GMPS Finals 2015

After 12 tournaments and a summer-full of disc golf fun across the great state of Vermont (and New Hampshire) the GMDGC crowned its 2015 champions at the culminating event at Wrightsville Beach DGC on Oct 17.  I dragged my feet on writing this post: “If I don’t write a wrap-up maybe the season isn’t totally, completely, finally OVER??”  Well it is over, and it was awesome.


MPO points leaders in round 1 (aka the calm before the storm): Bailey, Frothy, Young, Habets

Points races across all 7 divisions were very much in play headed into the final event.  With the double-points format allowing for big swings in the standings the season champs would be determined by who could turn in 2 solid rounds “in the clutch.”  In the MPO division things started off slow in round 1: Mike Habets, Jeff Spring and Sean Bleything shared “hot round” of 52 while Jim Bailey and Edwin Bedell carded 53’s.  Habets, Spring, and Bailey could all take the season title with a strong finish and the stage was set for a shootout in round 2.

The lead card featured Bailey (incoming points-leader), prior GMPS MPO champs Spring (2013) and Bleything (2014), and 2013-2014 runner-up Habets.  When play resumed in the afternoon it was Habets who set the tone from the start.  Haunted by the 2 season titles that slipped through his grasp at the last possible moment (Spring and Bleything both leapfrogged him at finals), Habets played with an unmatched determination and focus.  After going 4-3 on the treacherous holes 1 and 2 he nabbed deuces on 3 and 4 to move into the lead.  On hole 6, Habets hit another gear:  he laid down a perfect backhand roller from the tee that arced through the orchard and settled into the putting circle.  He nailed a 25ft’er for a killer deuce (eagle?) while his pursuers struggled to 3s and 4s.  Bailey and Bleything had no answer for Habets’ torrid pace but Spring would mount a valiant charge with a string of 6 straight birdies (holes 8 through 13) before falling off with a bogey on 14 (after a deuce opportunity!)

Going on to deuce 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 16 Mike’s mistake-free golf propelled him to a course-record 46 and the (5-stroke) win that he needed to secure a GMPS championship!  When the final putt fell on 18 Habets was overcome with the gravity of his accomplishment: he had played the best golf of his career in the biggest moment to take the title that eluded him the past two years.  With bookend victories at the season opener (Pinnacle) and closer, Mike overcame a season beset by injury and major life changes (his family welcomed a baby boy this summer!) to capture his first MPO championship.  Habets was immediately surrounded by his competitors offering heartfelt congratulations and mildly-awkward bro-hugs.  Unconfirmed rumors indicate that the city of Newport, NH shut down schools and businesses the following Monday for a ticker-tape parade! 😉  Final MPO standings had Jeff Spring vaulting to 2nd place on the season (nearly winning despite playing only 6 events!) and Jim Bailey dropping to 3rd in his “rookie” season.

Habets was not the only player to lock up a division title with a Wrightsville victory.  Chris Martin did so in MA1 with a 5-stroke win of his own (109 on the day).  With wins at Sap Bucket and Finals and consistent finishes throughout the year Martin bested Nolan Power and Casey Besaw in season points for his first GMPS title.  Of course his trophy count was dwarfed by his carpool-mate Amelia Fotheringham who locked up a season title in FA1 with a Wrightsville win and had already clinched the season series in FA2, both over runner-up Christy Betit.  Amelia’s pair of trophies mocked Chris’ lonely one the whole ride back to Montgomery.  Brian Betit also logged a tourney/season win in MM1 with a strong showing at Wrightsville.  In MPM Collin O’neil was unbeatable on his home course but Anne Lewis capped her strong season with the GMPS title and celebratory “Sandy”-mocking photo shoot.  John Sudarsky coasted to an MPG series win and nearly took the tournament, ceding to Marcos Miller in a playoff. 

The biggest drama on the day was in MA2 where incoming points leaders Andy Powell and Chris Wentzell finished tied with a 106 on the day.  The tourney and season series (we thought) would come down to a playoff.  Wentzell would go on to win but when the dust settled and Dave Frothingham’s abacus stopped clacking it was Powell who left with the season title by a scant 0.3 points (out of 580!!)

