While disc golfing last Sunday, I learned of a brand new course at a church in Royal Palm Beach, which is way west of West Palm Beach. So after going to work for a couple hours on Saturday, I headed northwest to add another course to my ever-growing list. I first stopped at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm, where I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and not-so-quiet planes flying above, as it is located right next to the international airport. I then made my way further northwest to Royal Palm Beach, where I found the Community Of Hope Church and course. I was able to locate all 9 baskets but there were no teepads. I was rather disappointed at this as I had to make up my own tees and it kept me from playing a a second round at this otherwise intriguing course. The hungry mosquitos didn’t help either. Familar with the Royal Palm Beach area due to a couple earlier excursions, I then went to the Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area, where I hiked for a bit until I hit the flooded areas. As threatening skies started to approach, I started heading back south, hoping to stop by a few more places but the rains kept me driving til I reached home on a fun but shortened day.
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I tried a new sport this Saturday that I’ve never really thought about, but thoroughly enjoyed – croquet (for those who think I’m talking about knitting, that would be crochet, which I have yet to try and have no immediate plans for either, although the thought does sound enticing). A couple really good friends of mine just became members of the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach (the largest center in the world), and invited me to join them for the free Saturday morning lesson. It was much harder and funner than I thought it’d be, and I was amazed at how much strategy was involved. My two friends teamed up against a fellow lesson-taker and myself. We lost the first match rather handedly, but we came back in the second match. We then enjoyed a nice lunch and the A/C at the center. After we returned to their place in Boynton Beach, I headed just down the road to the Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands.
After a fun walk along the 1.5 mile boardwalk, I drove just east to Delray Beach to the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, where I hiked along the 3/4 mile boardwalk. I then headed to southwest Delray Beach, where I took in another hike along the Cypress Swamp Boardwalk at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. This is the third time I’ve been here, and both this time and last time included a bee sting. At least, this one was on my calf and not above my eye! Since I was out this way, I drove next to West Delray Regional Park, where there has been rumor of a disc golf course going in here in the future. Threatening skies, though, made my visit brief, and I ended up driving in the driving rain all the way home.
Sunday was spent up north in Fort Pierce and Jupiter playing different disc golf courses within the area. My friend Steve and I first went to the St. Lucie Village Heritage Park in Ft. Pierce, where we played a couple rounds at one of the worst disc golf courses in Florida. I have only played here once before, and this will probably be the last time I ever play here, as this park has the strangest baskets I’ve ever seen. Instead of a metal basket with chains, the ”basket’ looks like a football goalpost with a top portion, with pieces of rope with a lugnut at the end hanging from the top. All the pieces of rope on all 9 baskets have since been knocked off. We then hit the ‘real’ Ft. Pierce course, where we got in another 3 rounds at this super-fun course. Next up was an old church course in Jupiter that may actually be even worse than the St. Lucie Village course. Matter of fact, we didn’t even bother playing it. We then played a round at the course on the FAU Jupiter campus. Our next course was at the recently-renovated 9-holer at PGA National Park in West Palm Beach. Though not as big and monstrous as the original layout, it was still fun to play and great to know that it’s back in the ground. Our last stop was at Freedom Park in Greenacres, which is supposed to be the next new course in south Florida. We were hoping that the course was already put in, but not yet. But still, another fun traveling disc-golf day.
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A couple disc golf buddies, Steve and Ken, and I were planning to go play the 1-day disc golf tournament at Maximo Park in St. Petersburg this past Saturday. But after a few phone calls Friday night, we decided to skip the 4-hour drive and instead play the 2-hours-away North Fort Myers tourney at North Fort Myers Community Park. Hoping for a good turnout, only 11 players showed up. Since I was the only one in the Advanced division, the tournament director asked if I wanted to move down to the Intermediate division. I knew better since I had just won my first tourney as a pro a month ago at my home course. But when I saw that a fellow East Coaster was also bagging, I moved down with the only goal in mind to beat him.
After a shaky first round, I was 2 strokes back and in third place. Since this was such a casual tourney, I had nothing to lose, which was the perfect attitude to have as my second round was the best round I’ve had at this course, in which I shot a bogey-free 8 under. I won my second tournament in as many months, and I accomplished my goal of beating my fellow bagger by 4 strokes, Since the turnout was so low, so was the payout – I won a disc! But I also won a CTP (closet to the pin), which netted me a shirt and a fun disc golf card game called RipT. Overall, a fun and successful day of golf, as Steve beat Ken and the three other pro players.
As we drove back in the rain, the three of us agreed we made the right choice as far as the traveling portion went. The drive back wasn’t nearly as bad as it would’ve been from St. Pete.
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Since my birthday was this weekend, I decided to enjoy it the only way I know how…by traveling. So my friend Steve and I hit the road around 5 early Saturday morning as we began our trek up north. After a 5-hour drive, we arrived at our first destination – the new disc golf course in Green Cove Springs, which is about 45 minutes west of St. Augustine. We got majorly lost trying to find the course, but eventually found it and played three rounds at this fun 18-holer at the park named after Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant. We then headed east to St. Augustine, where we went up in the St. Augustine lighthouse. I’ve been in this lighthouse the most of any lighthouse, but this was Steve’s first time in one. He seemed to be pretty impressed with the view from the top of the 1871 165-feet-tall black-and-white building. We then drove south along the beach towards . where we enjoyed a nice lunch at a beachside restaurant. After checking into a hotel in Daytona, Steve took a nap, while I walked along the beach and spent the evening hanging out on the famous boardwalk.
We started off Sunday morning the same way we did on Saturday…by playing disc golf. The first course of the day was Tuscawilla Park, which is my favorite course in Florida. After the round, we learned of a brand new course just up the road, so we headed to Holly Hill to play the Holly Land Park course. This fun 9-hole course plays in 2 different parks, with the last 7 holes at Centennial Park. We then drove a bit south to play Reed Canal Park in South Daytona. Steve and I have played a ton of disc golf together, but he has the only hole-in-one between us during all those rounds. Well, now he has 2, as he got another one during our first round there. I was all over the basket during our 2 rounds there, but was only able to hit metal a couple times. Our next stop was another lighthouse – this time, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. Only my third time in this one, this is Florida’s tallest lighthouse at 175 feet high. Built in 1887, there are also quite a few buildings on the ground documenting the lighthouse’s history, including how the Daytona 500 used to be raced on the beach back in the 40′s and 50′s before being moved to its current location. We ended our whirlwind disc golf-lighthouse trip with one last round at F. Burton Smith Park in Cocoa. It was a great weekend, and a fun way to ring in another b-day.
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