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Wrightwood SoCal Event – A Little Closer to the Heavens

September 2, 2009

Dave Rope with Aces #1 tag

Dave Roper boasting his #1 Aces bag tag

Sunrise Showdown in Wrightwood, CA is arguably the most unique event on the SoCal tour.With its mountain setting, breathtaking views and thin air, the Ski Sunrise course presents challenges found in few places in Southern California. Anyone who has played at high elevation has experienced the effect that the thin air has on disc flight. You really have to experience it first hand to understand it, but discs fly faster and more over-stable at higher elevations.

There was a strong contingent of 17 Aces members present, plus we set up a table where we sold memberships and discs and supplied water to players. Aces members present were:

Open:  Mike Lust, Dave Parnell, Mike Shaw

Open Women:  Emily Hardy

Pro Grandmaster:  Jeff Nichols, Greg Olsen

Advanced:  Dave Roper, Adam Nash, John Ryan, Pat Paramore, AJ Risley

Advanced Master:  Randy Wylott, Bill Maury-Holmes, Danny Zwolenski

Advanced Grandmaster: Eric Simmons

Recreational: EJ Simmons

Novice: David Simmons

Because the Aces members were spread across so many divisions we decided to have an all-inclusive bag tag challenge with the tags distributed in the order of overall score at tournament end. The overall winner was Dave Roper, who carried off the #1 tag with a hot Sunday round.  Special thanks and recognition goes to Mike Lust who brought up the #1 tag and agreed to put it on the line gainst the whole field.  This is the true spirit of the bag tags that I hope it will set an example to all Aces members.

In my opinion camping and disc golf go hand-in-hand.  Most disc golfers also love the outdoors and there’s nothing like playing, cooking, sitting around a fire and sleeping outdoors, then waking up and doing it again the next day.  Portable baskets set up around camp inspired a few games of “HORSE” under the pines and thanks to Emily, there was even “glow golf” happening around the campground after dark.

Saturday’s event schedule was changed because of Tim Selinske’s funeral.  I thought about Tim many times over the weekend and even though I’m sad to see him go, I felt good about all he has done for the game, especially in SoCal.

Day 1 saw quite a few hot rounds especially considering the course was in its more difficult configuration. Paul MacBeth was the only one to break into the 60’s with a 12-under par 69.  The next four best scores all came from the Pro Masters, which proved to be the division with the most depth in this event.  Aces members Emily Hardy and Jeff Nichols led their divisions after Saturday with Jeff seizing a one stroke lead over Dave Roper for that coveted #1 Aces bag tag.

Day 2 course configuration had nine of the 27 holes in their shorter pin locations and most of the golfer took advantage and carded better scores.  Paul MacBeth proved to be the class of the Open division winning by 11 strokes. Emily Hardy ran away with Open Women by 16 strokes, Mark Collicott outlasted Dago, Robbie Wilson and Mike Byrne in Pro Masters, any of which would have finished second in Open.  Jeff Nichols managed to cling to his lead in Grandmasters.  Check out the other division winners and all the results here.  Other notable finishes by Aces were Mike Lust (4th Open), Dave Parnell (5th Open), Dave Roper (4th Advanced), Adam Nash (8th Advanced), Randy Wylott and Bill Maury-Holmes (tied for 2nd Advanced Masters), Eric Simmons (2nd Advanced Grandmasters) and David Zwolenki who set a Junior’s course record on Saturday.  Congratulations to all the Aces who played this event.

Emily Hardy receiving her 1st place trophy for Women's Open

Emily Hardy 1st place Women's Open

Jeff Nichols loving his "mountain golf"

Jeff Nichols loving his "mountain golf"

The awards ceremony included a very nice raffle where several Aces members won some fine prizes, and was highlighted by the Innova metal DisCatcher basket won by our own Carl “Beanieman” Renda.  The winning ticket was given to Carl by the Tournament Director in appreciation for his work as a volunteer.

Bill Maury-Holmes and Randy Wylott with Carl's basket in the foreground

Bill Maury-Holmes and Randy Wylott with Carl's basket in the foreground

Junior Ace David Zwolenski basking in his course record

Junior Ace David Zwolenski basking in his course record

All in all it was a delightful weekend with a good setting, good golf and good company.  I highly recommend this tournament and the camping experience next year, or if you just want a fun disc golf outing, don’t wait for the tournament, just get up there and do it.  But you’ll need to do it before November because the course is seasonal and the baskets will be moved to Yucaipa for the winter.  Now go play some mountain golf!

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