Congratulations go out to all the event and GMPS winners.  You can check out full tourney results HERE and final season standings HERE.  Many thanks to Chris Young and Collin O’neil for running an awesome event and Dave Frothingham for a season-worth of points administration.  Can’t wait to do it again next year!


Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 GMPS champions!! CW from top left: Habets (MPO), Sudarsky (MPG), Betit (MM1), Martin (MA1), Fotheringham (FA-everything), Lewis (MPM), and Powell (MA2)

In other news, stay tuned for details on the 2016 GMDGC “Ice Bucket” event.  Last year’s Ice Bowl raised more than $12,000 to feed local families in need.  The event finished 3rd in the nation in money raised, beating out MUCH larger clubs.  Chris “Feel the Bern” Young has grown the event by leaps and bounds each year and now has his sights set on the $13,000 mark.  Mark your calendars for Saturday Jan 30 2016 and come support the cause!

HuckTober Recap

Hey everybody!  I assure you that we didn’t forget about VT disc golf in the month since our last post: its just that we were playing it instead of writing about it!  After an epic few weeks of competiton we’ve got loads of awesome events to cover but first and foremost, this:  mark your calendars for the GMPS Finals: Sat Oct 17 @ Wrightsville Beach.  Chris Young is in charge and he knows how to run a party.  It’s always a shootout at Wrightsville Beach and competition will be heated at the double-points season finale.  With wide open points battles in every division look for current leaders Jim Bailey (MPO), Anne Lewis (MPM), John Sudarsky (MPG), Nolan Power (MA1), Christy Betit (FA1), Brian Betit (MM1), Andy Powell (MA2), and Amelia Fotheringham (FA2) to defend their tenuous advantage in the pursuit of a GMPS championship.   All GMDGC members and VT residents are eligible to play, so get in on the fun before the snow flies!  Now on to the recaps…


Storrs Pond Classic, Sept 12


Once more unto the breach, Dan Walsh.

Spencer Weatherholt and Dan Walsh showcased their Beaulieu-designed baby with one of the best events on the GMPS calendar.  Thanks to their hard work over the past year Storrs is working in beautifully and is one of the most challenging and scenic courses around.  With a weekend of activities including players parties, glow golf, and Grip bag giveaways plus on-site camping the “Classic” was a hit for the 2nd year in a row.  The big winner on the day was Tucker Davis who had a share of the lead after a solid first-round 57 then shot lights out en route to a course-record 52 and his first MPO win!  Congratulations, Tuck!  Full tourney results HERE.

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Tucker Davis and Spencer Weatherholt (NSFW)

Green Mountain Championship @ Smugglers Notch, Sept 18-20

The Green Mountain Championship continued its rapid ascension in the ranks of national-caliber disc golf events, returning for its 3rd year and bumping up to a PDGA A-tier!  Thanks to the outstanding work of TD Jeff Spring and the crew at Brewster Ridge the GMC debuted a 10-hole expansion to Fox Run making it a full 18-hole complement to the original Brewster course.  The courses, competition, amenities and events were universally acclaimed by all in attendance.  Check out this writeup of the event (and Ricky Wysocki’s 3-peat) at PDGA.COM.  Congrats to Sean Bleything, top VT finisher at 26th in a stout regional/national field!


Sunrise walkthrough at Bootleggers Basin / Fox Run. Ryan Metivier makes it look easy!

NEDGC @ Base Camp Outfitters, Sept 26-27

Mike Miller and Base Camp Outfitters played host to the 2-day New England Disc Golf Championships (NEFA Finals) on Sept 26-27.  Miller and GMDGC President Chris Young worked hard to bring the finals to VT and make it an event for players to remember.  Securing event sponsor Two Roads Brewing (‘sup Phil!) gave players handsome payouts in addition to a slew of other amenities.  When it was all said and done, who was crowned the New England Disc Golf Champion?  Our very own CHRIS YOUNG!  Chris turned in the hot round of the day (47) in round 1 and followed it up with a 50 in round 2 to fend off any would-be challengers.  It was a huge win for one of the best and most dedicated promoters of our sport in the region.  Congratulations go out to Chris and also to Tim Tadlock for a stellar TD debut running the AM-side on Saturday!


