School in session in disc golf exhibition

Raynor leads clinic on grip, distance
Ace race set for Nov. 27
Doubles play resumes Nov. 28


CUMBERLAND, Md., Nov. 21, 2021 — Keith Raynor would probably be the first to tell anyone involved in such a discussion that he is not the very best local disc golf player.

Keith Raynor

After all, he finished ninth in a 13-person field five weeks ago in the Western Maryland Disc Golf‘s inaugural summer season-ending championship. The tournament offered players the chance to play two 18-hole rounds and, on a cool and rainy day, the 45-year-old from Vale Summit shot rounds of 63 and 60, respectively, to secure a top 10 finish.

On Sunday, though, he was clearly No. 1 in the field of Week 5 of the league’s Fall/Winter Doubles League. That was, in part, because it seemed the threat of rain kept everyone else away from the Central Assembly of God course except for Kevin Spradlin. Spradlin, 43, of Frostburg, finished dead last after the first round of tournament play last month — and he hadn’t gotten much better since.

Raynor and Spradlin decided to dispense with the formality of a $5 registration fee and simply focus on playing. As the two walked from tee to tee, playing an alternate shot method with no player driving more than two consecutive times, Raynor focused on helping Spradlin learn a little more about disc golf. Spradlin, for his part, has been playing almost weekly only since late August. In less than three months, he’s lowered his score at Central Assembly of God from a debut of 71 on Aug. 26 to a best of 63 on Oct. 14. Heading into the tournament, Spradlin had played six of eight weeks and averaged a 69 in that span.

And even though every single player on the card each of those six weeks attempted to explain the sport, including grip, terminology and more, not much of it stuck.

On Sunday, some of it — finally — clicked.Through a bit of light rain early in the round, Raynor emphasized the importance of throwing a dry disc (something Spradlin did not do at the tournament where he shot a 76, the worst round of the day). As others had done before him, Raynor explained the difference between hyzer and anhyzer, and talked about what each of the four numbers on a disc signified. Raynor mentioned how critical the “nose down” on each tee was, and Spradlin realized he had misunderstood what everyone else had been trying to tell him for the past two months.

Though the duo’s score of 65 did not reflect much progress — there were at least five shots that bounced off the edge of the basket and onto the ground, leaving hope for the near future — there was improvement by the end of the day. Under Raynor’s guidance, Spradlin was throwing mid-range and driver discs relatively straight — deliberately — using both backhand and forehand methods.

Doubles play resumes Sunday, Nov. 28 at Central Assembly of God in Cumberland. Registration is $5 and begins at 1:30 p.m. Tee time is 2 p.m.






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