremely nerve-wracking. After the first round, I was sitting one stroke out of first place and took the lead in the 3rd round, but I never felt confident in my ability to hold that lead. Any mistake felt enormous and any success felt minor. I was shocked to learn at the end of the round that I shot even and took five strokes on my division. It’s a funny mind-bending experience and I am not quite sure what to take away from that aspect of the competition.
At the end of last year, I switched my putter to a magma medium Tui and am very happy with it. I feel like I can get a stronger grip and more control with that putter because of its shallow profile, and I have always liked a beaded putter. I recommend it to anyone, but especially those of us with somewhat smaller hands – give it a try! My approach shots are almost always with a Kea or Tui. Depending on the shape of my upshot and the type of ground-play I’m looking for, I am throwing a soft Tui, glow Tui, soft Kea or Atomic Kea.
Having played disc golf mostly at high altitudes, I was quite comfortable in Flagstaff. This month I am in North Carolina, trying to re-learn my bag at this lower elevation, to prepare for the USWDGC in Burlington at the end of the month.
I arrived at the course Friday afternoon, intending to play a round with just me, or me plus a couple of others. Instead, I joined Team Panda for a(nother) twelve-some and we played doubles, short to short. For the tournament, round one was long to short, and round two was short to long. While it was not a preview of the holes I was playing the next day, herd Panda golf was a super fun time, and put me in a great mindset going into Saturday. Friday night, determined to go to a supper club for dinner (Wisconsin is known for these) – goal achieved. While many camped for this event, I stayed at a charming local motel and got a good night’s sleep prior to the event. Saturday morning, I arrived early so I could stretch, check in, putt, warm up and prepare for the event. I was apparently early enough to miss the parking lot bouncers who were waving people off the course lot into an improvised parking scenario farther from the course (another benefit of being an early bird). A bonus of playing a course outside of tournament warmup and play is the ability to determine an appropriately playable warm up loop, which I did. My first round, I played with Ceci Vollbrecht, Katie Gratzl, and Serena Gilles. Ceci had just come off a super performance at college nationals and was throwing super well. Because the course requires precision as well as distance, for round one, my Atomic and Cosmic Piwakawakas were my go-to discs. They hold the line you throw them on beautifully, and I have never had a disc like this, where it can be made to go completely straight for 200-250’. Between them and my Tui putting team (soft Magma is a rock star disc, and the mid-Magma holds its line in the wind nicely), I managed to throw a four under the course par and was in the lead by four going into round two, much to my delighted surprise. For round two, I got to throw with Ceci again, and added Becky LeDonne (an ultimate frisbee teammate and good friend from my Nemesis days), and Kayla Lowrey.
The second round layout, and the massive amount of distance we were throwing led me to stick with my original goal of cashing. Ceci and Becky both came on strong second round (and I did not help myself by fiving the first hole, which I had birdied during round one). The layout was a bit longer off the tee, so I was leaning into my Pekapekas, and my more beaten Kahu team (especially, my Star Lord Kahu, purchased from Garrett and Jacob as my first RPM disc in summer 2019); they were as reliably amazing as ever. With a few holes to go, Ceci passed me to take the lead. I got a couple of birdies to get the lead back, and despite both Ceci and me having trouble with hole 18, which is a beast to the long pin, I managed to hang on for the win (#264 in 414 events played). Which was amazing, and unexpected and a super amount of fun. Bonus fun was winning a Panda event, as Panda always runs fun events with creative trophies, and I am a Panda.
Like many others I found the joy of Disc Golf during the pandemic. I have played team sports and had a competitive mindset my whole life, and I started playing Ultimate Frisbee at the end of university. I was the head of the local frisbee club for a while, and that allowed me to get to know some of the disc golfers in my town. When everything else shut down I needed something to do, and dived right into disc golf. I worked on my throws, played rounds with my friends, and joined the local league. From there on I was hooked.
This year injuries and playing with the Swedish national team in Ultimate Frisbee has gotten in the way of both competitions and field work. After my body healed up and my other obligations were complete, I’ve been happy to play all the local competitions available. I love how easy it is to find disc golf tournaments and test your skills against others.
Wanting to play as much as possible has given me a lot of new experiences. I had just come back home late from a vacation and woke up at 6 am to go to a course I had never played before. Aside from being a long course with a lot of OB, this day there was also a storm of with extreme wind. Even though my discs flew in ways I had never seen before, we were all in it together and I had a great time. I was happy that I had brought my stable Kotuku which I could rely on even when the wind was gusting.
Later on I was lucky to have a C-tier competition on a week night on my local course. My boyfriend caddied for me, and it was fun to hear he could see the improvement in my drives. I throw longer than ever before and a lot more consistent. Playing in the woods, my score was however dependent on limiting mistakes. Upshots with Piwakawa and Tui, and tricky forehand scrambles with my Kea were key to playing a great round and winning the tournament!
Tomorrow I am participating in my first A-tier event of the year! I have a knee injury, so my plan is to play smart, see where I end up and enjoy every shot and challenge I face!