Bagpipers, disc golfers invade Bijou |

Bagpipers, disc golfers invade Bijou

Bagpipes in the morning and the sun rising over the mountaintops provide the perfect backdrop for the 2001 Tahoe Daily Tribune Disc Golf Tournament at the Bijou Community Park Disc Golf Course.

For three years now, Paul McAfee and his Black Bear Pipers Society have created a musical environment for the players in the six-year-old tournament.

“It’s probably one of the most fun things I ever played at,” McAfee said. “I’ve played whiskey tastings and PGA tour events, but this is the most exciting.”

Three years ago, Bijou course creator Russ Thaw, who worked with McAfee for the city of South Lake Tahoe, asked his friend to perform at the tournament. McAfee has been playing at the tournament ever since.

“Russ said I can’t ever stop playing the event, which is fine with me,” he said.

The players appreciate the soothing sounds of the pipes as well.

Two years ago the course was shrouded in fog and the pipers created an eerie scene.

“The fog was so thick you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you,” tournament director Russ Wey said. “It was a nice effect with the bagpipes.”

This year, however, the 135 amateurs from around the country shouldn’t have to deal with fog at one of the nation’s most picturesque courses.

During the two-day event, the golfers will play 81 holes of golf, 54 on Saturday and 27 on Sunday.

After the 27 holes on Sunday, anywhere from four to six of the leaders in the advanced group will have a nine-hole playoff to determine the 2001 champ.

“We’ll cut down the advanced field to a final group and have them play nine of the toughest holes on the course,” Assistant Tournament Director Tim Parsons said. “They’ll go for the final temporary basket and the winner will hoist it up like the Stanley Cup (of the NHL).”

The winner will take home more than $500 in merchandise, including the final basket.

Next week Bijou will be the stop for the national pro circuit. The purse will be close to $10,000.

The tournament is one of three in the Lake Tahoe Series. The others will be held at Zephyr Cove Disc Golf Course and Disc-wood at Kirkwood Ski Resort later this summer.

Of the three, the Tribune tournament is considered the crown jewel by many of the players.

“This one draws the crowd because it’s a pretty course and not as exhausting as the others,” said Gayle Vineyard, a longtime South Shore amateur player.

The course draws players from as far away as Minnesota and as close as players from around the lake.

James Van Daele has been coming to the tournament for the last two years. At first, he said he came to the South Shore because there wasn’t a course in Truckee, but now he plays in the tournament because of the course and scene surrounding the event.

“Everyone loves to play there because it’s in Tahoe,” he said. “Every year there are some pretty cool people who show up and make it a pretty fun time.”

More than 100 players have already signed up to play, leaving about 35 spots remaining.

Player check-in is Friday at Bill’s Casino from 6-10 p.m. No sign-ins will be taken Saturday.

Fees for the advanced division will be $50 and $40 for intermediates. Saturday and Sunday’s play begins at 8:30 a.m.

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