Syracuse disc golf knows no seasons

The NewsHouse reporter plays a round with Central New York Disc Golf Association members.

They play in anything except rain. Rain makes for muddy shoes, and worse, muddy frisbees. I mean, discs.

“These are discs, not frisbees," said Eric Trippany, president of the Central New York Disc Golf Association. "Discs are heavier, smaller and flatter.”

To a pro, the distinction between disc and frisbee is as important as the difference between a footbag and a hacky sack: one is for kids; the other is for men.

Photo: Drew Roberts
Gary Crowley, known to his friends as "The Wizard," crouches down for a disc golf shot.

“You don’t throw a disc like a frisbee either,” Trippany said. “You throw it more like you’re whipping a towel. Here, you try.”

I accept the pink plastic pancake from him. Then I whip it. Konk. Straight into a tree. I take out my notepad and refuse to throw again.

The CNYDGA holds disc golf competitions throughout the year. The next is on Feb. 18 at Thornden Park, and open to the public. Today, though, they’re not playing an official game. Today it’s just three guys having fun on a Saturday.

KC Cummings, an electrician from Cicero who’s been playing disc golf along with Trippany since the late 70s, said it’s good training playing in the winter. That way, when the spring hits, and he sheds his layers, he’s that much better—like a swimmer, post-body shave.

But at a mild 40 degrees, today is not the day for that kind of training; Cummings' only layers are a long-sleeve T-shirt and a sweatshirt. 

“I can’t believe we didn't have any snow,” Trippany said.

“Winter’s not over yet, but I like how it started,” said Gary Crowley, who works on the CNYDGA website.

While the past few days of rain and melting snow have made the disc golf course mucky in parts, it’s nonetheless manageable — manageable enough, at least, for these three golfers.

Crowley leans forward for a putt — a close-range toss into a metal basket. He looks statuesque with his right hand out forward, his left hand high in the air and his long hair flowing in the wind.

“We call Gary the wizard, because of the way he stands,” Trippany said, giggling.

Crowley makes the putt.

“Nice deuce, Gary.”

Their timing is impeccable. Ten minutes after the game ends, the rain begins.

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