Tee to Green - Lime Bluff Recreational Area - Part 1
Disc golf wouldn’t be disc golf without the discs themselves, but equally important is the course. Over the years, I have played a wide variety of courses in a number of states. In this first post of the new “Tee to Green” series, we are going to take a look at a course that is very special to me. We will be reviewing and talking about the course that opened my eyes to what disc golf really was. That course is Lime Bluff Recreational Area.
Almost all my initial experience with disc golf was at a course I made up with some friends on church property or the local middle/high school course that was on their campus. There were no real tee pads or high-quality baskets. I had never looked down the fairway at Circle 1 and thought about my shot. At that point, the best that it got was throwing from the sidewalk over some part of the soccer field. For whatever reason, something possessed me to take a trip out to Lime Bluff Recreational Area for one of their league nights. That changed everything.
Up to this point, 99 percent of my rounds were played with the same people, and I was starting to develop my game to a point where it felt like I wasn’t losing very often. I felt like a growing fish in a small pond, ready to see what else was out there. Boy oh boy did I get a wake-up call. For my first time playing the course and first time ever playing a league night, I was on a card with two of the guys who ran the leagues, Tom Smith and Skip Hummel. That was my first exposure to what an MA1 and MPO player looked like.
I spent the entire round trying to keep up with those guys. I didn’t have Udisc at the time, so I don’t have the old scorecard to look at, but I remember scoring somewhere around +9 or +10. Tom was in the -3 area, but Skip finished at -9. I was in awe of the course, the level of play, and the community they had there. Entitled the “Wind Wizards”, the group I played with was a lot of fun, and it was a great introduction to the disc golf community.
I immediately downloaded Udisc and decided that I was going to improve. I went to more league nights and even out to practice on my own. I wanted to get better every single time. I asked everyone what discs they were throwing and why they chose to throw certain shots. My competitive fire was lit. I discovered that I was a very tiny fish in a very large ocean. Eventually, after grinding at the course for months and cutting my teeth on a handful of tournaments, I got my first-ever tournament win at the Lime Bluff Open. I won the MA2 field with an overall score of -7 in the first round and -1 in the second round. That is the moment when disc golf went from a sport I’m trying to get better at and evolved into a passion that would be part of my life forever.
As you can probably see from the above information, I have a fun background with this course. Now that I’ve been playing competitively for a few years and have another 75+ courses under my belt, I can look back on Lime Bluff and truly understand why it was the perfect course to get started on. Let’s take a deeper look at the course and what makes it so great.
Located in Hughesville, PA, Lime Bluff was established in 2005. It currently has 18 holes and two distinct layouts, a short silver and long with mostly green baskets. They also have, on a number of holes, short rubber tee pads for beginners. When it comes to ratings, Lime Bluff sits solidly at 4.1 on Udisc. One of the quickly noticeable things about the course is how flat everything is. The 18 holes play through a field area, surrounded by walking paths, some trees, and some farm fields. There is a pond in a small section of the course as well. Due to the terrain of the course, it can get very windy as the breeze sweeps across the course. This is where the name of the club comes from. The “Wind Wizards” are adequately prepared to handle any headwind or tailwind the course can throw at them.
Even though the course is on a flat field area, the holes offer a decent bit of diversity in their design, requiring several different shot shapes without demanding too much from most players. In this next section, we’ll break down each of the holes and talk a bit about what makes them interesting and how you see a lot of them played. For this discussion, we will be looking at the long layout of the course.
Hole 1 – 346 feet – Par 3
The first hole of the course is a beautifully simple yet devious way of introducing someone to the course. The actual shot is wide open, with only a few trees scattered throughout the field. The best part of the hole is that there is an area around the green that has higher grass and is often played as OB or hazard. This grass runs 50 – 75 feet in almost all directions except for the front. This leaves a very enticing desire to go for the green. While 346 feet might not be that bad for most people, can you definitely land it in Circle 1? If not, you’ll be looking to save your par at best.
As you likely remember in a previous blog post, I talk about how much I enjoy courses that force choices on players. That’s exactly how Lime Bluff starts out. Do you go for the green and grab a stroke on most people while risking dropping a stroke to most of the field? Would you rather lay up and approach the island on your second shot? The other unspoken thing to consider here is the wind. The first hole, like many here, is wide open to the sweeping wind. What’s your play?
