Having fun: Camaraderie, not final score, the key at Ice Bowl

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Joe Kendrick of Grand Junction makes a successful putt through the trees on the 21st hole during the Ice Bowl disc golf tournament held Saturday at Reverbend Park in Palisade.

Joe Kendrick is a charitable guy.

In addition to the $25 entry fee, Kendrick added another $30 in mulligans during Saturday’s Grand Valley Disc Golf Club 10th annual Ice Bowl at Palisade’s Riverbend Park. The money was going to a good cause, the Western Slope division of Food Bank of the Rockies, and to be fair to Kendrick, he had a pretty lousy partner.

The disc golf doubles event drew 61 competitors, and Kendrick ended up as a single. This is where tournament director Jerry Smith drafted this Daily Sentinel sports writer to fill in as his partner for the 27-hole tournament.

Sorry, Joe.

Playing three different types of doubles disc golf formats (best shot, alternating shots and best score) split over the 27 holes, Team Kendrick shot a nine-over-par 90.

“Overall, I’d say it was a good day,” Kendrick said.

There were some good shots. Kendrick sank numerous putts from more than 10 feet away.

There were some bad shots. My drives went flying wildly into trees.

Although Saturday was the first time I’d chucked a disc in almost a year, Kendrick’s been playing disc golf for seven years, and plays at least once a week. Kendrick has played in tournaments before, but this was his first Ice Bowl.

“You learn to play (disc golf) enough that you know you always have a chance at a good shot,” Kendrick said. “But I’ve also had some people that have been good mentors to me.”

Kendrick and I finished near the bottom of the competitive field, but also found out the most valuable lesson of disc golf. It’s all about having fun with the people you are playing with. Grand Valley Disc Golf Club board member Bill Alderman played in the same group as Team Kendrick, and talked about the upsides of disc golf.

“It’s not so much about competing as the camaraderie,” Alderman said. “You just have to relax, and throw the disc like you own it.”

Alderman has played in his fair share of Ice Bowls, and has even run the event a couple of years. The GVDGC is involved with other tournaments throughout the year, but the Ice Bowl is the only one that is a benefit.

“Mainly we are looking to raise money and awareness about what’s going on in the valley,” Alderman said. “It’s our little way as a small group of community guys that we can get together and try to help.”

The Ice Bowl is not unique to the Grand Valley, with clubs across the country having winter events.

Ice Bowls are traditionally held to raise money for charity and in 2009, more than $223,000 was raised at nearly 200 Ice Bowls. Although the title of the event may be intimidating, Saturday’s round was played in a balmy 40 degrees with little wind and very little ice.

“I think it’s great weather because it’s for a great cause,” GVDGC President Rock Cesario said.

Next year’s Ice Bowl has already has been scheduled for Feb. 12.


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