Ozark Mountain Open 2014:
It is considered one of the hardest courses in the World
Three Course Complex
One of Gateway Disc Sport’s Largest Run Tournaments
Ozark Mountain Open 2014:
It is considered one of the hardest courses in the World
Three Course Complex
One of Gateway Disc Sport’s Largest Run Tournaments
It’s looking like we are going to decent weather for this Sunday’s Doubles Event at Ozark Mountain.
Highs near 50 and Mostly Sunny, which is pretty good for what we’ve been getting these last few months.
Just to be clear, the event this Sunday is a “Bring Your Partner Doubles” and not apart of the “California Doubles”, we’ve been running around town. Here’s a picture of a hole which was hole 11 on akitas run. We are making changes to the course and this will probably become hole 10 again.
John E McCray 2014 Disc golf Tour.
About 15 years ago I had the pleasure of playing a round of disc golf with John E McCray, in Daytona Beach Florida. For those of you who do not know John E or haven’t seen him play, it doesn’t take long to understand a few things about John, You get what you see as he can’t hide his intensity or passion for the sport of disc golf.
He’s the kind of guy that will help show a new player around the course or the next up and coming pro in his area by practicing/training with him, teaching him what he knows, giving him a ride to the league or tourney. John is relentless in his training and know how to separate it from playing casual or playing in an event, so when he gets to the course on game day the gloves comes off and the game is on until the last putt is thrown. He won’t root against your shots during the round ( he doesn’t have to) but he won’t let up when he’s up by ten either. This is my type of guy, he’s the same kind of player I used to be and why our relationship is so good and has lasted so long.
I had heard of this guy before, he’s the guy that gives Ken Climo and every other opponent something to think about when t hey see his name on the list of those registered.
He’s the type of guy that brings it (his skills and determination) from the first hole to the last, every time he laces em up and does so with a huge smile on his face. Don’t take it personal, he’s playing he course and never letting up. He doesn’t know how to put in the second team when he’s up by ten with three to go,, it’s not in his DNA. He’s looking for course records every time he plays..
I use the term laces em up, because John is a soccer player at heart. From the moment I met him I knew this guy,,,, it was like looking in a mirror. It was so apperant for me to see this guy was one of those soccer players I grew up playing with and against from the age of 5-20.
During those 15 years of playing soccer and other team sports, I went to war with my teammates time and time again. I always gave it everything I had, I tried my my hardest because I didn’t want to let the team down. I learned early in life how to play as a team but also how motivate myself and the team to get what we wanted and I wasn’t afraid of failure. At 7 or 8 years old all I thought about and wanted was to win games with my team.
What I developed through the game of soccer and from my soccer coaches was the same thing john developed, it’s to accomplish what you set out to do,,,, your goal ( both literally and figuratively). Not one soccer game, league or tournament I ever played in did I NOT go into thinking about winning. It’s why we were there, why we signed up, what we had trained for, went to sleep thinking about and woke up thinking about.
If you didn’t grow up playing a sport like soccer with the kids from your neighborhood and parish, (in cities like Tampa or St Louis, where soccer moms get into fist fights) you might not understand this, over the top attitude about winning. From that first encounter in Daytona playing with John E, until my recent trip this winter to Florida, I can assure you one thing, John E McCray knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
Theres a big difference between playing on a team and playing for yourself, is the outcome is all on your shoulders, you get all the glory but you also need to take the defeats. I just heard a guy on the TV say this about golf in reference to Rory’s meltdown yesterday ” if you don’t own the defeat you cannot fully embrace the victory”. Transitioning for some from team sports to individual sports can be difficult, but for guys like John and I, we like that kind of pressure, it drives us to train harder and to be more prepared then your opponent.
Last fall when I heard John E was going on tour this year, I knew what that meant. It meant, every event that John E entered into, that John E would have to be beat. John E rarely beats himself and regardless of how many strokes he may be down, “HE” never thinks he’s out of It. If theres a mathematical chance for John E to still win, then theres a good chance he might. Along with ken Climo, Dave Greenwell and Nikko, he’s one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever met in the sport and probably why ken Climo started traveling so much in the mid 90’s. ( just kidding ken)! Actually John E has a lot of respect for the champ, and often gives Ken MOST of the credit for driving him to be the best he can be. Imagine having to go head to head with Ken Climo when you first start playing and then twenty times a year every year! I was at Kens house back in 1999 playing cards the him and the Winnie crew, Ken sat out every ten or so hands and went outside in his yard, in the dark with just a porch light and threw 30 or so putts at a time every 30 minutes all night long. Having someone like Ken to play with and against when John started back in December 1995 certainly shaped him and his game and fit right into that mold of a soccer players mentality. In order or be the best you have to beat the best!!!
