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    Disc Golf at Lake Casitas

    P1010222At the tail end of winter, a trio of friends -- Chipper Bro, DK and Free -- spent a pleasant morning playing disc golf at Lake Casitas, near Ojai, California. The dirtbag equivalent to ball golf, disc golf (also called Frisbee® golf) is typically free of charge and played in less manicured environments like parks, forests, barrancas and wild spaces. The course at Lake Casitas was built in 2005 by the Ventura Disc Golf Club on land donated by the lake. The VDGC maintains the course to this day and is responsible for all of the challenging holes and wicked basket placements you'll encounter.

    [DK putts uphill towards the scenic basket placement on hole 15. Photo: Free]

    Golf discs are smaller and flatter than typical freestyle discs, so it's easy to keep them handy in the car. A set of three -- driver, midrange and putter -- is all you need to play any course in the world. And playing new courses is a great way to break up a long road trip.

    So whether you play disc golf or not, join us for a few photos from a really fun day at the lake.

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    The course starts off with an elevated tee shot, over a finger of water, to the basket in the middle of the photo. This is just one of the many beautiful views on the well-designed course.

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    Looking back up at the tee for hole one.

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    This shot was taken from the tee box of hole three. Players have to keep their drives low enough to avoid the tree branches but high enough to make it over the hill. DK and Chipper check the pin placement before teeing off and DK proves that surfers see waves wherever they happen to be.

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    We didn't see any gophers, or Carl Spackler and Ty Webb for that matter, but there was plenty of wildlife out enjoying the sunny but crisp day.

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    DK tees off on hole five. The basket is downhill and to the right.

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    Free, mid-huck on hole six. Within the branches of that tree in the distance lies the well-protected basket.

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    The snowcapped Topa Topa Mountains.

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    DK makes a nice putt on hole seven with a local fisherman looking on from his boat. Two months ago it was announced that Lake Casitas would be closed to any boats not permanently docked there because of a threat from the invasive quagga mussel. The lake has recently been reopened to outside boats but with strict new guidelines to protect the residential water supply -- the lake's main purpose.

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    Chipper Bro tries for a long uphill putt on hole eight.

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    Some of the holes are diabolical, like the super-narrow 13th. That's the flag tucked way back in the trees...

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    ...and that's DK trying to recover from an errant tee shot on the same hole. Disc golfers use a variety of throwing techniques to get over, around or under obstacles.

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    Chipper tees off on the equally narrow 14th. On this day, the basket was tucked inside the grove of trees that appear in the center of this photo.

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    Free throws into the grove, towards the 14th basket. Low-hanging branches force a modified throwing position.

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    Sometimes the views on holes like number 15 can distract a player from his target. Chipper just misses this side-hill putt...

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    ...and watches his disc roll all the way down the hill, some 100 feet away from where he started.

     

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    Looking down at number 16 tee. Sixteen is the longest hole on the course, but the length is offset due to an updraft that hits the hill on which the tee box sits. Well-thrown discs will ride the wind all 519 feet to the basket. Chipper hopes the four winds blow him safely home.

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    Hole 16 is sponsored by Real Cheap Sports, Patagonia's first outlet store and DK's place of employment for well over a decade. RCS carries discounted outdoor equipment and clothing from many major brands. They're also the best place in the county to get disc golf equipment. DK's co-worker, Mike, helped build the course and volunteers a lot of his time to help maintain it. Stop by RCS and say hi next time you're in town.

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    DK and Free make the walk up 18 as the late-morning sun climbs into the sky. Consistent wind swell and a well-groomed sandbar greeted the boys at the beach that same afternoon. It was a good day with good friends.

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    Have a grateful day!

    [All photos by Free, Chipper Bro and DK. With thanks to Kordog. We missed you man.]

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