before we even left for the trip i had been online (dgreview, la mirada dgc and ventura dgc) in contact with individuals who would like to meet up and play at the courses we were going to visit. my first response was from suzette simons who i've already posted about (but have more to add about our adventures in her post). along with a couple of other guys, jerry ross answers me that he is one of the board members of la mirada club, is free to play on the day we will be there and would be happy to come out. i am on facebook and in his profile it shows that he works for innova, "very cool" i say "this should be interesting".
we show up at the course as jerry is pulling up, he's a very nice man, in his early 60's, very knowledgeable about the game, eager to give advice about form and aspects of disc. chit-chat about where were from and current conditions of play, he is originally from montana and has played on some mountain courses in crazy weather conditions. we talked about how we left IL. cold to play in nice (65 degree) weather and he says he has seen it get to -65 degrees in montana. -65!?! holy crap!! he laughs and says "i've never gone out and played in that, it's just too cold. but it's still fun to play at -20...".
so.... talk comes around to disc and i say "i HAVE to ask you brother, what's it like to work for innova?" he turns to me with a smile so big i thought the top of his head was going to slide off and says "dave. what do you think? it's the best, simply the best...).
so we head over to hole #1 right by their pro shop (a pro shop AT THE COURSE! sweet.) and begin play. when we make it over to hole #3 which is close to the parking lot jerry says "hey, there's my buddy dave. do guys mind if he jumps in with us?" (can you imagine how i would have felt afterwards if i had declined?). but you guys know me and the obvious answer was "sure thing... the more the merrier. any friend of yours is welcome".
so dave comes over to play and jerry introduces us as his new friends from il. we continue playing, and talking about disc and form and shot selection, etc... both dave and jerry where very nice and polite about how we slobs where playing, giving us plenty of advise about our form and what minor corrections that would help improve our play (basically a free instuctional lesson). oh and just for the record... it was mostly matt and josh, they liked my form . and also just want to say... just like all the rest of us they had plenty of miscues, griplock and chumped putts. so, even tho i knew these guys were players, i wasn't all that impressed (jusy sayin'..). but once again it's very nice to have others whom you can see that KNOW what their talking about take the interest and time to try to share their knowledge with you because THEY would like to see YOUR good shots too.
so as were playing along dave and jerry are asking us about what discs we like to play with, what ones do we like/dislike, why do we like/dislike... and you guys know me going on about the monarch, the stingray and a couple of others. "well, what about putters?" dave asks. and all three of us (me ,matt and josh) start going on about gateway and how great they are, why we like them so much... (not realizing at the time WHO it is were actually talking to).
so...as we're playing i say (jokingly) to dave " so let me guess...you work for innova too?" he smiles and says "why yes, yes i do". i say " man that's sweet. to work for innova, man that's sweet. so...what do you do?" dave says " oh i design discs". my eyebrows shoot up as i've never had the opportunity to speak with a disc designer (other than dave mac) and proceeded i ask him about a couple of disc molds from over the years (my beloved stingray and monarch). then as we approach the next tee both he and jerry whip out a couple of discs and say "here try this out". well these are the new proto-type "terns" that at the time had not been released. how cool is that? to play with some brand new unreleased disc!! to me they fly a lot like my monarchs, just a little more overstable. but how cool, what fun!!
but the experience of just playing with a couple of good ol' boys for a couple of rounds at that beautiful park, just playing and talking disc, talking about our course and playing the previous day at lake casitas with suzette and how nice she was to us was so much fun boys it is very difficult to convey here on a website. it was memorable to say the least.
the rounds are over, were shaking hands, saying our goodbyes and thank you's. dave drives away and jerry comes up to me and says " hey i didn't want to say anything earlier so as not to mess with your game or have it somehow be uncomfortable for you guys... BUT.... that was dave dunipace co-founder and ceo of innova disc". AND that dave and suzette are a couple. my jaw drops a bit and i am in awe of the situation that we've just been through...(i'm pretty sure the brick i shit is still in the parking lot at the course. it's just to big to be moved) and THEN i realize that over the course of play i stuck my foot in my mouth more than once, and THEN i'm thankful that i didn't show up with a bag full of say discraft or any of their other competitors discs. and THEN i realize that we WERE going on about gateway putters.
and THEN, then i realize that all through the day both dave dunipace and jerry ross... that even though these gentlemen are in what all the rest of us envious slobs believe... having dream jobs/positions (and they do ). that both of these guys came out to park that day as players to have a fun couple rounds with some other players and do what we all do when we step out on the course... love watching plastic glide though the air and land (hopefully) where we were aiming.
i am so very thankful to have had the opportunity to have done just that.