Johns first victory against Ken came at water tower park in Sarasota Florida after about 25 or so head to head events. John was down 6 going into a Sunday round and came out blazing, shooting a course record -13 and then followed it with a -12 and Wound up beating them Champ by 6. Quite the the feather in the cap that day for John and I can only imagine what Ken must have thought. Up until then not many players had really challenged the champ especially not in his home state of Florida.
This past weekend John E played in the Memorial Championships n Phoenix AZ. His 49 was tied for first after round one and going into the last was just a few shots back.
With a very strong field of competitors John wound up in second place and snagged himself a nice healthy paycheck of $3,000.00
While John E performance this past week came up a few strokes short of a PDGA NT win at the Memorial championships in Phoenix Arizona, John certainly set the stage for his ” it’s about time tour” !
So far this year John has already played in 6 Events and has finished 1st in 5 of the 6:
1st at Throw Down the mountain II in Brooksville FL =$800.00
1st at SW Florida Open in Port Charlotte =$432.00
1st at Barnett Park Ppen in Orlando FL = $600.00
1st at Cedar Hill Chill in Cedar Hill TX $600.00
1st at Towne Lake Pro-Am in = $500.00
2nd at the Memorial in Phoenix AZ = $3,000.00
Anyone that has ever played with John or saw him play for the first time this past week, can’t help but want to watch him play again. John E is a power player that can throw a demon 400 feet and his Wizards just as far. He rarely lays up from the tee or when putting. His confidence it making the comeback putt is off the chart. He throws shots exactly like you should, with the thought process that the results will match the intention. If he misses, there will be no cursing, no stomping, no crushing the mini or throwing his disc in the bag. He simply steps up to his next shot with the same. Determination and confidence he had with the last throw. He’s truly playing the course and wants to go low, REALLY low every time!
John E has been throwing exclusively Gateway discs for the last ten years. During this time John has been ranked in the top ten for the majority of it, has won nearly 80% of the events he’s entered. in the bag with John E McCray
John and was within a throw or two of 1st place at the PDGA pro worlds in Augusta GA in 2006 going into the semi final round. Unfortunately for John, there was a miscommunication about the start time on the final day. I got a call about 7:00 central ( (8:00 eastern) from Mike Barnett. “Hey Dave, where’s Johnny? The semi final rounds getting ready to start and he’s not here!” I quickly hung up the phone and called John E’s number, he answered on the first ring.
David: ” hey john what’s going on? ”
John: I’m sitting here eating breakfast getting ready to win the world championships!
David: Well Sunking just called and said the rounds getting ready to start.
John: no It starts at 9 like all the other rounds.
David: not sure who told you that but Mike said they already blew the two minute warning.
John: (after about 4 seconds of silence , he said) thanks, I gotta go!
I washed him luck and hung up the phone.
John raced to the course and eventually started the round, but not after missing 2 holes and taking quadruple bogey on each for being late.
He’s started the most important round of his career 8 over par.
Did this discourage John?
Would he have a melt down and fall a part?
Well what happened was that JohnE, without a single practice shot on the day, proceeded to birdie 11 of the next 12 holes and eventually, when the round was done shot a 54 5 under par and kept himself in the top 8.
John went on to place T7 with Steve Rico that year, which I’m sure was a huge let down after being so close.
A few years later john he fell Ill with Lyme disease, but not before he was mis-diagnosed with gout and was put on a special diet that wasn’t very good for the Lyme disease. The improper diagnosis put him in the hospital and he nearly died. It took John E over a year to fully recover.
Did john learn a lesson from all of this?
Were these the type of life altering experiences , a fork in the rd that could break his spirits about life or the game of disc golf?
Of course not, John is not a quitter, he exemplifies the phrase of ” whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”!
The moral of these two stories is about not giving up after adversary or set backs, and is just part of part of the story of John E McCray and what’s makes him the man that he is today.
I’ve never heard him complain about what happened the day he was late day or lay blame on anyone else. He excepted the mistake as his own, put his head down and did the best he could, shot after shot, until the final shot was thrown just like he always does!
It took a while, but John overcame his illness with the support of his wife friends and family and eventually regained his strength to compete and perform at the highest level.
