This past weekend was the 2012 Vibram Open at Maple Hill in Leicester, MA. I played the AM tournament nearby at Hylands and Maple Hill, but had the chance to stay at Charlton Woods Camp Ground (a disc golf mecca and MUST SEE destination for years to come!) with a bunch of the touring pros. Having spent just $15 dollars per night for access to a bunk, I had my expectations set low, but an open mind. I definitely got my money’s worth, as I got back to the bunk house Saturday evening to see Double G (Garrett Gurthie) chilling with the guys and shootin’ the shit. Maybe ten minutes after I get back and get settled it occurs to me that the other guy I’ve been talking to (whom Garrett seems to know well) is John E McCray. I knew the name John E McCray as a legitimate pro from Florida who has the skills to beat up on the Champ, Ken Climo, but didn’t know the face.
It was a great weekend of disc golf all around. The AM tournament I played in was well run and exciting, and the player’s pack was generous- but despite all that, I enjoyed the chance just to talk with the touring pros more than actually playing in the tournament (although the chance to play the Gold’s layout Sunday morning before the final men’s/women’s round was amazing!).
Here’s a perfect example- we were all talking about different holes at Maple Hill that Saturday night. One guy asked Double G about deucing hole 17 (a HUGE drive across a ravine an into a narrow gap). Another guy mentioned trying to ace hole 4. This brought up the topic of JohnE’s plan to throw a turbo putt off the tee pad the next day- with a Gateway Demon nonetheless (comparable to a Drone!). Here’s the link to the video I shot. For anyone not quite up to par on disc golf, this is a very unconventional style (some see it as gimmicky, but clearly it’s not!) and is rarely seen on the pro level. It doesn’t seem like a dramatic moment in the clip, but you can definitely sense the unconventional route from the butt-slap JohnE gets from Nate Doss as he walks off the tee pad. McCray ended up throwing another turbo putt approach shot and getting a par 3 for the hole. Simply having the chance to hear him talk firsthand about hitting the same tree two days in a row, and then plan on throwing his disc overhand/turbo style the night before actually doing it made things more exciting.
Later on (as I run the risk of indulging into an all out name dropping article of epic proportions!) I was talking about the turbo putt to a few people, and Gregg Barsby was nearby. He instantly proclaimed that I needed to see this video, of JohnE throwing a turbo putt over 100 feet across a ravine… and then attempted to imitate the look on Barry Schultz’ face as the shot hit chains and fell in.
In any case, I got a few decent clips on my iPhone this weekend (check out my YouTube Channel here) and had a blast. I sunk some really long putts, I missed a few really short ones. I got some pro’s to sign some discs, and watched up close as some of the best disc golfers in the world walked around Maple Hill and executed shot after shot. The 2012 Vibram Open was a great tournament- plain and simple.