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Disc Golf - The Ice Bowl

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

No Wimps, No Whiners – By tony Forder

I play disc golf. You know, that game where you throw frisbees at basket-like targets. Except they're not frisbees, they're specially designed discs with all sorts of nuances.

But the game did evolve from the frisbee, thanks to one Wham-O employee, Ed Headrick, who popularized the game in California back in the 1970s. Which is where I picked up the sport – not in the 1970s, but in the 1980s so you could say I'm an OG albeit off and on.

While the equipment differs, the mental aspects of the game are identical to ball golf. Disc golfers are a hardy bunch. They play in all kinds of weather – which brings me to the Ice Bowl.

The Ice Bowl began in 1987 in Missouri as a charitable effort to to help Food Banks. It gained popularity with many disc golf groups and clubs around the country and can involve any charity. Since it is held in the middle of winter you may think that the weather could be a factor, but from the beginning the slogan was No Excuses, No Wimps, No Whiners. In 2021, despite the Covid-10 pandemic, 165 events were held in North America raising over $430,000. Since its inception, thousands of disc golfers have participated in Ice Bowl events raising millions of dollars for charities and non-profit organizations.

The Skylands Disc Golf Club encompasses several disc golf courses along the NJ/NY border and its first Ice Bowl was held in 1991 at the Buzzy's course, at Browns Point Park on the Jersey end of Greenwood Lake. The frozen lake provided a great backdrop for the annual event – I remember one year the high for the day was 8 degreesF.

This year Browns Point Park was not available, so the event shifted to Dan Doyle's farm course, The Oasis in Warwick. It was a true Ice Bowl with trees coated from an ice storm and sheets of ice underfoot. While there were some "wimps" who dropped out, 68 players completed the 2-round event and more than $4,500 was donated to Skylands' charity of choice, Strengthen Our Sisters.

Ice Bowl 22 – Buzzy's at the O

A true Ice Bowl

Ice upon ice

Fingers of ice everywhere

Branches encased

Trees screaming silently, captured in ice

Sun lighting up the ice castles

Sparkling shards of sun and ice reaching to the sky

Ice-coated baskets and chains on islands of ice

Drives skip and flare like wild wolves

Curling type approaches slide to the basket, the only way

Rejected putts slide to infinity

Fortunate for us a dusting on top - improves the grip ever so slightly

Micro crampons, yak trax, help – a lot

To keep the balance is the task today

Temps start in the teens, stay stuck in the 20s

Jack Frost blows wind gusts that chill through layers of insulation

Keep moving, keep moving

The first round is done

No real warmth in the barn

Except for food - crockpots lined up

Full of chili and stew

The keg is tapped

The sun feels good, but the wind is persistent

Discs are thrown for charity

Prizes dot the white meadow

The winning throws nuzzle up

Then back out again

To battle the course and the ice

Now it's fun, the belly warm, over the hump

Oasis gleams in its rare and beautiful costume of ice

Happy to host this Buzzy's fundraiser

Maybe I will be able to complete this after all

No matter the score

It's a good day and good karma for all

To play and raise money for a cause

Long live the Ice Bowl


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