I know john loves the sports deep down and would play disc golf even if there were no trophies or prize money. He plays disc golf to beat the course’ to break course records and to challenge himself, but it’s also how he supports his family. If you asked him he would tell you he plays for his fans, his home state of Florida, for Gateway Disc Sports, for the future of our sport and of course for the love of the game.
JohnE is disc golf competitions poster boy!!
On the course, he’s the professional that is expected of him. Off the course he’s a husband, a father, a disc golf promoter/coach and someone (that as a parent), you’re more than comfortable with your son or daughter idolizing as their role model. Even if your a Discraft guy or an Innova guy or have a brand new company you support with your disc choices, you can’t help but finding your self rooting for john E!
Johns loyalty to me and Gateway Disc Sports is unheralded. I am so proud to have John E represent our brand, he is a extension of myself and day in and day out uses gateway discs as if he’d made them himself. Several times over the last few years I told John E it was ok to use discs from other companies that it wouldn’t effect our relationship with him and that our company has a long term plan for him. I know there are discs from other companies that could help John E the same way Niiko used discs from Gateway, Innova and discraft, to break and still hold the yearly money earning record of nearly $50k) , win player of the year three years in a row from 2009-2011 and capture the largest purse in PDGA history of $15k at the 2009 USDGC.
It’s no secret that I believe a player has a competitive advantage if he uses the very best disc from each one of the disc manufactures.
Is having a mixed disc bag good for the sport?
John has refused to use anything but Gateway discs since we started sponsoring him over ten years ago. I’m pretty sure that John likes being the underdog ( although he is definitely one of the favorites at every event he plays) and that throwing only Gateway motivates him at times to find that extra gear.
He likes the the role of ” JohnEGateway” vs the world and uses it to his advantage to motivate him.
Please visit John E’s website for information on his tour.
John E’s ” it’s about time tour” is just that! It’s time players and fans all over the world get to see John E play and what it means to be a professional in all sense of the words.
he and his wife and kid are traveling around the country playing disc golf tournaments and running clinics and participating in league nights promoting Gateway discs.
If your city or course is within their travels and you would like to have John out for a clinic, I would not pass up on the opportunity to have John out for a day.
To arrange for a clinic at your home course, Jen McCray can be reach at Email me! or call 813-323-4779 just contact her and she will try and set it up for John E to show off his skills and our products and help teach players in your area a thing or three about how the game is played!
$10 / Player
$2 Ace Pool
$3 50/50s & CTPS
$10 Super Pro
$5 Super Am
I am going to start off by saying, “If you missed this event, you missed out on an incredible day of golf”! The weather was perfect, the courses were in as good as shape as I have ever seen them, and the overall atmosphere was quite jovial.
When we first arrived at the course, there was another golf outing that was just getting ready to head out onto the ball golf course. They all had their “breakfast drinks” in hand and an entourage of lovely ladies to “help” them around the course. It was pretty apparent that we were going to have to try really hard to be the unruly bunch of the day. SIDE NOTE – It was also noted later in the day that one of our groups was privy to a little unplanned side entertainment. Since everyone in attendance was of legal consenting age, I guess you could just consider this a bonus! But enough of the interesting anecdotes…let’s get to the competition…
The tournament started off with 2 rounds of 4-Man Scramble disc golf on the 4700’ White Course. It was decided that both rounds would be played back-to-back to help save a little time. Everyone was allowed to take a little break as they passed the clubhouse if desired, but it didn’t appear that anyone felt the need other than for the bathroom or for some cold beverages. A bunch of good scores were tallied and there even was an ACE by Team Hogan. It was a very tight race going into the ball golf – 3 teams were separated by only 3 strokes.
Deer Creek C.C. provided a build your own taco bar lunch in between so that everyone could stay on site. Nothing like a couple of overstuffed tacos/burritos and a couple of cold ones to get you ready for the afternoon!
Since this really is a disc golfer event, the 2 rounds of disc golf helped keep the importance of the ball golf round down a bit. As you would expect, most teams brought in a ringer that could take the pressure off of the rest of the ball golf newbies. Either way, it was a refreshing change to play the original game that inspired the one that all of DG’ers love so much! Team Stacked and Bogey Golf both turned in awesome scores (63 and 64 respectively), and overall I was very surprised at how low the ball golf scores were. Not bad for a bunch of disc junkies!
