Has Parked found the longest, documented weekly league streak in disc golf history?
By Bill Flynn ~
Disc golf wasn’t an epidemic when it arrived in Warren, Ohio, but those catching the bug got it bad, real bad. Busy schedules or not, local disc golfers migrated to Young’s Run Disc Golf Course. They played every free moment – any day, any time – and especially on Saturdays.
Just a bunch of guys who liked playing disc golf, they eventually formed a club when one member, Joe “Ho Mac” Holbrook, needed a name for a charity event. That’s when the Trumbull County Disc Golf Associates (TCDGA) came to life.
Over the years, one disc golf course grew into six. Starting with the “Plastic Classic” in 1997, the guys from Warren developed a full calendar of tournaments, including multiple PDGA sanctioned events each year.
The TCDGA became a tight-knit family with its own language, nicknames and rules. For instance, “Pulling a Randall” refers to a player who quietly leaves in the middle of a round and never returns. “Going Newton Falls” is a long string of bogeys. (The Newton Falls zip code is 44444). Many other terms have been adopted—some too complicated to explain, others imprudent to print. No doubt all language was used in good fun.
Nicknames seem to thrive among disc golfers. Tags like Pro-Rec, Mike Putt, K-Dog, Home Fresh, Magicman, and Ho Mac. It may be that players come and go so often that formal names seem like a bother to remember. Sometimes convenient substitutes take hold, nicknames like White Blazer, Longhair, Dude, and Two Disc Brad.
Rules, yes, there are a few. As everyone knows, referring to a player’s shot as “nice” is forbidden. But, of course, the club offers discs, t-shirts and socks that say Nice.
No hugs are allowed after an ace. The two-meter rule? Nope.
How did this weekly league get its name? One Saturday, Ken Britton, a veteran of the Warren scene, decided to put a superman logo sticker on a disc and create the first “Superman Saturday” trophy.
It works like this: Show up at 10 AM on Saturday, card the best round, collect two bucks a person, sign and date the disc, and triumphantly return the following week, disc in tow, and defend your title. Come the end of the year, the spoils go to the victor. The player whose name appears on the disc most often keeps the disc.
Superman Saturday was born!
While stronger players vie for end-of-year glory, others just want to get their names on the trophy once. Driving rain, blizzard conditions, major holidays, crazy wind – on these weeks, some may arrive on site for an easy, default victory. But it has never happened, despite the wild weather of Northeast Ohio.
Week after week, the league has continued without interruption. There have always been at least three players at league, with a formal claim of at least two.
The disc golf scene in Warren was started by Bill Flynn, recognized as the founding father (godfather to some) of disc golf in the Mahoning Valley. His personal disc skills have admittedly diminished over the years. These days, he rarely plays competitively, though Home Fresh still loves the game.
Despite his decline, Bill still smiles when recalling his victory on the very first Superman Saturday on October 26, 2002. That puts the club’s weekly league streak at over fifteen years, and almost 800 consecutive events in a row.
To put things in perspective, back in 2002, Champion plastic was a new thing. Young’s Run only had 12 holes (it’s an 18-hole course now), and a score of 33 could win the round. Flynn’s bag contained Cyclones, Comets, X-clones, Magnets, and a #2 Upshot.
In those days, players were loyal to one of two manufacturers. Most of the other manufacturers that are popular today did not even exist. The world distance record was established by throwing a DX Valkyrie.
Superman Saturday may be the longest, documented, weekly disc golf league in the universe. Who would have thought, so many weeks ago, that signing and dating a disc would create a documented record of the victors and a symbol of the league’s resilience?
Longest running or not, the league continues. No one is particularly driven to preserve the streak. League is just a part of life. Seldom are there more than twenty players on any given Saturday. Most weeks, twelve to fourteen is a typical turnout. But hundreds have participated, and, of course, far fewer have won. People just show up, shell out two bucks, and play.
The TCDGA celebrated Week 400 back in 2010 with a special event. The forty-four past winners received a handblown, disc-golf related glass bead to use as bag flair. Otherwise there hasn’t been much fanfare for the streak.
The Associates tend to be low key. They seldom hype events on social media. But they have a lot to be proud of, having installed ninety-two holes on six courses (more coming in 2018!). At some point in the last 22 years, the Associates have hosted just about every kind of event imaginable.
Week 800 of Superman will be here in March 2018. It may be time to celebrate. Meanwhile, the TCDGA will keep showing up, playing, and trying not to nice anyone.
Bill Flynn (PDGA #12313) lives in Warren, Ohio. He started playing disc golf in 1984 while attending the University of Cincinnati (Bachelor of Science, Engineering).
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Parked is underwritten in part by a grant from the Professional Disc Golf Association.