Pro Worlds Notebook: View From The Chase Card

Sights and sounds from day three at Fox Run Meadows

Players gather near the pro shop during round three at Smugglers’ Notch. Photo: Alyssa Van Lanen – PDGA

JEFFERSONVILLE, Verm. — You really have to marvel at the disc golf complex Smugglers’ Notch has created.

They obviously had a head start with the resort on the property, but the amount of infrastructure that exists on the Fox Run Meadows and Brewster Ridge courses is impressive. Coming from an area where maintenance is a volunteer thing, seeing the possibilities when there are dedicated resources going into a property is inspiring.

Even before you arrive at tournament central, you can take in the benefits of the symbiotic relationship of the disc golf center and vacation rentals. Staying in the Smuggs condos on the property, I was able to call a shuttle to pick me up and take me directly to the course. I was joined on my shuttle by a spectating couple from Pennsylvania in town to watch some of their locals pros and compatriots.

Instead of taking the shuttle to the pro shop, we used the stop at hole 4 on Fox Run, as we were faced with sharing the bus with 20 or so elementary school students who had come up the mountain to take in some of the Pro Worlds action. In fact, there were dozens of students out on the courses early Friday, a nice sight to see. Being a true believer in the importance of starting kids early to #growthesport, I like the idea of having local schools making a field trip when they’re nearby a big event.

PDGA School Kids Photo

I popped around a couple cards on holes 5 through 11 before picking up Jeremy Koling, Grady Shue, Dustin Keegan, and Dutch Napier’s group on 12 to follow back across the road before cutting over to the clubhouse.

Open cards were starting to finish up and several Open Women’s players were still milling about on the patio outside the pro shop, including leader Paige Bjerkaas who was still glowing from her position and generally enjoying life and hanging with her parents.

The only criticism I can see so far of the set-up for Worlds is the lack of a true warm-up area for the players, something that has already been pointed out. Cale Leiviska was practicing upshots in the narrow strips of grass around the pro shop before his round.

I hung out near the first tee for the last couple of cards as a crowd gathered to follow the lead card of Paul McBeth, Paul Ulibarri, James Conrad, and Gregg Barsby. I took off ahead of that crowd to see what kind of moves were being made, settling on the chase with Josh Anthon, Barry Schultz, Andrew Presnell, and Martin Hendel as Anthon was working his way toward the lead card scores.

And here’s where I have to say, considering the size of the gallery on a Friday following McBeth and company, I was let down by the lack of support on others, outside of the third card featuring Ricky Wysocki, whose family alone is a gallery. I was one of maybe four to five people at a time walking along. Rebecca Cox was one of the spectators along with me.

I chatted with Brent a bit: he was running the UDisc Live scoring for the card. He’s run it for several rounds in the past and was obviously a big follower of the pro scene. Brent was always quick to offer up some on-the-spot analysis, and it was usually right on target.

Josh Anthon

Watching Anthon put up a hot round and Schultz navigate the course is a different experience than following some of the younger pros. Neither has 500-foot hyzer power — their power is just fine, I’m not saying that — but the lines the guys take are what I would take, simply executed to a degree I can’t even pretend to comprehend.

I got to watch the drama of the lead card’s 18th hole unfold from prime viewing position at tournament central. Afterward trying to catch-up with Barsby, it was hard to get a word in edgewise with the Barsby fans coming by showering him with gifts and praise.

With the ease of the shuttle system and FallFest at Smuggs lingering, the area cleared out within 15 minutes of the MPO cards finishing. While hanging out as Charlie and Jamie recorded the Upshot on the patio, fellow reporter Daniel Prentice and I trekked up the fairway on Fox Run 18 to play it a couple times through. One round included Patrick Brown and Ron Convers joining us and showing how to actually play disc golf correctly.

Back at the resort, there was a quick walkthrough of the festival. If you ever wanted to hang out and chat with a pro, that was the scene. Besides the normal Fly Mart happenings, the bands playing were actually great and with many of the players staying on the property, it was an easy way for everyone in attendance to unwind before what will be an eventful moving day.

  1. Bennett Wineka
    Bennett Wineka

    Benn started playing disc golf in the '90s but has somehow never gotten any better. He lives in Decatur, Georgia and cares too much about Atlanta United and UNC basketball. Follow him on Instagram at @bennwineka if you never want to see any new posts.

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