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The 2017 Crane Hill Open (Pro Side)

By Pete Charron

Woo! What a fun weekend. Jeff, Carli and I are officially through this year’s open and it feels amazing. What a great display of disc golf at our favorite course. As predicted in the previous post, Bobby C, Craig Cutler and Matt Berube were logjammed at the top of the leaderboard through two rounds. They were able to weather a charge from a couple of Maine boys, Cooper Legee and Tyler Grady. Cooper was consistent on the day shooting a 993 first round and a 1011 second. It took Grady a full round to warm up, shooting a 935 first round but came on HOT with a 1048, course record round of 49 on the B layout.

This was our 6th year hosting the Crane Hill Open and it was the third time(!) that the MPO division was decided by playoff. This year, unlike the epic playoff between Jason Dore and Chris Scofield in 2014, it took only one hole for Bobby C to best both Cuts and Berube for the top prize. Cutler led off the playoff with a drive to Hole 1 (B) and turned his drive over towards the A pin. Clearly upset with his effort, Cutler had to look on as two premier talents had an opportunity to park the hole and end it. Bobby was up next and just as he thwarted Team Crane’s hopes in a 2015 playoff, he put himself inside the circle to the B basket standing 370 feet away. The bar had been set and although Matt shows poise and incredible talent for somebody just getting out of high school he was unable to match Bobby’s effort. Matt’s drive sailed long past the A basket, leaving a difficult approach through rough. Bobby canned his 25′ putt and the playoff was over just minutes after it started.

In the FPO division Erica Johnson earned her third Crane Hill Open Championship. She is the first professional player to do that. Erica was propelled primarily by her 945 rated 52 first round. The second round found Erica shooting a 66 along with 2nd place finisher Carli Bennett, putting up a solid 892 rated round.

2005 Masters World Champion Dean Tannock graced the Crane Hill Open this year. He is the second World Champion to play the Open, next to Sarah Cunningham who came out in 2013. Dean, however, was usurped by Scott Howard’s strong second round. Scoward took the division by one stroke earning a solid paycheck for his day’s work.

The Grandmaster division was won by Karl Molitoris who showed up the morning of the tournament with hopes of getting in. Karl has been a dominant force in the sport for years now although he has come under fire by some for his division hopping. Karl has a unique perspective on the sport, not believing in playing for money, so he only competes for merchandise and likely always will only compete for that. Kevin Lane was the runner up and Paul Sullivan took third place in a division that saw some true legends of disc golf. Davis Johnson and Steve Hartwell were long time innovators of this sport and it was our pleasure to play host to them.

Another year up and another year down. We can’t wait to see you at next year’s Crane Hill Open!

Crane Hill Open on the Horizon

By Pete Charron

We’re only days away from the 6th Annual Crane Hill Open! 6 years! It blows my mind sometimes thinking of the amount of time that has elapsed since we started Pure Flight. The Crane Hill Open has always been a fun event to run and each Open has raised significant money for the course which has allowed Crane Hill to grow each year. That reward is secondary to hosting some of the best peeps in disc golf for a weekend at our home course. This year signifies something a little more special though as Team Crane can take extra pride in the showcase of their course, being the home of the 2016-17 Team Challenge Champions.

Here’s the stories we’re most interested in this weekend. Craig Cutler has played the Crane Hill Open twice and each time he’s walked away the champion. He attended the first event in 2012 and the fifth annual last year. He will be making another appearance again and if he wins, we might know what our custom stamp disc is for next year (a bust of Cuts). Craig is the only 2 time winner of the event in Open and if the registration stays as it is, he may still be the only multiple year winner as past champions, Jay Bayer, Jason Dore and Kyle Moriarty are not currently registered.

Will this be the year for Berube to eclipse Cuts and the field and take home the win? He narrowly missed this title last year, posting 1017 and 1040 rated rounds to fall one stroke short. His Latitude sponsored brother, Sam Henderson, has grown into a top New England pro and should be in the thick of it for the title. Of course the polarizing Mcbeth killer, Bobby C, has a great chance to earn his first Crane Hill Open title. It may just be extra sweet for Bobby to win and exact some revenge on Crane Hill after this past year of Team Challenge.

