The Greek gods punished Sisyphus by forcing him to roll a heavy boulder up a hill only to see it roll back down and have to repeat the process again and again for all of eternity.
The tournament organizers at the Las Vegas Disc Golf Club are planning a similarly Sisyphian test of endurance at this year’s upcoming 100 Holes from Hell, June 16 at Sunset Park.
The rules of disc golf are just like regular golf. Players take turns throwing a disc (I’ve been told not to call it a Frisbee) until it reaches the "hole" — actually, a basket. Each throw, or stroke, is counted. The player with the fewest strokes wins.
Players of all levels will have to skillfully play two rounds of 33 holes and one round of 34 holes to win the tournament.
Since I’ve haven’t touched a disc in years, I thought it would be better for me to check out the course before the more experienced players take it over on the 16th. Conveniently, the Las Vegas Disc Golf Club has a scorecard and printable map of Sunset Park’s 24-hole course — site of the 100 Holes event — readily available on its website.
My plan was to head out early and beat the Vegas heat. But I failed and had to wait it out. I eventually made it to the park at 7 p.m. on a Sunday evening, when the temperature was 98 degrees. Despite the heat, the park was not yet the hell the Disc Golf Club promised; dogs continued to play on the grass and birds continued to chirp.
The golf holes can sometimes be hard to discern. They are 4-foot metal poles with baskets and outstretched metal chains as arms. Like metal scarecrows hiding among the trees.
Two unconcerned park goers were lounging in front of the first hole I spotted. I decided not to disturb them. I moved on to hole 22 and began looking for its corresponding tee. I found it about 40 yard from the hole. I planted my feet firmly and gave it my best throw. It made it halfway. I jogged to my disc and gave it another shot, which landed beyond the hole. Now only feet away, I gently tossed the disc into the basket, and the chains clanged to ring in my first hole.
I moved on to the next hole and looked for its tee. That's when I realized the tee I had just used was actually meant for hole 23 — which was about 100 meters away. I knew that was too easy. This time I reached the basket in five throws. Still, I was beginning to have fun and break a sweat.
As I progressed through the course, I began to realize that success in disc golf depends not just on the accuracy of your aim. It is also a game of thinking.
Trees obscure the path to hole 17 from its tee tucked on the southwest corner of the park. Still, I aimed my disc straight. It came crashing down midflight after hitting a branch. My next throw was no better. It went straight for oncoming traffic on Eastern — again, thankfully, stopped by a tree. So close to the street, I aimed my following throws slightly to the left. I was also careful not to overthrow and risk the disc landing in a ditch near the hole. Each throw required me to stop and think about the space around me. The landscape of the park became a part of the game, one that requires both a good arm and talent for puzzle-solving.
I still need some more practice, but for those who are ready to test their endurance and skills, online registration for the 100 Holes From Hell tournament is open through Monday at www.lvdgc.com