For me, it comes down to whether I’m playing a casual or competitive round. In a casual round, I’m going for that green every time. I’m probably throwing my Star Vulcan or Big Z Nuke on a light flex line. If it’s a competitive round or exceedingly windy, I’m going to lay up to the front of the grass and hope that my competitors decided to not exercise the same restraint. There’s no doubt that it’s a great feeling to hit that green from the tee or watch someone else do it, even if it’s your opponent.
Hole 2 – 270 feet – Par 3
The second hole of the course comes off as a bit more straightforward than the first. Sitting at sub-300 feet, hole two is very unassuming. You can throw straight at the basket or take the popular play of swinging out something wide and crashing to the basket. The basket for this whole is found hanging from a post at the corner of the tree line and a corn field. The biggest decision you have to make on this hole is how wide you want to swing your shot.
The two big mistakes that you want to avoid are pushing something too far forward and finding yourself out of bounds long of the basket. Secondly, you don’t want to throw short and end up in the tree line where the rough can be a bit thick and hard to throw out of. On this one, I’m trying to keep it simple by swinging my Tesla high and wide. If it’s too windy, I might throw my Zone on a lower line, hoping to keep it below the wind with the tree line acting as a wind guard.
Hole 3 – 479 feet – Par 4
I remember when this one was still a par 3, and I’m thrilled that it’s now classified as a par 4. This is another hole where the tee shot isn’t very demanding, requiring that you push it forward as far as you’re comfortable. You have some trees on your right that can come into play within the first 100 – 200 feet, so you’ll want to be careful of swinging it too wide. About halfway up the hole, a path enters the mix on the right side of the fairway. This path is out of bounds. However, you should be far enough forward that it isn’t coming into play too much.
The real killer in this hole is the cornfield on the left. It hugs the fairway tightly, causing a lot of shots to leak right into it. Finding yourself in the cornfield is not only detrimental from a stroke perspective, it also forces you to line up your shot from the most extreme side of the fairway. Throwing with a more direct angle puts you at greater risk of going out of bounds again. Throwing with a safer angle forces you away from the green. It’s a subtle thing, but it’s profound in how it can affect your game.
My play on this hole has always been pretty simple. I’m trying to get pin-high on the short basket but to the right. This gets you the distance you need to have a less stressful second shot. Being on the right side of the fairway also opens up the angle to the green, which is helpful since it’s tucked into a small section of trees. When I first started at this course, I couldn’t stand this hole. Now, I understand the complexity behind its design.
Hole 4 – 464 feet – Par 4
This hole has you throwing off a tee with bushes on both sides of it. This seems like a small thing, but there is something to be said about the feeling of closeness it brings to the drive. You can’t let yourself feel restricted by the physical space allowed on the tee pad. From there, you are driving out and into the open, with some trees on your left and sporadic trees in the field. There are a lot of little things to get hung up on with this hole, but the key is getting out there as far as you’re comfortable.
In my opinion, there are two ways to play this hole. You can try to get your drive out as straight as you can, going for raw distance. I feel like this is a great way to open up the angle to the basket, which is tucked behind a thick evergreen tree. However, it brings a lot of smaller trees into play and can lead you to a more difficult place and angle to throw your second shot. The other play is to try and get your drive moving left after the trees that guard the left side of the fairway off of the tee. I believe this gives you a cleaner second shot, but if you hit the trees off of the tee, you have a difficult and far second shot.
I tend to lean towards the straight play with a driver, depending on the wind. I’d rather scramble or throw a tougher shot from a lot closer to the basket than need to scramble from 300 feet out.
Hole 5 – 442 feet – Par 4
We reach the last in our trio of par 4 holes with a very interesting choice off the tee. The basket for this hole is precariously placed on the other side of a small pond. You have two choices here. The first option is the safest. You can play your drive to the right side of the pond and proceed to play your next shots, moving around the outside of the pond. This adds an extra 100 feet or so to the hole, and it usually results in a par. This is because, even with great drives to the right of the pond, the angle of the second shot to clear the pond and keep it close to the basket is usually very hard to execute. Most players leave it too wide and give themselves a 50-60 foot putt for birdie or they saw it off and end up in the water or the mess surrounding the pond.