My favorite to win though is of course the local boys. I’ll be looking for any number of Team Crane guys to be at the top of the leaderboard. It would be something special for one of these guys to be crowned the Open Champ. Look out for Howie and Cam at the top although it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Pure Flight’s own Jeff Fleury or Tous, Phaneuf, Nate, Micah, Pennington, any of these guys and more gave a run at the title.

On the women’s side we have two 2x chammpions in Erica Johnson and Wendy Boutin. Both are registered and ready to stake their claim as the first 3x champion. Can Carli or Cheneille prevent either of these two top New England pros or will we indeed crown a 3x ladies’ champ?

I’m as excited as ever to play host to this event. I will see you out on the course 🙂

Workday at Northampton DGC

Tomorrow from 9am-12pm there will be a workday at the disc golf course in Northampton. If you enjoy playing the course please come out with a pair of work gloves and any hand tools you might have, to lend a hand! Our local public courses get installed and are maintained by a fantastic network of volunteers (most times) so pay back your love for disc golf in the form of some service!

We will all likely be playing a random doubles round after the workday. We hope to see you there!

3rd Annual Pioneer Valley Classic Registration is Open

Pure Flight will host its third annual Pioneer Valley Classic on April 16th this year. It will be a PDGA C Tier and NEFA sanctioned event. The story lines behind this year’s event will focus primarily around Micah Franzman and whether or not he can go three in a row at Noho. He has won this tournament two years running and is waiting for somebody to be able to knock him off the throne. This year will also mark the first time that I will be able to compete in the event and I don’t want to make this TOO public but Micah, I’m coming for you bro.

The Pioneer Valley Classic is the first event on Pure Flight’s 2016 calendar with Bousquet (date TBD), and Crane Hill yet on the horizon. This event is special for a number of reasons. To start, it is the 14th year that Northampton State Hospital DGC has been in the ground and this event serves as a celebration of the hard work and dedication of its volunteers. Big ups to Jason Johnson, Andy Neal, Felix Harvey, Isaac Bromberg, Juano, the now relocated Bucket and many more for their efforts in maintaining the course over these past 14 years. The PVC is also one of the first NEFA/PDGA events of the year, every year, giving players the opportunity to jump right into the tournament season and measure themselves against their competitors while shaking of the winter rust.

Northampton will always be a course near and dear to the hearts of those at Pure Flight. It represents a number of early memories for the company’s management team. It was here that I cracked my head on a sheet of ice on hole 16 when I was just 15 years old playing with my dad. It was at Northampton that Jeff and I would come with our friends to play the closest course to us while in High School and it was also here that I met Chris Barden and Drew Gardner in 2009. The duo was out shoveling tee pads on a snowy winter day while I was there alone practicing. We joined forces for a round and the rest is history. Chris and Drew are now integral parts of Pure Flight as well as the Western Mass DG community.

There are a number of reasons to come out to play the PVC and I’ve only touched upon a couple. Find your reason and come join us for the start of the 2016 tournament season!

By: Pete Charron

Pure Flight’s Online Store is Paused

All payouts from the New England Disc Golf Championship and the year long NEFA standings have been paid out. If you’re reading this and believe that you were supposed to receive money but didn’t, make sure to contact us at [email protected]

You should also contact us if you’re looking to pool your earnings this year into a big ticket item such as a basket or bag of some variety. We’ve had a few requests for Grip C-15 bags and will put in an order at the beginning of next week for these so if you’d like one as well, let us know! We also will be putting in small Innova and Dynamic Disc orders so let us know if you would like a basket or something else from these companies. There have been a number of requests for stools as well, so we will be restocking these.

At the moment we have paused our store front to not allow customers to check out. We apologize for the inconvenience but have noticed an inconsistency in our live inventory that needs to be worked out before allowing customers to shop online with us. If there is something pressing that you need, please just give us a shout and we will be as accommodating as possible.

We hope the leaves have only served as aesthetic beauty and haven’t concealed any of your favorite discs this fall! Best of luck to those in New England competing in team challenge, it’s the start of cold days but hot competition between friends representing their home courses. Lastly, please don’t think differently about me because of that terrible line ^


Pete and the PF crew

The Mind’s Guide to Disc Golf

By: Drew Gardner

“Practical Dreamers Do Not Quit”

Though it is easy to write these things in a blog, the tips I provide will only work if they become habit. The essence of change is one of the hardest things that happens in a human’s mind. If you can discipline your mind to “walk the talk,” you can ultimately be successful in disc golf as well as life. Changing habits takes time and the journey is more challenging than the discipline its self. So take the challenge of personal change and don’t look back. The results may blow your mind.