Team Stacked ended out coming out on top when it was all said and done. Considering their team name, it was probably a bit of a relief and a respite from any long-term ribbing from the other teams. Teams Ballz Deep and Slow Pokes rounded out the top 3 spots. Congratulations to the winners and to everyone that had as good a time as I did! This event will certainly become a mainstay in the GDS tournament lineup for years to come. The format might get tweaked a bit here and there, but the fun level should always remain the same. See you next time!
P.S. The next Gateway Disc Sports event will be the Iron Man on July 6th. The details are still being hammered out, but rest assured that this event will truly be the definition of “No Wimps, No Whiners”!
|2013 DG/BG Scramble – 6/8 – Deer Creek C.C.|
|Team Stacked (4)||$120||$160||43||45||63||151|
|Ballz Deep (4)||$120||$80||43||42||69||154|
|Slow Pokes (4)||$120||$60||44||41||76||161|
|Bogey Golf (3)||$120||48||50||64||162|
|Team Hogan (4)||$120||53||52||71||176|
|Ace Holes (4)||$120||53||56||69||178|
|Good Griefs (4)||$120||57||57||78||192|
|Team CTPs||Payout Calculations|
|Disc Golf||Total Cost ($30/man)|
|Round 1 – Hole 18 – Team Stacked||- Greens Fees ($20/man)|
|Round 2 – Hole 18 – Ballz Deep||= $10/man to payouts|
|+ $30 from Bogey Golf (4th Man)|
|Hole 8 – Team Stacked||Total Payout = $300|
|Hole 12 – Slow Pokes||1st – $160 2nd – $80 3rd – $60|
So in the first lesson I gave advice on “Getting to know” your discs and asked players to reduce the number of discs in your bag to closer to 15 discs than 24. While I know most probably didn’t take the advice or at least haven’t yet,,, hopefully some of you got out to the field to throw your discs and get to know them. By throwing shots in a field as opposed to on the course you get a chance to really try things you have never tried before and get a the back-to-back reps needed to hone in on ALL the different shots needed to have a well rounded game. Confidence in your discs and the shots required during a tournament is something that will certainly improve your game. If you’ve taken the advice and are working towards reducing the number of discs to a more manageable amount , your on your way to lower scores and having more fun.
Today I want to give a offer a quick routine for putting practice.
Even though putting is a lot less physical than driving I recommend a good stretching routine before every workout or round and we will get to a stretching routine soon, for now use what you know and just try and get all of your muscles loose.
For the serious disc golfer getting ready for a tournament, I suggest ONLY training with a basket that catches very well. Throwing too many putts into a poor catching target could actually hurt your game and your confidence in making putts.
Ok here we go putting routine 1.0 !
Take all of your putters and start by throwing 20 shots ( not your putting stroke, but a backhanded toss) into the basket from 5-10 feet. I know this may seem silly but the reason is simple, I want you to see how well the chains catch the discs and seeing 20 or so throws hit chains and stick will help you develop confidence it a good firm chain hit.
Ok start from about 12 feet and do a little rapid fire without going through your routine, but with a close resemblance to your stroke. This is an important part of the practice routines that helps with technique and should be incorporated into your practice sessions religiously.
Whether that is spin putting from your between your legs or from your chest or a pendulum swing push putt, do this in a more athletic nature at first as opposed to the slowed down version of your actual putting routine, get a total of 40 -50 throws in ranging from 12-24′ in sets of 5 from 12′,15′,18′ and 24′ to get the muscle memory going.
ok go back to about 12′ from the basket and go through your putting routine with each disc ( 20 shots) hopefully you have at least 10 putters which will make this a lot easier and more time efficient.
Step back to 15, 18 and 24 with 20 putts from each going through each shot with your full routine.
ok so now you’ve thrown about 120-150 putts and your feeling pretty good about your putting inside 24 feet and you want to start hitting some monster putts.
Too often I see players practicing mostly 30-50 footers and hitting a low percentage right before the round. I’d prefer you hit 90% form inside 24 right before you start taking that kind of confidence into the round.
At this point I know you cant help it and you want to hit some big putts, so spend 10-20 minutes in the 24-50 range and get it out of your system. I suggest waiting but my expereince tells me most are not going to just practice 12-24′ putts WITHOUT putting the 24-50.
Before you start throwing the longer putts i want you to try something, step back up to 15 feet and throw ( not your putting stroke but a back hand throw) about 20 shots into the chains, now step back to 24 and throw 20 again,, what did you notice, was the backhand throwing motion just as effective as your putting stroke?
