By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff
Of the two venues I refer to as my home courses, only one – Brengle Terrace Park in Vista, California — can make me feel like a naïve post-adolescent all over again.
Marked by tight lines and peppered with elevation and tricky pin placements, Brengle Terrace takes me on an emotional roller coaster each time I play it. Like the girls I pursued in high school and college, it makes me feel like I have a fleeting chance at glory, only to shoot me down and tell me it just wants to be friends.
Still, like the sad sap I once was, I keep coming back for more, hoping one day it will see me for the disc golfer I am.
Since this course is my disc golf version of unrequited love, I thought it was only appropriate to make like my 17-22 year-old self and try to win it over with an awesome mixtape. After all, what female didn’t swoon when presented with a collection of songs that you took the time to put together in her honor?
What’s that? None of them swooned? Oh, that’s right. I forgot.
At any rate, the personality of this course lends itself to a collection of songs that captures its spirit. Some of these selections are obvious and some have subtle undertones that take a deeper listen to be revealed. And, like any good mixtape, there are a couple gems from relatively obscure artists, just to show you how much work I really put into it.
(And yes, I am aware that we don’t have actual mixtapes anymore. Just humor me on this one.)
I lean more toward the rock-based side of things in my musical tastes, and that is reflected on this list. Plus, some good, heavier music puts me in a good mood to go out and try to conquer the course.
So, without further ado, I present 18 Songs for 18 Holes: A disc golf mixtape. Enjoy.
Hole 1: “Know Your Enemy,” by Rage Against the Machine (1995) Every good mixtape has to start off with a bang, and when I walk up to the first teepad at Brengle and am presented with the first of many uphill holes, I need to get myself pumped up. With the advice that I need to, indeed, know my enemy, this is the perfect song to get me started on this 18-hole journey that will offer plenty of challenges. Plus, Tom Morello rips on the guitar.
Hole 2: “Shoot to Thrill,” by AC/DC (1980) With a short second hole that presents one of few (for me) ace runs, this stomper from Australia’s finest is an obvious choice.
Hole 3: “Hysteria,” by Muse (2003) The third hole on the course, from my left-handed perspective, presents a clear birdie opportunity. Just hit the gap with something stable, and let the disc fade toward the basket. Parked.
But more often than not, this hole gives me fits. I’ll miss the line and end up in a huge bush just to the right of the gap, or I’ll pull too hard and it a tree off to the left.
What’s that have to do with this song? Well, with an opening verse of “It’s bugging me, grating me/And twisting me around/Yeah I’m endlessly caving in/And turning inside out,” I thought it was appropriate. Plus, the bass line that drives the song is one of the best you’ll hear.
Hole 4: “Don’t Take Me For Granted,” by Social Distortion (2004) Another hole that presents the opportunity to gain a much needed stroke on the rest of the course, the title of this song is a reminder that I have to concentrate to actually make this shot. Release the disc too low and I hit the slow grade up to the basket too early. Don’t put enough on it, and possibly hyzer out OB. Relax, focus, and make a smooth shot, and boom — easy birdie.
Hole 5: “Failure by Design,” by Brand New (2001) In my youth, I never would have dared put a song on a mixtape that criticized the subject of said mixtape. However, I would like to think that I have matured a bit, so this one stays for Hole 5. After a long walk from Hole 4, this one requires a long tee shot, then another long drive through an open field to put you close enough for a par (if you have my arm). The end result leaves it feeling a bit boring and reminds me of this song’s refrain: “We don’t believe in filler, baby. If I could, I’d sit this out.” One of the weaker holes on the course.
Hole 6: “Greenlight,” by The Days The Nights (2009) Due to some recent course maintenance, this hole plays completely differently than it used to. Where there once stood a tree that forced you to choose the hyzer or anhyzer line, there is now nothing, leaving you with the green light to air it out for maximum distance. This heavy drum beat and confident swagger provided by this Portland, Oregon-based quintet make it perfect for teeing off.
Hole 7: “The Melting Point of Wax,” by Thrice (2003) Another key to a successful mixtape — slipping in tracks by your favorite artists so the recipient can hear them, too. This song off the Southern California rock band’s 2003 opus The Artist and the Ambulance not only rocks, but also fits this hole perfectly as it tells the story of Icarus and his wax wings flying too close to the sun. The hole plays long, and uphill, and I would gladly trade for some wax wings to get myself closer to the basket.