“Practical Dreamers Do Not Quit” is a quote by Napoleon Hill, a man hired by Andrew Carnegie to study wealthy people and to write a book about why successful people are successful. Now I could write a really long blog based on these ideas but one line so far has stood out to me. Hill basically states that if a dream burns desire deep inside you, then your goals and dreams are achievable. He refers to Thomas Edison and the fact that it took over 10,000 tries to invent a lamp that could operate off electricity. 10,000 times! Such a staggering trial would drive most humans nuts. In fact most people would quit at 100 or even 10. We can learn that if the goal you set out to achieve is entrenched so deeply in your soul then no matter what, in time you will achieve it. If you notice he uses the word “practical,” meaning you need to have a realistic goal in mind. Your practical dream needs a path to start on and a clear finishing point. For a disc golfer, a practical dream may be to win a pro event. Now the hard part is getting there. Be realistic on your path and leave nothing to chance. Take the initiative to practice and learn from others. Have the ability to open up to teaching because you never know who will help you on your journey. The goal needs to be so clearly defined that when you close your eyes and think about it, you can see every detail. You can see yourself hitting the winning putt and standing at the awards ceremony while Pete hands you the trophy and purse and people are cheering for you. These visions need to be real to you before they happen. Don’t let others stand in your way. On your journey people will try to discourage you. They can’t see your vision and may be scared for you or for themselves. Assure yourself that you will succeed. You are in control of your mind, remember past blogs?
Now to practice this concept you can start small. Think of something that you want in life, a promotion, a date with the hottie down the hall or whatever it may be. Look within and determine if your desire burns deep for this and go for it. Don’t look back until you achieve this goal. This small victory should springboard you to the realization that you can do it! Do not become discouraged if you fail. Without failure we would never learn, remember Edison and his 10,000+ trials inventing something we still use today. I think back to when I started playing disc golf on a competitive level. So many times I wanted to walk away due to frustration and the feeling of walking up hill in quicksand (getting nowhere). I buried those feelings and moved on to become the player I am today, which is right where I want to be. My goals for disc golf are different and success for me will come in the future as my trials happen every day. The one thing I will tell you is that I keep pressing on, even when the hill looks like a mountain and this lesson alone will allow you to see the top sooner rather than later.
Join me next week for: “Repetition is the Key to Success”

The Mind’s Guide to Disc Golf

By: Drew Gardner

“The Best Time to Play is Now”

Though it is easy to write these things in a blog, the tips I provide will only work if they become habit. The essence of change is one of the hardest things that happens in the human mind. If you can discipline your mind to “walk the talk,” you can ultimately be successful in disc golf as well as life. Changing habits takes time and the journey is more challenging than the discipline itself. So take the challenge of personal change and don’t look back. The results may blow your mind.

You hear all the pros in any golf sport say, “you just play shot to shot,” or “take it one shot at a time.” It sounds so cliché, like it’s that easy. But what I hope you come to realize is that it is just that easy. The discipline is what is hard. Remember the last blog where I told you not to worry about things that you have no control of? This lesson epitomizes that concept. You cannot control time and in turn you cannot control what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. What you do have control over is what is happening in the exact moment you are living…NOW! Teach yourself this concept and you will master your game of disc golf. I like to play with an extreme case of short term memory loss. Most great tournament rounds that I’ve played have a five on the card, or a couple of bogies. A lot of the times my next hole, after a bad one, is a birdie. My favorite example came to me in a doubles tournament that I played with my girlfriend, Jess. Our first hole of the event was a double bogie 5! Boo, what a way to start a round…next hole, bang the chains an ace! The 5 had been erased from my mind before the next shot, had not served as a hindrance, and I reaped the greatest reward – a tournament ace!

When I play at the top of my game, I don’t remember most of my round and it feels effortless. I have to think deep into the memory of my body to recall the shots of my round. This is mastery of this paradigm. Live in the moment and recognize that you can’t hold onto a bad shot. The first step is to bring past moments into your consciousness. Once you have, stop them by taking a breath and focusing on the next shot. This process will take time and you will only notice it a few times at first. Maybe only 3 or 4 times per round, until you shoot the best round of your life, effortlessly.

