Words with Wysocki: Cliff jumping and playing strong in Ithaca

Sorry to start writing in the middle of the season, but I’m just glad to be part of the RattlingChains.com blog and website.

The first tournament I want to write about is the DiscIthaca Open in central New York. I came to Ithaca after playing in a tournament in Manchester, Connecticut. I drove to Ithaca and had the chance to stay with my buddy, Pat Govang, which was very cool.

For people who don’t know Pat, he’s the one who created the National Tour series. I really appreciate him and his work, since I’m always playing National Tour events and making my living playing tournaments he created.

Anyway, back to tournament preparation.

I usually always take Monday off and try and do something fun – Monday Fun Day. So, I didn’t practice Monday.

On Tuesday, I went to a set of waterfalls in Ithaca and went cliff jumping. We were lucky enough to meet up with locals and find the spots to jump from. We jumped off a 50-foot cliff into the water. We also had the chance to check out the 215-foot-tall Taughannock Falls in nearby Trumansburg. The Taughannock Falls are one of the largest set of falls east of the Rocky Mountain.

Cliff jumping was very exciting and thrilling. The hardest part about it was the first jump and just getting yourself to do it, and trying to avoid thinking about it too much. It’s one of those things where if you figure if you do it once, you won’t be so nervous to do it again. But it’s just as nerve-racking jumping the fifth time as it is the first time!

After a fun day like that, it was time to focus on the tournament for the rest of the week. We played a practice round each day on the Panther Highlands Course in Ithaca. The course was designed by Govang.

Before the tournament, I also took part in a clinic with Cale Leiviska and Dave Feldberg for the Ithaca’s disc golf club. It was a fun time and we had a decent showing of about 20-30 people.

As far as clinics go, I usually do the sidearm portion and show some techniques, form and certain grips. During the clinics, we’ll cover topics such as sidearm, backhand and grips. Then we open it up for questions, so people can ask whatever they want and we’ll answer them.

Then it was tournament time.

I like to get to the course about an hour before teeing off to practice, warm up and putt. I don’t like to get there too early because I end up sitting around and waiting for everything. Plus, I like to sleep as long as possible. I also like to get out and throw some holes by myself, just to get my head right and ready for the tournament.

The tournament ran two days – Saturday and Sunday. I played pretty well the first round and shot a 50, which was the hot score for the day. I was pretty happy with that. I didn’t do so well the second round of the first day, struggling from the short tees. I ended with a 56.

I had a comeback for Sunday’s final round. I came from the second card to make the finals by one stroke and I had to shoot another hot round to do that. In the end, I placed fourth.

Following the tournament, the top four of us played a “finals” round, which was separate from the tournament. In that round, I ended up placing second. Overall, it was a decent tournament after having one bad round.

Ricky Wysocki is one of the top touring professionals in the PDGA and a columnist for Rattling Chains. You can e-mail him at ricky [at] rattlingchains.com.


One thought on “Words with Wysocki: Cliff jumping and playing strong in Ithaca

  1. Recovering from rotator-cuff surgery, I had the pleasure of following Ricky, Cale Leiviska, and Eric McCabe on the entire round Saturday afternoon. What a threesome to watch up close. Ricky had a tough round, as he said. He had a par putt bounce right off the center pole on #3 and fall out (as he was picking up his marker and didn’t even know), then missed a frustration putt off the side chains from point blank. I think that hole really ate at him for much of the afternoon. He may have been the only player to have score higher from the short tees than the longs! Meanwhile Cale was cutting up the short format for a course-record 41 (breaking the old mark by 6 or 7). It’s an unthinkable score really. Eric was nailing long putts, often from the edge of the circle, to score a ridiculous 46. However, Dave Feldberg must have been smoking on the third card to hit for 42 and salvage a tough first round.

    In the end, on Sunday, it was the four of them all at the top for the “final 9,” a really fun “showcase” event. It was scored under the Sableford method, where birdies and eagles are rewarded big time, and this scoring format created some incredible shot opportunities for everyone while the entire field looked on in a roving gallery. Although I couldn’t play myself, it was a fantastic weekend of disc golf.


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