NEFA PRO divisions winners including THE PREZ (MPO)!

BurkeView VI @ Lyndonville State College, Oct 3

The penultimate GMPS event went off without a hitch this past weekend in beautiful Lyndonville, VT.  Jim Bailey joined course designer Jamie Struck to TD the event that drew 44 players to the bucolic campus.  The first round saw red-hot shooting with a 52 from Edwin Bedell, who decided only last minute to bump up to MPO!  Edwin had a 4-stroke lead on the field but couldn’t fend off Travis Keller, a great player who’s even better on his home course.  After a disappointing (for him) first-round 57, Keller got right to work in round 2 by deucing the first 3 holes and was off to the races.  His 54 in the afternoon was good enough for a 4-stroke margin over Jeff Spring to take MPO and keep the belt in the Northeast Kingdom.


1st-round leader Edwin Bedell shows off his rubber arm in scenic Lyndonville

Casey Tanner ran away with the MA2 division with a 122 on the day while Ross Dunham emerged from a tight MA1 pack to win with a 130.  Congratulations also to Anne Lewis, John Mclaughlin, Tom Shanley, Stefan Farrell, and Christy Fisher for their division wins! (MPM, MPG, MJ1, MA3, and FA2)

It was a beautiful day on a gorgeous course, what more could you ask for!?  Full results are available HERE.

So thats it.  Enjoy some disc golf this Fall while you still can!  And give THIS GUY some props on making a run at the USDGC!  Go Spring!


Jeff Spring shows the kids how its done at BVO.

Storrs Pond Classic


Storrs has elevation changes throughout and some beautiful vistas on the front 9.

The Storrs Pond Classic is coming up fast but it’s not too late to get in on the fun.  TD’s Dan Walsh and Spencer Weatherholt know how to throw a disc golf party.  In addition to Saturday’s NEFA/GMPS tourney players will be treated to a Friday Night pot-luck party and Friday/Saturday glow golf on a 9-hole course set up specifically for the event.  Discounted on-site camping at the beautiful Storrs Pond Rec area make this an ideal disc golf weekend.  Last year was the first GMPS event at the brand-new course and the local club has busted their butts since then putting polish on this epic track.  The weather promises to be 75deg and sunny for perfect post-round swimming conditions.  Time is running out for scoring GMPS and NEFA points so don’t miss your opportunity to make your move in 2015!

Pre-reg closes at midnight Wednesday so do yourself (and your TD’s) a favor and sign up now:

glow hole 1

Here’s the look from tee to basket on hole 1 of the temp glow course!

Beach Party Recap


Greg Haskins cans his putt on scenic hole 14

I’ll keep this post short and sweet like the course it pays homage to.  Located minutes from Montpelier, Wrightsville Beach is one of the most popular courses in VT: a fun track in a beautiful, family-friendly waterfront park that engages players of all skill levels.  The well-attended (65 entrants) GMPS/NEFA event on August 22nd captured a good cross section of players from local beginners to GMPS regulars to traveling pros.  We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day by the lake!


TCONN clinched MPO with a stout 2nd round including this drive on 17.

Jim Bailey shot the hot round of the day (48) in the morning but ceded to Travis Connolly for the MPO win with a solid 49/51.  It was the third time this year that Connolly/Bailey finished 1 and 2.  One of them is pleased with this trend…  Notably absent was Mike Habets who won the event in 2014 with a blazing 49/47 performance, setting the course record in the process (as did Dave Frothingham).  Mike welcomed a baby boy to his family days before the event – we’ll go ahead and pencil in little Habets for an MA1 championship in 2025 or so.  Elsewhere on the leaderboard co-TD and Wrightsville homer Collin O’neil beat Anne Lewis with a 112 in MPM and Davis Johnson took down a robust MPG field of 8 players!  On a side note, what do the veterans of the Pro Grandmasters division do to amuse themselves after 2 full rounds of disc golf in the summer sun while waiting for awards/payouts?  They play catch with a disc, of course!  Watching Davis Johnson, Rick Williams, and Steve Hartwell toss it around as if they were on recess was a cool reminder of the ageless joy of disc sports.


