Disc golf

It’s like real golf… but somehow a lot more fun. There’s also less investment in equipment required, and no green fees.

How does it work? Like regular golf, there is a course laid out with numbered holes. You start at a tee-off spot and toss a disc towards the target, which is a metal basket with disc-stopping chains. Most mortals can’t throw a disc 200-400 feet and hit the target with a single throw, so instead you proceed to where your disc fell and make a second attempt from there, and so on. The lowest score wins!

My first experience with the sport involved a trip down to the local disc golf course with a friend, Ultimate Frisbees in hand. We quickly learned that real disc golfers don’t use frisbees, but instead an array of smaller, harder discs designed for the sport. The disc names, however, are borrowed from golf, so you have the heavy, blade-like driver and the soft, rounded-edge putter, with mid-range discs of hybrid qualities. I purchased a beginner’s set that included a Leopard driver, a Shark mid-range, and a Aviar putter. They definitely have different flight properties, and I’m gradually getting a sense of how they behave (helpful to peruse Innova’s 4-value disc rating system).

Because trees and other obstacles may be present between you and the target, there are a variety of useful disc golf throws that deviate from a straight-line throw. A “hyzer” shot will curve off to the left, and “anhyzer” to the right (if thrown RHBH, right-hand backhand). But it goes far beyond that, and there are also hook and roller shots to enable coping with various terrain challenges.

After playing a few courses, and attending a practice session with the OSU disc golf club, my putting has improved. I’m still working on consistency with my drives; sometimes I can get the Leopard to go just where I want it, and other times it goes completely somewhere else! My other big challenge now is distance; my longest throws are only about 40 yards (typical is more like 30 yards), and I’d really like to be getting about double that. More practice needed!

Morse Code by decision tree

Morse Code is made of dots and dashes (or dits and dahs), which until today I thought of as a flat lookup table. And then I discovered this awesome chart from www.learnmorsecode.com:

Of COURSE! I knew that it was designed so fewer dits/dahs were needed to encode common letters like E and T, but I had never seen it laid out like this.

This chart is meant as a learning aid; rather than trying to memorize Morse code in a flat table form, you can follow the tree while you’re listening to Morse code coming in. Go left for dah, right for dit. It’s beautiful! You can try it now by going to the site linked above and listening to their sample codes. Listening to the alphabet and tracing it through the tree is a magical experience.

With practice, I imagine you start seeing the chart in your head, and then later you’ve got the letters memorized and no longer need it.

I love discovering clever aids to learning, and new ways to organize information that illuminate it in truly useful ways.