Archive for category: Announcements

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!

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

“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

Crane Hill (2-0) vs. Borderland (0-2) Recap

Team Crane Hill made a statement to the rest of the league last weekend when they went on the road to hand Borderland a good old fashioned beat down. Crane moved to 2-0 with both wins coming on the road, a rare feat, while Borderland dropped to 0-2, losing both matches at home. The boys from B-Land have definitely dug themselves a deep hole to start the year, one that may be insurmountable in the end, as they will need to steal at least one road win against Cranbury, Burgess or Maine. Road victories are always difficult and it seems like the Easton team is an early favorite to be relegated to the B pool this year. On the flip side, Crane Hill joins NASA (North and South Shore Alliance) and Maine atop the A pool standings at 2-0.

The match between Crane Hill and Borderland started early on Sunday morning as the teams needed to get out on the course before the disc golf hungry hordes descended upon the park. Team captains, Pete Charron and Kyle Moriarty worked the best match-ups they could and left for their starting holes feeling confident. There were a few marquee matches that could have swung more momentum towards Borderland but Crane was fully committed and ready. Kelly Conroy had the difficult task of taking on the ex-Craner and great player, Nick Gross. It was a challenge for Kelly but he showed his true grit as he shared with Crane newcomer, Jeremy Binley, the biggest margin of victory that day at 5 & 4. Perhaps the best win of the day came from a name NEFA land doesn’t hear much anymore, Juano Flores. Juano walked into the fire pit against one of the friendliest and best players in NEFA, the long time pro and current New England Disc Golf Champion, Tim Walsh. Just about anybody who plays or has played competitive disc golf at a high level in the Northeast region, knows Tim Walsh-he is a fantastic player. Juano may be lesser known, but is one of Western Mass’ best and he proved every bit of it in his beat down of Timmy to the tune of 4 & 2. There were three more “heavyweight” battles on the docket. These six matches featured some of New England’s best talent and all wound up in Crane Hill’s favor. Kyle Moriarty took on Dylan Dunne, Pete Charron scrapped with Sam Henderson and Julie Ferdella battled Ashley Toomey. Kyle had a late round surge versus Dylan to win handily at 3 & 1. Pete and Sam exchanged blows back and forth early but it was consistent play from Pete that bested the accomplished, New England player of the year, Henderson 4 & 2. Julie and Ashley was probably the biggest match up of all, as both women had fantastic years of disc golf. Both surged, jumping up around 30 points each in ratings and both had a number of wins in the Advanced field this year. It would be hard to imagine both not taking the jump and playing pro exclusively next year, although that decision will of course be on them. Just like the previous matches, this big league battle went Crane’s way as a jubilant Julie avenged her 1 stroke loss to Toomey at the Maple Hill WGE event, winning convincingly 5 & 3.

When the dust settled after the singles round, Crane Hill boasted its best ever scoring spread and lead Borderland 14.5-3.5. In order to stave off defeat Borderland would have had to win every last doubles match. Of course that was not how the day ended. Crane went on to win 7 of the 9 doubles matches for a 14-4 doubles victory and a conclusive win of 28.5 to 7.5. It’s going to be hard to knock Crane down this year but there biggest and baddest challenge to date will be against their rivals from the south, Team Wickham, who travel to Crane Hill on December 13th. Crane’s roster is chock full of the same faces as year’s past but the additions of Jordan Leckey, Jake Landeck, Chris Howard and Jeremy Binley have these cranes soaring higher than ever before.

Team Challenge – 2015

It’s going to be excruciatingly difficult to not go into detail about an AWESOME first challenge for Team Crane this past Sunday, but I’m going to try not to. Instead, I want to elaborate on the league that seriously helps to keep me sane during the winter months.

Team Challenge (TC) brings together players from courses all throughout New England to compete against each other. The league starts in October and ends in April. Over the past two years TC has really gained traction, growing 40% from 24 teams to now 34. The league has expanded from just an A and B pool to now include a C pool. It has also grown increasingly competitive with the A and B pool boasting rosters of New England’s best disc golfers and the prize money for 1st place in the A pool being set at $1,600. Despite the growing competition, TC has also remained true to its roots – home teams put on food spreads and provide beverages for visiting teams in the aim of having a good time, being good ambassadors for their course and making winter disc golf a little more bearable.

All things considered, I’m still new to organized disc golf but at the rapidity in which it has been growing, I feel like a dang veteran – and in many regards I am but that digression can be saved for a later time. Anyway, I got involved with Team Challenge in 2009 with Team Nono (Northampton). Outside of a rogue tournament earlier that year, it was my first real introduction to organized disc golf. I got to meet a whole slew of new people from courses all over the place and I got to further my relationships with the locals that I played league with occasionally. It was the deciding factor in my marriage to this sport and that’s what I see ALL THE TIME now. New teams at new courses are sprouting up all over the place, new players, both male and female are getting introduced to competitive disc golf and furthering their commitment with PDGA and NEFA memberships. We have a bridge that brings players from the recreational side of the sport to the competitive side and they’re having so much fun they don’t even realize that they’re totally hooked.

Outside of the above reason, I also love TC because it literally serves as a reaffirmation of my passion for disc golf. A year of competing in singles play, focusing on solid PDGA performances can get lonely – even if you are competing with a group of fantastic people. Being surrounded by friends with a joint purpose – competing against (usually) other friends that are united with their friends in competition against you and your friends. Basically what I’m trying to say is – FRIENDS! So great to share this sport with great people and it’s that camaraderie that inspires folks pursue disc golf.

Much of my blogging this winter will be about Team Challenge so if you play on a team or are interested in playing and want to nerd out on predictions and write ups from challenges, keep checking back here! I’m already late with my predictions for this year but I will make sure to follow this post up with a Team Crane love note and some bold predictions about this year.

Thanks to Todd Lapham for the thankless work he puts into running the most popular form of organized disc golf in New England. Thanks also to Joe Yaskis for giving birth to this league back in 2006 and finally thanks to all the captains, organizers and players who make this the best time of the year.