Chris Young and his caddy (who basically walked the course doing a continuous cartwheel).

Nolan Power nabbed a critical victory in MA1 over Will Gilbert and Casey Besaw to make a charge up the GMPS standings.  Consistency was key for Gary Whalen who played a rock-solid 54/54 to win in MA2.  Whalen edged out Billy Haddock and Chris Wentzell in the deepest division of the day en route to his first GMPS win!  Brian Betit notched a win via playoff over James Sestokas in MM1 while Gary Vigue took MG1.  On the ladies side Joy Hartwell took FPO with a 132 on the day, Dana Dwinell-Yardley won FA1 with a 126 and Amelia Fotheringham bested Christy Betit with a 120 to take FA2.


Gary Whalen collects his first GMPS win!

Last but certainly not least, the guys  who had the most fun were the trio of Juniors in MJ2:  Tom Shanley, Cameron Kinsell, and James Hickman (in order of finish).  These kids can play and in addition to putting up good scores they cleaned up in “CTP-palooza” and took ⅔ of the distance contest pot as well!  Who needs to open a lemonade stand when you can hock tourney prizes to Ben Dowdy?


Cam and Greg enjoy some father-son time at the Beach.

Thanks and Congratulations to Collin O’Neil for this gem of a course and Dave Frothingham for running another clockwork event.  Full results are available ON THE FORUM.

Whats next?
Registration is open for the 2nd Storrs Pond Classic on Saturday, Sept 12.  Aside from semantic issues with something that’s happened once before being called a “classic” I have to say that this course and tourney is a personal favorite of mine.  The Storrs Pond Recreation area is an ideal location for a disc golf event:  like Wrightsville with overnight camping!  Saturday’s tourney will be bookended by glow golf and players parties.  TD’s Spencer Weatherholt, Dan Walsh and friends have put in a full year of course work since Storrs opened for play in 2014 and they’re looking forward to showing off their efforts on this beautiful Beaulieu-designed track.  Don’t wait, JOIN THE PARTY today!

North Calais and Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach Open

The Wrightsville Beach Open is upon us!  It’s one of the most fun tracks on the schedule, offering challenging deuce-or-die golf in a beautiful lakeside park.  Wrightsville has a special place in MY heart as I played my first disc golf tournament there in 2013 and hide there frequently when visiting my in-laws in Middlesex.  Here’s what co-TD Collin O’neil has to say about the event:

“The 6th annual Wrightsville Beach Disc Golf Tournament is this Saturday, August 22nd. This is a NEFA & GMPS points event.  In addition to all the standard payouts & prizes, Wrightsville continues its CTP-Palooza tradition with a CTP in play to all on every fairway.  The weather forecast for Saturday looks great. I hope you’ll join us at the Beach for another day of fun Disc Golf competition.”

Thanks, Paddy.  Register here and hit the beach!

North Calais Maple Extravaganza

The renowned North Calais DGC is a special place and its annual GMPS event is appointment-disc-golf for good reason.  The private track just up the hill from #10 Pond celebrated its 25th year of operation in 2015 (oldest in VT.)  Under owner Paul Olander’s careful stewardship NC has evolved into a 7832’ par 65 beast that challenges every aspect of the modern game while preserving a unique throwback appeal.  With foot traffic limited to workdays and “monthlies” the beautiful property remains pristine.  The 18 rare “Taj Mahole” targets employed at the course are works of industrial art that catch amazingly well, especially for serial “band-bangers” like myself.  The course layout makes excellent use of length, elevation, OB and tough greens to present risk/reward tradeoffs on every hole.  One wrong move and you may need to take advantage of the communal wader boots hanging on hole 6!  Par is a very good score at North Calais and when Paul catches wind of a hole playing “too easy” chances are it will be remedied by next season.  According to Statmaster General Sean Bleything only 2 of 18 holes had scoring averages under par in 2014 (incl all divisions) and 5 of 18 averaged a full stroke over par!