Hole 8: “Manic Depression,” by Jimi Hendrix (1967) This hole has vexed me since day one of this course’s installation. While it looks, from the tee, like it is friendly for a lefty like myself, it is actually quite the opposite. Swirling winds howl across the valley, so something stable is in order, but if the disc fades out early you end up way down a hill and possibly O.B. As a result, I have struggled for the past year with figuring out what disc to throw here and how to throw it. I put some juice on something a tick less stable, and I end up turning it over into the bushes. Don’t crank a stable disc enough and end up downhill. In short, it’s back and forth, back and forth for me on this hole, which makes the title of this classic Hendrix track more than appropriate.
Hole 9: “Against the Grain,” by Bad Religion (1990) On the surface, this short, downhill hole as “ace run” written all over it. But with a basket perched right on the edge of a precipitous drop-off, you have to think in the reverse of what you want to do. Instead of running it, you have to go against the grain and play it safe to not end up over the edge. If you do, this hole goes from birdie or par to bogey or worse as fast as the churning guitars of this punk stalwart.
Hole 10: “Enough Space,” by Foo Fighters (1997) This run of holes 8-10, for me, constitutes the gauntlet of this course. I can run it well one round, then add numerous strokes to it on the next. And this hole, with its small gaps that, honestly, require a wing and a prayer, often leave me shouting like Dave Grohl at the end of this song.
Hole 11: “Poison,” by The Silent Comedy (2011) Just a good song that needs to be heard by more people, and the band is relatively local to the course, so I am counting it.
Hole 12: “Beautiful Disaster,” by 311 (1997) With a basket location that is nestled in the trees and slightly elevated from the ground around it, this hole has a signature look to it. However, it can be a bit of a beast for a lefty, as it has a slight left-hand bend the entire route and is deceptively elevated, meaning that you have to really get on your drive to have a shot at par. It has gotten easier lately, but with the possibility of errant branch hits or a tough rock hit that leads to a ridiculous rollaway, it can quickly become the song’s title.
Hole 13: “Comeback Kid,” by Sleigh Bells (2012) Following the most difficult stretch of the course, Hole 13 represents the beginning of a few holes where gaining back a couple strokes is a legitimate possibility. However, with the chorus warning “I know you try so hard but you don’t ever win/You’ve gotta try a little harder,” this song ultimately is a reminder that, despite my best efforts, this course will likely beat up my scorecard in the end.
Hole 14: “Roll On,” by The Living End (2000) While this song’s lyrics by the underrated Australian trio are about difficult labor relations, the title fits this course and this hole. The basket is perched at the top of a steep slope, and a bad – or just plain unlucky – shot can leave your disc rolling down into Hole 15’s fairway. The perfect song for the course my disc golf buddies and I affectionately refer to as “Brengroll Terrace.”
Hole 15: “Privilege,” by Incubus (1999) – Incubus is the kind of sappy crap I was listening to while being put in the friend zone all those years ago (even if this song does rock), so this choice makes sense from a full-circle perspective. Indeed, being out on the course, enjoying the outdoors and throwing some plastic is a privilege, so this is my way of showing my appreciation for the sport.
Hole 16: “The Clincher,” by Chevelle (2004) As the round nears an end, Hole 11 is another with a steep basket placement and precarious approach. Par this hole – I have never seen it birdied – and you are one step closer to locking down a solid round.
Hole 17: “Jump On My Shoulders,” by AWOLNATION (2011) This breezy anthem is perfect for Hole 17. It is upbeat and energetic, giving you some needed wind after the mountain climb that was Hole 16. And, as lead singer Aaron Bruno shouts “It’s not supposed to be easy/That’s why it feels so (expletive) good,” one can’t help but think he is talking about any athletic accomplishment, disc golf or otherwise.
Hole 18: “I Want to Break Free,” by Queen (1984) By this point of the round, I have cursed plenty, been punished for terrible shots, and missed gimme putts. So, I will just let Freddie Mercury and the boys take over, because I’m more than likely down for the count. (Bonus points for the amazing weirdness of this video.)
So what about you all? If you had to make a mixtape for your home course, any ideas what would be on there? Let us know in the comments below.
Steve Hill is the associate editor for Rattling Chains. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @OneMileMore.