Apply this lesson to your life and let the disc golf course become a practice ground for everything that you do. Sometimes we let something out of our control have a negative effect on us for an entire day, week or even longer! Remember, if it happened in the past, we cannot control it now. Live that line and repeat it often. Let that weight fall off your shoulders and bring your total energy and focus on the now. You won’t regret it!

Join me next week for: “Practical Dreamers do not Quit”

The Mind’s Guide to Disc Golf

By: Drew Gardner

“Your Mind is Your Strongest Disc Golf Muscle”
Though it is easy to write these things in a blog, the tips I provide will only work if they become habit. The essence of change is one of the hardest things that happens in a human’s mind. If you can discipline your mind to “walk the talk,” you can ultimately be successful in disc golf as well as life. Changing habits takes time and the journey is more challenging than the discipline itself.
So take the challenge of personal change and don’t look back. The results may blow your mind.
If we take a look at a player like Paul McBeth, he has it all: skill, dedication, passion, drive etc… the one thing easy to overlook is his ability to utilize his mind in difficult situations. He doesn’t deviate from his mental game plan. No matter what the situation, he has the ability to think clearly and make decisions based on visualization of the final outcome. So often our personal decisions on and off the course are determined by outside influences. How you did on your last throw, how other players are doing, my boss is a jerk. If we can learn to keep clear focus we can all achieve our goals. As we develop as players it is easy at first to blame poor performance on outside forces, but we need to look within. We all possess one ability which no one can take away. That is, we have control of our mind. If we take the time to acknowledge this fact then our mental development will happen in strides. We can be reactive or proactive. A reactive player looks for reasons why they are not successful in which they have no power to change. A proactive player looks for solutions that they can change, they ask for help from players with more experience and don’t shy away from adverse situations. The self becomes open to change and the mind follows. Take time during your next round to notice these situations and change what you can. Leave things that you can’t change behind and move on. Apply these tactics to your personal and professional lives as well. Always remember that change takes time and can be a trying pursuit, but if you can address the small things first, the bigger things will have no choice but to follow.
Join me next week: “The Best Time to Play is in the Moment”

2015 Edition of Crane Hill Open goes smooth

Crane Hill Putting
The 2015 edition of the Crane Hill Open featured the most players it has ever seen with 130 people competing over the weekend. There are a number of reasons for the increase in participants, first and foremost is the growing popularity of disc golf in the area. Everyone collectively pat yourselves on the back if you continue to expose this sport to new people-because it’s working! There was also a switch from a Pro only day and Am only day to a Pro/Am1 day and all other Am day. This helped enormously but also drew the ire of a number of disc golf die hards who were shut out of the event due to it selling out in 12 hours! As a tournament director, these are the types of decisions that are very hard to make but that you ultimately must stand behind and learn from, whether they were good or bad. In this instance, I would make the same decision again although as the DG landscape in New England shifts towards bigger pro fields the decision may not be as simple next year.
This year’s Crane Hill Open saw it’s first Massachusetts’ resident winner in the MPO field. Kyle Moriarty needed one playoff hole to knock off the other titan from Team Crane, Chris Howard. The duo have found themselves battling all year on the tournament scene and this chapter went to Kyle. Moriarty joins Craig Cutler, Jasin Bayer and Jason Dore as Crane Hill Open champions. For those that don’t know all these guys, that’s 4 states represented by 4 winners of the 4 Crane Hill tournaments – New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. Will New York, Vermont, New Hampshire or Rhode Island continue the trend next year? Kyle was joined by fellow Champions, Wendy Boutin (FPO), Mike Zorovich (MPM), Mike Phaneuf (MA1), Mich Guerin (FA1), Brian Kynard (MM1), Karl Molitoris (MG1), Evan Marcyoniak (MA2), Mimi Herrick (FA2), Adam Morrison (MA3) and Kim Ricciardone (FA3).
I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention more exciting happenings. One of those things is the 15 person MPM field. This should be a trend in the coming years and will be something for tournament directors to consider moving forward. There is a plethora of feelings surrounding age protected divisions at 40+ since many can still compete at a very high level (at least in New England) and large MPM fields can detract from bigger MPO payouts. Bigger MPO payouts not only reward the happy winner and those immediately behind him but it increases the sex value of the sport. I’ve always believed that both bottom up and top down development is necessary for disc golf at and the former point is a top down model for the sport’s development. Put like this, if Kyle takes home $500+ for his win instetad of $350, that money registers that much more in the minds of amateurs aspiring to continue their DG development. One only needs to listen to a few pop songs to recognize the importance that money has in shaping the adolescent’s mind of what is cool. Disc golf has long operated outside of those confines but will not and can not gain commercial success if grassroot scenes continue to neglect the importance of growing payouts. That’s a small tangent and I’m plenty prone to go down a wormhole or two.
Another exciting event at this year’s Open was the new putting competition unveiled. The competition spotlighted the brand new two basket putting area at Crane Hill. It featured a 4 minute time clock and 8 stations where two putts were to be taken from each. Each station had a point value assigned to it and the qualifying rounds went all day long. The best eight qualifying scores proceeded to a bracket style competition where the 1 and 8 seed battled to see who would play the winner of the 4 and 5 match. After all the dust settled it was the 7th seeded Assistant Tournament Director, Jeff Fleury, who beat out the upstart 1st seed Jason Lasasso in a hard fought championship bout. Sunday’s event was less high scoring due to the natural fall off in talent level between the two days but the drama was no less. 12 year old Michael Thompson defeated New Hampshire resident, Brian Betit, in the championship to earn himself a share of the Crane Hill Open Putting Champion.
I should not write more, but I definitely can. I will spare those reading and leave you with this. I continuously feel rejuvenated with the disc golf “bug” after the Crane Hill Open. It’s a blessing to call this course “home” and the community that has embraced it is more amazing than the course itself. Thank yous are not enough but are undoubtedly due. Thank you to Davis Johnson, Dan Hale and Jason Johnson for their contributions as the creators of the Crane Hill DGC. Thank you to Steve Merrill, Ken Wagner and countless others for their hard work and commitment to the course. Without the effort from the community the scene surrounding Crane would not be what it is today. Last, but of course not least, thank you to the players. Thanks for coming, competing, smiling and contributing to what keeps me smiling, the furtherance of this beautiful sport.