Sean Bleything crushes his hole-6 drive over OB all the way for a deuce-look

56 competitors converged on NCDGC Saturday 8/8 to play for pride and syrup at the North Calais Maple Extravaganza.  The conditions were as sweet as the payouts with mild temperatures and a light breeze setting up some strong competition (full results here).  At the end of the day Jon Moorer toyed with his 14 MA1 opponents (incl #2 Josh Wedel and #3 Ross Dunham) before pulling away to a 9-stroke lead for his 3rd GMPS victory of the year (in 4 attempts).  Anne Lewis formally requested that Dan Desch* and Dave Carter’s** 1-2 finish in MPM be denoted with asterisks because they were too old or too young (or somehow both) and relegated her to an uncharacteristic 3rd place finish.  Dan’s “fairway golf” approach and deep knowledge of his home course led him to the 2nd-lowest score for the tournament with a 131 from Golds.  Will Gilbert took a tight race in MA2 besting Clayton Davis by 1 stroke while Chris Wentzell (who aced 15 for the coveted warm Budweiser) was 2 more behind.  The payout is better, Chris, if you remember to enter the ace pot!  Dan Griffiths had a convincing victory over Todd Sternbach  and John Sudarsky in a 7-player MPG field.  Amelia Fotheringham notched another FA2 victor while Abraham Beningson (whose impressive beard makes him look Masters-eligible) made it back-to-back wins at North Calais in the Juniors division!

In the MPO division Jim Bailey (yours truly) pulled out a victory after pacing the field with a 1st round 63 and holding on with a 66 in the afternoon.  My goal all day was to play “boring golf:” keep it in the fairway and avoid bogies like the plague.  With the benefit of some lucky breaks and in spite of a few lapses (from the tee and on the putting green), it payed off.  It was a joy to score my first GMPS win in MPO and a humbling experience to do it alongside players that I like and respect so much.  For example, the North Calais MPO lead card featured the top 3 finishers in 2014 GMPS points (Bleything, Habets, Young) and myself.  For the uninitiated, a little bit about them:

  • “The Prez”, Chris Young is the heart-and-soul of the GMDGC and his tireless efforts to advance the club too often go unheralded.  Also he’s been throwing the same Innova Beasts since the Clinton administration (with great success!)
  • Sean Bleything, despite being a statistics zealot (he’s entered thousands of hole scores for THIS COOL PROJECT), is so charismatic that he convinced Paul Olander to pick up a pole saw and walk out with him for some fairway adjustment BETWEEN ROUNDS!
  • Mike Habets, in the midst of a breakout season one year ago, duelled Sean to an outstanding win at North Calais by going 63/60 and beating his own course record in the process.

MPO lead card left to right: Bleything, Bailey, Habets, Young, Olander’s thumb

This year I had the good fortune of being carded with Habets in round 1.  I quickly learned that he was not himself after having suffered a fractured rib less than 2 days prior (taking a come-backer to the side in a softball game.)   He was playing in obvious pain and on very little rest.  Without the luxury of taking a full breath he made his way gingerly around the steeply up-and-down course.  Unable to keep the blistering scoring pace he set last year, Habets adjusted his gameplan to be as effective as he could given the circumstances and carded a solid first-round 65 to land on the lead card.  I played with Mike both rounds and picked his brain all over the course (who better to ask than the guy with the 2 most recent CR’s?)  All day he was helpful and generous in his responses and relentlessly supportive to his cardmates even as he labored.  You might question his decision to play but Mike’s attitude and performance Saturday were exemplary and I look forward to his healthy return at Storrs!


TD’s Dave Carter and Paul Olander. Thank you, NCDGA!

In closing, how about a big round of internet applause for TD’s Dave Carter and Paul Olander for a top-notch event and especially to their NCDGA cohorts for bringing the course to pristine condition after a devastating winter.  This small band of brothers put in hundreds of hours in cleanup, hauling and burning SIXTY TRUCKLOADS of brush and branches in the process!  Great job, gentlemen…