The second play, and my personal favorite of the two, is to play your drive to the left and get as close to the water’s edge as possible. This shot will be shorter, but it gives you the ability to go straight across the pond on your second shot with a full view of the basket. For me, that’s a thumber almost every single time, but a putter or mid would also do the trick. I personally believe this route is technically easier to accomplish than the first, but mentally, most players find this hard to bring themselves to try. As an almost poetic design to the hole, there is a tree center-left of the tee pad, forcing you to go one direction or the other. The only thing you cannot do on this drive is hit that tree. If you do, instant par at best, unless you pull off a miracle.
Hole 6 – 344 feet – Par 3
The sixth hole feels like much more than 344 feet, but I’m not a bomber so I’m sure that a number of people may not agree with me. About 250 feet up the fairway, you have a portion of trees that can obstruct certain flight paths, but going at this green is usually the best way to go. There is a field to the right that can eat up your discs, but you would need to turn something over pretty bad to get it in there.
The green is interesting, being enveloped by a willow tree, which can prompt some interesting lies and putting stances. My play on this hole is to attack the green from the right side, hyzering something in and trying to get as close as possible. I’ve seen some big forehand shots work wonders on this hole, but that’s not in the wheelhouse of my game.
Hole 7 – 337 feet – Par 3
This hole is for the lefties and the guys throwing the big righty forehand shots. Given that information, I’ve only birdied this hole 1 time in all the attempts I’ve had at it. That was with a Circle 2 putt. The green on this hole is tucked into a small cutout of the wood line on the right side. What makes approaching the green difficult is that the fairway narrows as it travels between the pond and the wood line for the last 40 – 50 feet. It’s very easy to enter the wood line way too early or get your angle wrong and end up in the pond.
The position of the tee pad forces you to want to throw a left to right moving shot since straight and right are not options at all. For those not able to make it there, it’s best to keep it out to the left and short, leaving yourself an angle into the green. For me, the play on this hole has never changed. I throw a thumber that hugs the right-most side of the fairway. This typically leaves me a jump putt approach to the basket and a stress-free par. I’ll take that every time. However, it’s been a year since I last played the course. Maybe I would try something more aggressive now.
Hole 8 – 379 feet – Par 3
There isn’t a lot to say about hole 8 other than that it’s the triangle hole. Visit the course and you’ll find out! It’s a pretty straight shot requiring more distance than accuracy. There are only two things you need to really make sure to keep in mind. First, don’t turn your shot over into the unknown on the right side. You won’t find your disc. It’s gone. Move on. Secondly, there is a large tree and mound guarding the basket. Putting yourself directly behind them isn’t ideal, but it would still give you an easy par and an attempt at a birdie.
Hole 9 – 351 feet – Par 3
This hole is a trickster. The distance isn’t crazy, but it’s baiting you to do one thing. It wants you to throw something over No Man’s Land and hyzer back into reality. Let me tell you something. If the wind or a bad shot keeps you from returning to the fairway, there is a high likelihood you will never find that disc. Plus, you’ll be out of bounds a lot earlier than you would like. What makes it difficult is the out of bounds line is usually not the actual bushes and such. It’s the creek bed that runs about 15 feet behind them, so getting to your new lie isn’t fun and may take you awhile.
This isn’t so much a problem if you have a solid right-hand forehand or a left-hand backhand. You can also choose the safer play of being to the left. This will make birdie difficult, but at least you won’t be out a disc after all the searching. Plus, your shirt won’t be filled with holes from the thorns, and that alone is worth giving up a birdie sometimes. However, if you’re feeling froggy and you have a helping wind, just go for the hyzer, close your eyes, and pray it makes it back.
That’s it for the first half of this edition of Tee to Green! Come back next Tuesday for the second half all about the back nine holes at Lime Bluff and for my overall opinion on the course! Let me know what you think and how you play the holes. Have you ever been to Lime Bluff? Let me know in the comments!
Gary Daddario III - www.thumberlife.com