May 252011

A Jessamine pastoral

By Northrupp Center

In April while dining on my hillside apartment balcony over-looking the Duque de Caxias and, below that shimmering in the sun, the Baja de Guanabara, I read about the new group Creatives for Common Sense Solutions, formed by NoC editor Danny Mayer after a visit to Nicholasville’s 24-hole Riney B disc golf course. Intrigued by the story, I immediately handed grading duties for a graduate-level journalism ethics class over to my graduate assistants and made immediate plans to catch the first direct flight to Lexington, Kentucky, destined for a round of disc golf. Was the course all Mayer made it out to be? Was Lexington losing out to its ugly cousin to the south? This had the makings of a story.

I was greeted at the airport by the Frugal Fisherman in his 1954 BMW R68 motorcycle with attached Steib sidecar. As we headed out of Keene on 169 toward the Riney B, Frugal tossed a stack of scorecards into my lap. The day was mildly warm but the week had been cool and wet. The ride in the cab was brisk, made tolerable only by the dram of Laphroig my thrifty host allowed me to imbibe.

Located on Nicholasville Road not far from its intersection with 169, the Riney B park puts a Jessamine County spin on multi-use. Named after the now defunct Richmond-Nicholasville-Irvine-Beattyville railroad that was discontinued in the 1930s and torn up for scrap in the 1940s, the Riney B park serves exactly two purposes: (1) it is home to a mini-water park run by the YMCA, complete with two 3-4 story high water-slides; (2) surrounding the water park on three sides is a fairly demanding 24 hole disc gold course.

Frugal and I dismounted, waited vainly for a friend to show, and threw suitably chaotic first discs off the tee. My friend informed me that the course here was formed over 4 years ago, in 2007. It is known to play tough in the spring and summer, he said, owing to the sprawling nature of the course and the difficulty with which the county has been able to keep it maintained. Also making things difficult have been the appearance of some Jessamine County beavers, who have engineered themselves a right fine wetland that floods the heart of the course after even minimal rains.

“Hasn’t it rained shit-tons here the past two weeks,” I asked.

“We’re in luck,” Frugal ignored me, “Hole 7 is back to being playable. Baskets 5 and 24 have been replaced, and holes 14 and 16 are back as well. These last two,” he confided with an assuring wink, “had been pulled out of the ground, concrete and all.”

Hole 1 runs parallel to one of the two Riney B parking lots, except the basket for hole 1 sits some 50 feet below them. After scrambling to make 4’s, my Frugal companion and I headed to hole two. From here, the Riney really begins to open itself up. With the water-park at your back, the course moves into a generally pleasant setting of open fields edged by dense stands of trees and honeysuckle. The feeling is seclusion, Jessamine style, a most enjoyable experience.

Frugal and I walked ourselves contentedly through the next several holes, tallying up high scores but otherwise feeling pretty good. I scored my first par at #4, a tight-wooded corridor opening 185 feet out to a strip of grass that requires a 90 degree right pivot for the 100 foot second shot at a basket surrounded by trees on all sides for the final 50 feet. By hole 5, our tardy friend Porter House, fresh in from his place in Keene, arrived to give us a threesome.

We were in good spirits for our arrival to hole 7, “the Bridge,” a straight 170 foot shot over a small drainage creek that, on the day we were there, played deep enough to form an uncomfortable hazard. Disc-wise, crossing the water required a straight mid-range shot that would also need to elude the seven or so trees that surrounded the basket. For we humans, crossing involved a walk over a small wooden foot bridge.

After throwing our tee-shots, we three began to cross the bridge when Porter stopped us, pointing at something on the wood railing.

“Look. Is that Kentucky heiroglyphs.”

Frugal leaned in. “They’re from the modern era, to be sure.”

I took my own turn and did a double take. “It appears to be a haiku expressed poly-vocally,” I said leaning in and voicing my best professorial tone. “An honest to god poly-ku. That’s amazing.” I continued on, reading aloud the words etched into the treated wood.

“This is apparently titled, ‘Jenny was here bitch,’ and is composed in three distinct voices:

She sucking Matt’s dick
Ate the corn out of his hole

I surprised with a birdie on Seven, and Frugal pulled out par, but Porter drifted left on his first shot and never recovered. He scored a five.

To be continued…maybe.

Northrupp Center holds the Hunter S. Thompson/Charles Kuralt endowed chair of journalism at the Open University of Rio de Janeiro (OURdJ). He splits his time between there and Lexington, KY.

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