Crane Hill Travels to Cranbury

This Saturday, the Crane Hill disc golf team travels to Norwalk, Connecticut for a showdown with the Cranbury Park team. Cranbury finds itself looking to scrape back to 3-3, while Crane tries to keep its road record flawless and move to 3-2. The match seemingly only carries significance in regards to the teams’ psyches moving towards finals. The most important pieces of the A pool puzzle have apparently fallen into place already. Borderland stands at 0-5 and will be relegated to B pool next year while there’s talk of Warwick forfeiting their final two matches (at NASA and at Maine). Right now this seems to be very likely and would result in Warwick ending the year at 2-4 along with the likely 2-4 record of Burgess, possible 2-4 record of Cranbury and possible 2-4 record of Crane Hill. Despite the potential for a three way tie for 7th place, Warwick would be relegated based on percentage points. On the other end of the standings, the two teams that beat Crane at home are poised to end the year at 5-1 and earn byes in the first round of finals.

The match this weekend has most to do about momentum and jockeying for seeds 3-6. At this stage in the New England Disc Golf Team Challenge format, seeds 3-6 really don’t matter much. Two years ago (Crane Hill’s first year in A pool) Crane (sixth seed) beat the 3rd seeded Wickham on the Maple Hill Whites Course. The upset did wonders to build a rivalry but unfortunately Crane was bounced in the Semi-Finals by Cranbury. Cran then went on to defeat Maine in the finals that year. Last year, Wickham (6th seed) returned the favor at Pyramids- beating 3rd seeded Crane. Wickham then went on to win the championship in an exciting playoff versus NASA. In just recounting the last two years, it’s obvious that seeding really doesn’t matter much outside of the 1st and 2nd (1st round byes) and 7th and 8th (relegated).

These aren’t the word’s of a captain trying to rally his team, as I’d surely be failing in that fashion. This is just a true portrayal of the state of the league today. Luckily, my words aren’t needed to rally the Crane Hill team – we’re a self motivated group eager to continue our progression as players and as a team. If you were to ask anyone on the team if they were satisfied just making finals, the answer would be a resounding no. It’s nice to know that we’ll have a chance to compete for the championship again this year but 4-2 sounds a whole lot better than 3-3 or 2-4.

2013 Champions - Cranbury

2013 Champions – Cranbury