Show off your native tongue and blend in like a pro
August 22, 2017 by Matt Rothstein in Instruction with 2 comments
Shibboleth (shib-bo-leth) Noun. A use of language regarded as distinctive of a particular group.
Finding your place in a new and unfamiliar culture can be a huge challenge. I’ve made a few of these moves throughout my adult life: from Illinois to Colorado, from Colorado to New England and, most recently, from Colorado to Louisiana. Each time, disc golf played a huge part in getting plugged in to the local scene.
Recently, one of my Baton Rouge disc golf buddies asked me (in perfectly good humor), “Hey man, do we all sound like a bunch of swampbillies to you?” I thought about it for a moment. “No, not really. The only weird thing you guys say is ‘finger pop’ (their name for a sidearm/flick/forehand). Besides that, y’all are cool.”
They found this thoroughly amusing, mostly because they hadn’t ever paid much attention to the phrase and apparently didn’t realize it was a local invention.
This got me thinking: What other disc golf lingo is out there that is unique to localities around the country? I decided to reach out to clubs around the nation to ask what we might hear on their courses that we would not hear anywhere else.
The response was great: 46 replies from Amarillo, 65 from Delaware, 77 from Denver, 170 from Charlotte, and…well, you get idea. It seems that these communities were more than a little eager to celebrate their local dialect and folklore. So, for this special edition of Tuesday Tips, I’ll be detailing some of these responses to help you talk like a local no matter how far from home you may be.
Many of the responses included colloquialisms that were not necessarily disc golf-specific. So, for example, if you’re discing in Alabama, you’ll probably hear someone refer to their “buggy” (cart), and anywhere in the South you’re likely to hear some variation of “y’all:” “Did y’all hear that someone got the ace pot?”
In New England you’ll be treated to any number of uses for the superlative “wicked,” along with some wicked-strange pronunciations: “You want to play where? Bro, that’s wicked-fah…We’ll need to hit the packy (liquor store) on the way outta town.”
Another notable category of not-quite-but-thanks-for-playing responses came from those who thought a phrase was unique to their area, but which was actually commonly used across the country. For example, almost every group that responded included numerous tree puns: Tree-mendous! Tree-nied! Tree-jected! Tree-diculous! Thank you, Treesus! Barked it!
And many clubs who play on courses with steep and treacherous greens have some local variation of the DeLa Roll (see also: “you got DeLa’d”). You might, for instance, get Bailey’d, Beaver’d, Waterwork’d, or experience the dreaded Rankin Roll.
Every club that plays on wooded courses will hear some version of this imperative: Get skinny! Get squeaky! Get greasy! Get sneaky! Any and all manner of commanding that pesky piece of plastic through the woods unscathed, right?
Then there were some that bordered on rude — see: meow (weak throw); ventured into crude – see: premature discjaculation (early release); — and crossed the line into utterly tasteless – see: JFK’d (disc goes through the front of the chains and out the back). I would not deign to repeat such indecency.
So, without further ado…
We finally arrive at the crème de la crème of local disc golf lingo. One thing that surprised me was how few distinctive localisms I received from California. This may owe to the fact that, as one of the original disc golf scenes, much of the Golden State’s language has been adopted by the sport at large. We have already seen, for example, how many clubs have adopted their own version of “DeLa’d.” And most disc golfers around the country refer to the odd man out in doubles by the name “Cali.” One exception to this rule is, of course, Texas, where this player is appropriately known as the “Lonestar.”
Other areas proved a veritable treasure trove of wit-laden delicacies. Charlotte, for example, likes to make it personal by honoring many of its local disc golf legends. One quick way to sound like a Charlotte local is by cursing the course designer by name when you hit a course obstacle: “Eff you, Stan!” Or, you can complain that you’ve been “Neff’d” (in honor of Kyle Neff, this colloquialism occurs when someone remarks at what a good round you are having, and then your round immediately goes to crap). Perhaps the surest sign that you are playing with a Charlotte local is when they inform you that you have just hit the “Billy Tree,” the very first tree on the fairway, in honor of Billy Crump.
Disc golfers in Michigan like to riff on local disc golf manufacturer MVP Disc Sports’ GYRO Overmold Technology. Here, you will find Gyronauts (players who only carry discs from MVP or its colorful offshoot, Axiom Discs) right alongside the Gyronaughts (players who carry no MVP/Axiom). And, you know what they say: “Gybros gonna Gybro.”
But Michigan also brings its fair share of non-referential straight-up witticisms to play. Here, you may get a “scar par” (all 3s on a deuce hole), a “fourgusborg” (all 4s on a card), or a “smash par” (a bogey followed up with a birdie).
Delaware discers have also invented unique ways of describing nearly everything that can go right on the course — “fluffing the pillow” describes a well-placed approach shot — as well as everything that can go wrong. “Discus interruptus,” for example, or “The line was fine, but the height weren’t right.”
In most places they say your attitude will determine your altitude, but in Colorado the altitude is boss. If you think your discs are flying more overstable around the Mile High City, then just try hyzer flipping on one of the 10,000-foot mountain courses. You’ll get plenty of chances to not-hyzer flip your disc at the annual Kiss The Sky tournament in Aspen, where you will have to face a hole — affectionately known as Kiss it Goodbye — where the hyzer bailout zone for a right-handed backhand thrower is a 1000-foot sheer cliff. Good luck with that.
But if you really want to show-off your Colorado bona fides (and this isn’t always easy in a state that features an unruly amount of “CO Native” bumper stickers), then look no further than The Strong Arm, local personal-injury attorney Frank Azar. Did you just crush a high speed driver 100 feet past the pin on a short par 3? “Dang, Frank Azar!”
Now it’s your turn: Comment below with the choicest cuts from your local banter, and help keep conversation going!
Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this article, including the Mile High Disc Golf Club, Bay Area Chain Smokers, Amarillo, TX & Area Disc Golf, Charlotte Area Disc Golf, Madison Disc Golf, Delaware Disc Golf, and many more!