...And we're back!!
The Flickline Tour is back on North American soil with our longest running annual event: the Sackville Showdown, a.k.a the Bagtown B-tier. This year's event was (almost) everything you could hope for at a Beech Hill event: there was wind, trees, good kicks, bad kicks, and an ace for every finger on your throwing hand. The only thing missing were fireside chats at Duncan's house....
For those of your who might not know, the course at Beech Hill was the first public course Flickline ever created. It also overlooks the Tantramar marsh where the very first disc golf course baskets were ever installed (2007). It is as close to the birth place of Maritime disc golf as you are going to find. As early as 2009 we have been building some form of temporary course in this sprawling park space. This former campground is the dream mix of woods and mowed grass land. The landscape just begs for fun disc golf holes and, despite it being in the ground permanently since 2015, very little has changed on the original layout. Sackville is a wonderful blend of 6 wooded holes, 6 open holes, and 6 holes that are tougher than you would like them to be. Anyone can shoot par; most people don't. Still, there is something very wonderful about the make-up of this course that keeps people coming back. This year, they were back in full force, with a complete sellout of 121 people for the event.
We had always knew the day would come when sellouts would be a thing, and here we are! Our years of planning paid off as the entrance and warm up area for the event seemed to fit the mood. We finally got ourselves some sound equipment to pump up the jam before your throws, and to amplify Luc's official call in and announcement for each player. Our good friends Chain Reaction were by our side with their sweet set up of disc and disc-related goodies and the new and improved Tiny Changes Connect Fore was on hand in both the original and now macro sizes! With each event Flickline hopes to get closer and closer to that festival feel where we take time to come together and celebrate disc golf. I think it is fair to say we are getting closer every time.
As for the tournament set up and play itself, it was your standard Sackville layout with minimal OB added and all the circles chalked into the ground (Ben's favourite). We are only weeks away from setting up the permanent tee pads on the course, so it looks like this will be the last official event on the classic layout. Whatever comes next will try to honour the spirit of this layout with a few modifications to better suit the locations of concrete tee pads. This year, we had a healthy ace pot ($435) plus a new feature we are calling the "Island Ace", where a $1 per person from the event goes in and everyone is automatically entered into a separate ace pot with credit to a specific company. Toplink chose to be the inaugural sponsor, and our long-time friend Chris Fudge smashed an ace in round two on the island to claim $121 credit. He was one of 5 total aces on the course, the most we have ever had during an event.
When people weren't chasing aces, they were trying to manage the course and it's always changing conditions. Sackville is windy over 300 days per year, and this weekend accounted for two of those days. Somehow, the Open cards, despite being filled with better rated players than ever before, shot overall worse than they ever have. There were many great rounds and great shots, but overall it seemed bad kicks and tough holes got everyone at least once in this event. It didn't matter what the overall scores were: each division was competitive, and that is what makes it fun. To start with, we had a junior division with five different kids and all three Maritime provinces represented. CDT's own Aiden Gallant earned a wire-to-wire victory over Peyton Dowe who had a career-best tournament average. Dylan Wood claimed third which gives him equal bragging rights with his father, who also earned a third-place finish in MA50.
Our Mixed Am 50 division has been growing steadily for the last few years, and now boasts double-digit members. Alan Gallant bested Donny Desroches to claim first and second, respectively. Blake Reynolds won MA40 over Mitch Murphy. Misha Leach held off Maria Dunham to get the win in FA2. Christian Leger came out on top of a very crowded and competitive MA2 that saw a tie for second place between Josh Penny and Dwayne Crawford. FA1 saw a wire-to-wire win from Nicole Kading. In MP40, we saw a huge comeback win between two of our favourite disc golfers. Newfoundland's Darrell Chipp came out on top over Greg Ericson, making his ferry ride back to the Rock that much better. In MPO, Pierre Landry won on the first playoff hole over fellow fore-hander Chris Richard. We realize that simply listing the winners of each division does not necessarily give them the credit they are due. We would love to be able to tell you all about how each round felt, the ups and downs and the clutch shots that each player had to perform to persist, but as it is right now, all of the people in Flickline are still playing the events themselves or contributing to the whole. What we would love to share with you is how each on of these events feels and to give you a small sample of what we are trying to accomplish when we host these events.
You might notice there is one division missing from our list above, and that is MA1. It might be safe to say that, for the first time ever at a Flickline event, it was this division that really grabbed everyone's attention. At the start of the second round, it was three junior-aged players in MA1 that lead the entire tournament: PEI's Oliver Murphy, NB's Antoni Richard, and NS's Dylan Goudy. We have always felt like it was a testament to both disc golfers in general, and the Atlantic Canadians who populate our events in specific, that when that card of players stepped up to tee off on round 2 there was an overall feeling of pride. Most every disc golfer took joy in knowing how bright our future was. The fact that each province was represented by a kind, keen, and skilled junior player makes us all feel like our game is on the right path. During that second round, something incredible happened: Dylan Goudy shot the second-highest rated round by an East Coaster in history. It was a blistering -10 (with 2 bogies!!), it is the official course record at Sackville, one shot better than Dustin Keegan's 46 in 2019. After the round finished, it caused a ripple through the entire event. We have written about it before and we will certainly write about it again, but what we are seeing right now is something special. Lost in all of this is the fact that Antoni Richard lost by 8 strokes in this division, but still played well enough that he would have been tied for first place in Open. In the long run, having these kids play so well will help them keep the level of play high. There was brief moment at the start of the third round when this lead card was teeing up that it seemed like everyone who was close to tee one stopped and came to lay their eyes on what was happening. For all of these reasons, that moment felt different than everything else.
There were lots of other moments that we would love to share with you. At least three different father-son combos took part in this event. We can see how disc golf is becoming a generational experience now. It is wonderful to see families share in this pursuit. The age range of our players is growing, too: we have juniors as young as 13 and seniors as old as 70. We had 15 women play in this event, and although that is lower than our target of 20%, it is still a number we are happy to see grow. We had one very pregnant spectator walk all three rounds, so that has to count for something! We also have lots of people doing fun side events during our tour stops, like Anthony Skerry making these fun videos. All of these things are moments of joy we love to experience.
We are not perfect, and for various reasons, this off-season was the most mentally draining one yet, but it is important to celebrate just how far we have come, and how amazing our entire collection of people are when you see an event like this run so smoothly. A huge thank you has to go out to all the people who now contribute to the Flickline team. There is a solid crew of people quietly making things happen behind the scenes. You don't often see them, or see what they do, but, without them, we could not pull off such amazing feats. Thank you to each and every one of you who do what you do.
Next up is Rose Valley and the start of the new DGPT layout. We will be playing a modified course there with different layouts for different divisions. Come get a sneak peak of what will be featured for our big event later in September.
Thank you again for being a part of this. Remember: the goal is to throw a little and have a lot of fun!