If your not successful with this backhand toss from 15-24 feet i suggest working on this a bit and then we will move to 24′ – 50′ and then on to approaching and laying up from 50′-150′. You should limit the time spent on the 30-50 foot putts until you really have the under 24′ putts success rate at 80-90%.
I want to help new players with developing a practice routine — so here’s lesson number one.
There are many shots in disc golf and they all require practice in order to improve on them.
Today I want to help you “get to know the discs in your bag”!
Lots of newer players to the game will typically have about 25 discs in their bag.
Try as I may, I have had a hard time convincing players to reduce the number of discs in their line up. In my opinion it is extremely difficult to really know the flight characteristics of 25 different discs and have the confidence throw every one of them with accuracy.
With that said … i suggest you start by reducing the number of discs you use for tournament play to 12-15. Chances are no one will do this. After all, you invested hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in your discs and you feel compelled to use all of them.
So … take your big bag of discs out to a soccer or football field (that hopefully has short grass so you don’t spend your time looking for the discs) and start with a little stretching and loosening up.
If you have a partner, passing a catch disc or softer putter, back and forth, from about 50-100 feet is perfect.
Ok … your loosened up and ready to get to really know your big-bag-o-discs.
I suggest starting by throwing putters at 50% power — which should equal about 150-foot shots. Work your way to mid-ranges and then drivers for the first set of throws.
Start by trying to throw mostly straight or flat shots. Repeat the same style of throws for all of the discs in your bag, down and back or 2 reps.
On the next set of throws start imagining shots that you would use each disc for, whether that’s a turnover, hyzer, sidearm tomahawk etc.
Repeat this for at least 4 reps.
Ok, so now you have 150 or so throws in and your getting some good feedback.
Now try and see what other shots you can do with your discs that you typically do not do.
Like try hyzering your turnover discs and turnover your hyzer discs. Maybe work on throwing different heights or trajectories with your putters and mid-ranges … see what they are capable of in terms of glide and carry. Practice outside of the box.
Wind down this practice session by picking out your top 10 favorite discs — or the ones you have the most confidence. Give them 4 more reps (40 more throws), simulating the shots you would use those particular discs for during a round.
It is important that this practice session take place on a field and not on the course.
Give this routine a week or two and you will notice that by having a smaller lineup, you will reduce your errors, increase your confidence and give yourself more chances to score. In the next lesson I’ll ask if you reduced the number of discs in your starting lineup. With a manageable lineup, we can get to some more in depth training routines.
The preferred lineup for most top pros will look like this:
There is not one shot in the game that cannot be completed with these discs. To know all fifteen discs requires a lot of off-the-course training and practice.
Having much more than fifteen discs in your starting lineup will most likely compromise your ability to have the utmost confidence with each disc.
Disc Golf is now more popular than even with no signs of it slowing down.
The PDGA has done such a great job of providing an outlet for the competitive adult disc golfer. The collegiate championships will certainly grow the sport at the college level, but not much has been done nationally to create more play among kids under 16.
A few years back myself and other members of our club here in ST Louis, wanted to run more events geared for kids, but the board at the time wasn’t quite sure if bringing kids out to our events was a good idea. Disc golf has been long known for its counter culture side and ” extra curricular activities” that have become the norm. We actually had a vote about trying to attract kids under 16 to play at our events. At the time, the consensus was that our members didn’t want to give up their behavior in favor of more kids playing at our events. There was an effort made to run JR only events, but unfortunately after a few low turnouts the direction was abandoned.
Over the last 10 years there has been a 30% drop in JR play in Ball golf, but more recently the number of kids playing golf has risen and is now on a huge increase as high school and jr golf is more popular than ever,, especially amongst girls.
The PGA has several programs including First TEE and the Drive, Chip and putt competition ( based on the NFL’s punt, pass and kick) and these programs are churning out the young golfers of the future.
Yes we ( disc golf) does have the E.D.G.E. program, but after a closer look this program appears to be more of a marketing program for one particular company. Ive tried on several occasions to donate 500 discs to the program, but my efforts were not welcome.
I feel its time for the pdga or maybe a new group of promoters to spend the time energy and money that is necessary to establish JR disc golf as part of the sport.
I’m writing this blog to start the discussion as whether or not the current organized entities in the sport are ready to do whats necessary to allow kids to play WITH us or is a separate JR disc golf the only way this will work?
Please repost this article on your local club message board or share with your friends on Facebook and twitter and go to our website and vote on what you think is the best direction to head today.