2011 Southwestern Team Disc Golf Invitational

This year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Team Tourney here in SD. It’s really our 31st as we didn’t have a perpetual trophy the first year (1981) but there are now 30 names of winners on the perpetual trophy so we’ll call it the 30th. Not playing this year due to shoulder surgery last summer allowed me to focus on just being tourney director. As such it was maybe the most fun Team Tourney I can remember. We made a big deal out of the “Spirit of the Event” award this year . Shane Dehner of Voodoo Golf Discs donated 12 high end custom golf bags to the team winning the spirit award. To that we added a 4 pack of Green Flash Brewery’s finest, and $100 worth of donated plastic from the disc sponsors Innova Champion, DGA, Discraft and Legacy Discs. Retail value over $250 per player.Considering 1st place is $250 cash per player plus some plastic the Spirit Award was a huge bonus. Rocky Mountain was invited this year and the team collapsed the final week before arriving here so for the 3rd year in the last 4 a second San Diego team was cobbled together at the last minute. All the team’s names are displayed on different color poster boards. Since Rocky Mountains names were displayed on a pink board they adopted the color to show their team spirit. All the team players either wore pink hats, pink socks or had pink tassles hanging from their hair. It was hilarious. They also howled whenever they won a point (not much howling). It made for a difficult decision for the staff to pick a clear winner for the Spirit Award. But Santa Cruz eventually prevailed. They were led by the reigning world champion Nate Doss and former world champion Avery Jenkins. They do such a good job corralling their team mates for pre tourney calisthenics and team cheers, all done in a group circle.  Also they all have matching team shirts they supply themselves. They do everything as a team unit.  We ran a new event this year right after lunch on Saturday. Our new logo is a picture of an ace occurring on the mound hole at 15. All the #1 players from each team were invited to throw 2 throws for a $100 prize if they could hit the ace. Nate’s team all roared and cheered when he was introduced as the Great Nate. And Nate didn’t disappoint. He threw a perfect line drive with a putter right at the basket only to dip below at the last second just as it got there.  But his team howled and roared their support for his awesome effort. For the first time in several years we had a great lunch for the players. . My son Alex co-owns California Kebab Restaurant and catered the event.  The response from the players was overwhelmingly positive. There was plenty of chicken, lamb, pita bread, hummus, several salads and several kinds of sauce to put on it. It made for a delicious feast.

Another first at this event, San Diego’s disc golf team was nearly out of contention by the end of day 1.  There were 3 teams ahead of San Diego with 4-1 records when the dust settled Saturday night.. San Diego was tied with Arizona at 3-2. Sunday morning pits all the top seeded teams against each other. So at that point San Diego still had control of their own fate. Arizona stepped up to the plate and won both of their matches Sunday giving them a 5-2 record.  Having beaten head to head the other 2 teams finishing at 5-2 they moved onto the finals against 6-1 Huntington Beach.  San Diego went out with a whimper losing both Sunday matches to end in a (3-4) tie with Sylmar who beat them head to head so they fell to an inglorious 6th place.  So much for home court advantage. Truth be told most of the teams playing have many repeat players and the teams have finally reached parity having played here so much. Many matches come down to just 1 or two putts between a team winning or losing. I think the positive influence of team camaraderie makes the team stronger  than the some of the individual parts.  I didn’t see or hear much swagger or trash talk this year. There were no fights or any other altercations as everyone wanted to win the Spirit Award. There seemed to be more smiles on faces and laughter in the air. It seemed like everyone was on their warm and fuzzy best behavior this weekend and it seemed their positive attitudes paid them dividends.

I can’t remember ever in the past so many players coming up afterward and thanking staff and telling us this is their very favorite tourney of the year. Even a number of tour guys stopped by to encourage us to never stop running this event as they always look forward to coming to Morley Field every December.

I’ve always felt the good karma this event creates in the Disc World makes losing a weekend’s revenues seem like a minor inconvenience. This year that was especially true.

Finally, I’d like to thank our new sponsors this year; Voodoo Disc Golf (Shane and Niki Dehner), Legacy Discs(Steve and Bamba Rico), Green Flash Brewery(Chuck Silva), and California Kebab Restaurant(Alex Pierson). Also thanks to our continuing sponsors Hamiliton’s Tavern, North Park Trophy, Innova Champion Discs, DGA,  and Discraft Discs.

Staff was awesome as always. Mac on scorecards, Eric and EJ Simmons doing all the heavy lifting, Daniel Vega and Oscar Garcia, and Chris Cullen were spotters. All my guys in the shop had a hand in tourney prep work…big thanks to all of you.

Till next year…

Z ya